THE COMMISSION DES DROITS DE LA PERSONNE ET DES DROITS DE LA JEUNESSE TABLES THE REPORT OF THE JOINT TASK FORCE ON HOMOPHOBIA WITH THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE



    MONTREAL, March 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The Commission des droits de la personne
et des droits de la jeunesse released today a report on homophobia, De
l'égalité juridique à l'égalité sociale (From Legal Equality to Social
Equality).

    The commitment of the Commission in the fight against homophobia

    In June 2005, the Minister of Justice asked the Commission to draw up a
list of the problems currently created by homophobia and draft
recommendations. The recommendations made in this report engage the sole
responsibility of the Commission, but are based on the possibilities for
action defined by the Joint Task Force on Homophobia. The Task Force was
composed of representatives of ministries, public and community organizations,
as well as unions and universities.
    In 1994, the Commission published an initial report on the violence and
discrimination encountered by gays and lesbians, which was used by the LGBT
(lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in its fight to win
recognition for the rights of the members of sexual minorities. Since then,
several key advances have been made: in 1999, same-sex couples were granted
the same rights and privileges as opposite-sex couples; in 2002, the parental
authority of same-sex parents was legally recognized; and in 2005, same-sex
couples won the right to marry.

    Ongoing social inequalities

    The work of the Joint Task Force on Homophobia reveals that sexual
minority members still encounter discrimination at school, in the workplace
and in the family, as well as in other sectors such as health care, social
services, sports and leisure activities. While legal equality is now attained,
there is still work to do to reach real social equality.
    In Québec, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among people
aged 15 to 29. A worrying aspect of this trend is that, depending on the study
consulted, young gay or bisexual males are between six and sixteen times more
likely to have suicidal thoughts or to attempt suicide than young male
heterosexuals. Similarly, young lesbians are more likely to have suicidal
thoughts and are almost five times more likely to attempt suicide than young
heterosexual females. "The despair felt by too many sexual minority young
people at the sensitive age when they "come out" is, in itself, sufficient
reason to act," says Marc-André Dowd, vice-president of the Commission.

    Towards a Québec-wide strategy against homophobia

    Based on these observations, the Commission recommends the adoption of a
Québec-wide strategy against homophobia, based on the implementation of a
government policy and plan of action.
    In its report, the Commission identifies current shortcomings such as the
lack of information, awareness and training, and the need to adapt services to
the requirements of the sexual minorities. It also highlights the need to
gather scientific knowledge and to support LGBT community organizations.
    The Commission also recommends that the Government appoint a minister
responsible for drafting and implementing a future policy against homophobia,
and for establishing the structures and funding required to ensure its
success.
    "The Commission undertakes to continue its work against homophobia and to
follow up on the recommendations made in the report," promises Mr. Dowd. "We
must now ensure that the various stakeholders address this issue forcefully."
    The complete text of the report De l'égalité juridique à l'égalité
sociale - Vers une stratégie nationale de lutte contre l'homophobie is
available at www.cdpdj.qc.ca (French version only).

    
    For further information: Ginette L'Heureux
                             (514) 873-5146 or
                             1 800 361-6477 #207 or
                             (514) 249-6181
                             Diep Truong
                             (514) 873-5146
                             or 1 800 361-6477 #358
    




For further information:

For further information: Ginette L'Heureux, (514) 873-5146, 1 800
361-6477 #207, (514) 249-6181; Diep Truong, (514) 873-5146, 1 800 361-6477
#358

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Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse

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