Rights and Realities: Discrimination and the Gay Women and Men of British Columbia

Publisher:  The Society for Political Action for Gay People (SPAG), Vancouver, Canada
Year Published:  1981  
Pages:  40pp  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2178

This brief investigates the prospect of extending legislative protection to include the human rights of gay women and men in British Columbia.

Abstract:  This brief investigates the prospect of extending legislative protection to include the human rights of gay women and men in British Columbia. Part I provides background information indicating that gay people constitute a significant minority in the province and experience unfair discrimination on the basis of their minority status. Using the generally accepted figure of 10% of the population, the brief asserts that the homosexual population over age 16 in B.C equals about 180.000 individuals. Three of the most important forms of discrimination against gays are identified and discussed: physical abuse, employment discrimination and denial of access to accommodation and services.

Part II of the brief examines and finds defective six popular arguments against the inclusion of the term "sexual orientation" in human rights legislation. For example, the authors respond to the notion that gay people are child molesters by pointing out that 90% of all sexual offences involving children are committed by male adults against female children. And in response to the claim that inclusion of a sexual orientation clause is too far ahead of present social attitudes, the authors cite the June, 1977 Gallup Poll which indicated that 52% of Canadians were in favour of including sexual orientation to human rights legislation; only 30% were opposed.

Part III of the brief recommends specific legislative changes at the Provincial Municipal and Federal levels; for example, at the provincial level, that the government's proposed human rights bill include sexual orientation as proscribed grounds for discrimination in any relevant clauses.

The body of the brief is supplemented by two appendices: one reproduces statements of support from a cross-section of Canadian organizations and another responds to frequently asked questions about homosexuality.

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