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LGBTQ Families Speak Out

A video interview study about the school experiences of LGBTQ families living in Ontario (2014 - 2020)

Welcome to LGBTQ Families Speak Out About School at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, September 2014 - June 2020

Hello! Welcome to the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Families Speak Out About School project. This project is being developed by a research team from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Our team currently includes a full professor, four graduate students and one undergraduate student all of whom work and study at the University of Toronto.  To read our biographies please click here.

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Legal Recognition of Non-Binary Gender X

YearCountryComments
2003AustraliaAmong western nations, Australia may have been the first to recognize a third classification, following recognition of Alex MacFarlane as having indeterminate sex, reported in 2003.

Government policy between 2003 and 2011 was to issue passports with an 'X' marker to persons who could "present a birth certificate that notes their sex as indeterminate.

The revised policy in 2011 stated that "sex reassignment surgery is not a prerequisite to issue a passport in a new gender. Birth or citizenship certificates do not need to be amended.

The guidelines also clarify that the federal government collects data on gender, rather than sex. In March 2014, the Australian Capital Territory introduced an 'X' classification for birth certificates.

2007NepalNepal’s legal recognition of a third category began with a 2007 Supreme Court case in which the judge ordered the government to create a legal category for people who identify as neither male nor female. Official documents afford citizens three gender options: male, female, and "others".

Crucially, the judgment dictated that the ability to get documents bearing a third gender should be based on “self-feeling.” That is to say: no tests, expert opinions, or other potentially humiliating adjudication should play a role in the process.
2008New ZealandNew Zealand's tiny transgender community is celebrating a quiet change that allows people to change their gender on their passports by a simple declaration.

The change allows people to state their gender as male, female or "X (indeterminate/unspecified), without the need to change their birth certificates or citizenship records.

A Human Rights Commission report recommended in 2008 that people should have the right to change their gender on their passports and other documents.

The law was changed in 2009 to allow changes from male to female or vice versa by a declaration from the Family Court, and a change from either gender to "X" by a statutory declaration. A Family Court declaration is still required for a male/female gender change on citizenship documents, but this policy is under review.

On 17 July 2015, Statistics New Zealand introduced a new gender identity classification standard for statistical purposes. The classification has three categories: male, female, and gender diverse.

Gender diverse can be further divided into four subcategories: gender diverse not further defined, transgender male to female, transgender female to male, and gender diverse not elsewhere classified.

In March 2017, a Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australian community statement called for an end to legal classification of sex, stating that legal third classifications, like binary classifications, were based on structural violence and failed to respect diversity and a "right to self-determination".
2009IndiaIn 2009, India's Election Commission took a first step by allowing transgenders to choose their gender as "other" on ballot forms.

2014 - India’s Supreme Court has recognized a long-discriminated-against transgender group as a third gender, a decision designed to provide equal rights for hundreds of thousands of eunuchs and transgender people in the country.

According to the court decision, state and federal governments will now allow transgenders to identify themselves on official documents, such as birth certificates, passports and driving licenses, as a third gender along with males and females. Any person who has undergone surgery to change his or her sex will be recognized as belonging to the gender of their choice said the court, adding that transgender people would have the same right to adopt children as other Indians.

Transgenders will also be included in welfare schemes offered to other minority groups, and the government will provide public sector jobs, places in schools and colleges and medical care for them

The ruling of the Supreme Court says the law only applies to transgender people and not to gays, lesbians or bisexuals. In December 2013, the Indian Supreme Court upheld a ban on decriminalizing homosexual sex.

NOTE: As of 2018 homosexuality is still against the law and homophobia still prevails.

2009BangledeshTransgenders - known variously as eunuchs or hijras - were given voting rights in Bangladesh in December 2009. According to a survey by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Bangladesh has a transgender population of around 10,000.

2013 - The Bangladeshi government approved 'transgender' as an official third gender, which will lead to the recognition of the rights of around 10,000 individuals who had previously been marginalised. In India, transgender individuals have to identify as male or female in order to vote or marry.

"The eunuch will now be identified as gender beside male and female. They will mention their gender as eunuch in passport and other identity cards," Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, an official spokesman said.

2009PakistanIn 2009, the Supreme Court of Pakistan decided to recognise the basic rights of the transgender community by issuing them national identity cards as the “third sex.” Equal rights for transgender people, including the right to inherit property and assets, the right to vote and to be counted as a separate category in the country’s national census was also declared.

According to Al Jazeera, Pakistan started allowing members of the trans community to identify themselves. Also, a new mosque inclusive of people with all gender and sexual identities will be constructed in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

2017 - The government of Pakistan has taken the decision to start issuing passports with a separate gender category (X) for transgender citizens. Now the natives of Pakistan will be able to self-identify with the separate option, instead of just identifying with male or female sex.
2013GermanyAn "indeterminate" 'option' was made available for the birth certificates of intersex infants with ambiguous genitalia on 1 November 2013.

On 8 November 2017, the Federal Constitutional Court released a press statement which is in favor of a positive third gender option instead of no entry. The ruling demands a third gender option to be introduced by 31 December 2018.

It decisively points out that a third gender option must be based on gender identity, rather than biological sex, to be in conformance with the general right of personality of German basic law (Grundgesetz).

They also recommend that it should be a single option besides male and female, which should include all gender identities that are neither male nor female. The exact wording is still to be determined, "divers" being one possible option that is mentioned, but this choice is left to the legislator.
2014DenmarkThe law gives any person who feels they belong to the other gender the right to change their official gender. There is a reflection period of 6 months after which you have to confirm that you still want to change your gender, and that you understand the consequences as they are mentioned in a letter from the authorities. This letter is about the rights that are linked to gender, eg. screening for breast cancer.

If a person has previously applied to change their name, to have their gender in the passport marked with an X, or castration permit then the reflection period will be calculated from that date. Those who qualify for this have received letters from the authorities that they just need to phone in and confirm that they understand the consequences of the letter and then within a week they will receive a document with the new gender, which will allow them to change all their documents, e.g. passport, driving license etc.

TGEU as other human rights groups have critiqued the law as being only available to those over 18 years of age.
2015MaltaCitizens and residents of Malta are able to have their sex marked as the gender-neutral ‘X’ on their official documents, including passports, ID cards and residence permits.

The option has technically been part of Maltese law since the Gender Identity Act passed in 2015, but has now finally come into force.

People wishing to change the sex on their documents must take an oath in the presence of a notary, and send it - along with the standard application - to Identity Malta.
2016CanadaIn June 2016, the government of the province of Ontario announced changes to the way gender will be displayed on health cards and driver's licenses. Starting June 13, the Ontario health card no longer displays a sex designation.

In early 2017, Ontario drivers will have the option to display "X" as a gender identifier on their driver's licenses.

On August 31, 2017, Canada began allowing an observation to be added to passports requesting that the holder's gender should be read as "X", indicating that it is unspecified, though a gender of "M" or "F" had to be added as a gender for an undefined period to comply with legal requirements of other countries.

On May 2, 2018, the first non-binary "X" birth certificate was issued.

Equality Watch - In The News

April 11, 2018 - Maryland has become the 12th state to ban gay conversion therapy by health professionals. It joins Washington State, California, Massachusetts, Illinois and several others in banning the practice, which often leads to depression and suicidal behavior in minors. Florida still allows it, but several South Florida cities have outlawed it. They include Miami Beach, West Palm Beach and Key West.

Read moreEquality Watch - In The News

Countries With Legalized Same-Sex Marriage

YearCountryComments
2001The NetherlandsOn April 1, 2001, The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriages. The legislation gave same-sex couples the right to marry, divorce, and adopt children.
2003BelgiumBeginning in 1998, the Belgian parliament offered limited rights to same-sex couples through registered partnerships. In 2003, the parliament legally recognized same-sex marriages.
2005CanadaIn 1999, some provincial governments extended common law marriages to gay and lesbian couples, providing them with most of the legal benefits of marriage but laws varied across the country. The Ontario Court ruled on June 10, 2003 that gay marriage would be legal, and in the same ruling accepted that two marriages done by banns on January 14, 2001 at MCC Toronto would be recognized as the first legal same-gender marriage in Canada, retroactively making Canada the first country in the world to have a government-legitimized same-sex marriage. In 2005, the Canadian Parliament passed legislation making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.
2005SpainAlso in 2005, a closely divided Spanish parliament agreed to do the same. The law guaranteed identical rights to all married couples regardless of sexual orientation.
2006South AfricaAfter South Africa's highest court ruled the country's marriage laws violated the constitution’s guarantee of equal rights, parliament legalized same-sex marriage in 2006.
2008NorwayIn 1993 Norway allowed gay couples to enter civil unions, but it took until 2008 for a Norway to pass a gender-neutral marriage law. In January 2009, the bill was enacted into law, and gay couples were legally granted the right to marry, adopt children and receive artificial insemination.
2009SwedenIn 2009, Sweden voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The bill passed with 261 votes in favor, 22 votes against and had 16 abstentions.
2010IcelandIceland's parliament voted unanimously to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. Iceland's then-Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir married her longtime partner Jonina Leosdottir as the law came into effect.
2010PortugalPortugal has also allowed same-sex marriage since 2010, after legislation was originally challenged by the country's president. Portugal had passed a measure legalizing same-sex marriage in February of 2010, but Portugal's former president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, asked the Constitutional Court to review the measure. In April 2010, the Constitutional Court declared the law to be constitutionally valid.
2010ArgentinaIn 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage. Prior to the same-sex marriage law, a number of local jurisdictions, including the nation's capital, Buenos Aires, had enacted laws allowing gays and lesbians to enter into civil unions.
2012DenmarkDenmark's legalization came in 2012 after Queen Margrethe II gave her royal assent to the proposed legislation. Denmark was the first country to allow same-sex couples to register as domestic partners in 1989.
2013UruguayUruguay passed legislation allowing same-sex marriage in 2013. Civil unions have been permitted in Uruguay since 2008, and in 2009 gay and lesbian couples were given adoption rights.
2013New ZealandIn 2013, New Zealand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific to legislate for same-sex marriage. The law won approval by a 77-44 margin in the country's legislature, which included support from former Prime Minister John Key.
2013FrancePresident Francois Hollande signed a measure legalizing marriage equality in France in 2013. Hollande's signature had to wait until a court challenge brought by the conservative opposition party, the UMP, was resolved. France's highest court, the Constitutional Council, ruled that the bill was constitutional.
2013BrazilBrazil’s National Council of Justice ruled that same-sex couples should not be denied marriage licenses in 2013, allowing same-sex marriages to begin across the country. Prior to the law, only some of Brazil's 27 jurisdictions had allowed same-sex marriage.
2014England & WalesEngland and Wales became the first countries in the UK to pass marriage equality in 2014. Northern Ireland and Scotland are semi-autonomous and have separate legislative bodies to decide many domestic issues. In 2017, a judge dismissed two cases on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
2014ScotlandScotland voted overwhelmingly in favor of of legalizing same-sex marriage later in 2014. In addition to allowing same-sex couples to wed, the measure gave churches and other religious groups the option to decide whether or not they want to service same-sex marriages.
2015LuxembourgLuxembourg overwhelmingly approved legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed and to adopt children that went into effect in 2015. The bill was spearheaded by the country's Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel. Bettel married his long-time partner Gauthier Destenay a few months after the legislation passed.
2015FinlandFinland approved a marriage equality bill in 2014, but it only went into effect in 2015. The bill started out as a public petition and was passed with 101-90 votes.
2015IrelandIreland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote in 2015. 62% of the referendum's respondents voted "yes" to amend the Constitution of Ireland to recognize same-sex marriage. Thousands of Irish emigrants had traveled home to participate in the popular vote.
2015GreenlandGreenland, the world's biggest island, passed same-sex legislation in 2015. Although Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark, it was not subject to Denmark's 2012 ruling on legalizing same-sex marriage.
2015United StatesThe United States Supreme Court made marriage equality federal law in 2015. Same-sex marriage had been legal in 37 out of the 50 US states, plus the District of Columbia, prior to the 2015 ruling.
2016ColumbiaColombia became the fourth Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2016. Same-sex couples were already allowed to form civil partnerships before the ruling.
2017Germany In 2017, Germany became the 15th European country to allow same-sex couples to wed. Germany gave full marital rights to homosexual couples in a vote that Chancellor Angela Merkel voted against.
2017MaltaNearly all of Malta's parliament voted in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage. Despite opposition from the Catholic Church on the small Mediterranean island, marriage equality was passed by a landslide 66-1 vote.
2018AustraliaAustralian lawmakers in December enacted the will of the majority of citizens who overwhelmingly voted in favour of same-sex marriage during a postal survey held weeks earlier. Same-sex couples were officially allowed to marry beginning January 9, more than a month after it was legalized in the country.

A History of Gay and Lesbian Rights in the United States From 1610 To 2000

Year Event
1610 Virginia Colony passes first anti-sodomy law in America.
1786 Pennsylvania becomes the first of 13 states to drop the death penalty for sodomy.
1924 The first gay rights group in the United States, the Society for Human Rights, is founded in Chicago.
1950 U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy starts a massive nationwide hunt to expose Communists. He also focuses some effort on homosexuals, who, because of blackmailing opportunities, were considered to be security risks.
1951 Henry Hay, Bob Hull, and Chuck Rowland foudn the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles. The society is created to provide aid and comfort to gay men and lesbians and to educate the general public on gay issues.
1952 The McCarran-Walters Act bans "sexual deviates" from immigrating to the United States, a policy that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 says applies to lesbians and gay men.
1955 Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon found the first U.S. lesbian organization, the Daughters of Bilitis, in San Francisco.
1961 Illinois becomes the first state to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private.
1967 The American Civil Liberties Union reverses its earlier position and declares its opposition to state sodomy laws.
1969 A police raid in a gay bar leads to the Stonewall riots of June 27 and 28 in New York City, marking the symbolic beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States
1971 The President's National Commission on Reform of Federal Criminal Laws recommends the repeal of all state sodomy laws.
1972 East Lansing, Michigan, becomes the first city in the United States to adopt a nondiscrimination hiring policy based on sexual orientation.
1972 The U.S. Supreme Court upholds right to refuse employment on grounds of homosexuality.
1973 The American Psychiatric Association drops homosexual behavior from its list of behavior disorders.
1974 Elaine Nobel of Massachusetts becomes the first openly gay person elected to a state legislature.
1976 The U.S. Supreme Court votes 6 - 3 to uphold the state of Virginia's sodomy laws.
1977 Ordinances prohibiting discrimination in hiring against gay men and lesbians are overturned in Dade County, Florida; Wichita, Kansas; Eugene, Oregon; and St. Paul, Minnesota.
1977 The state legislature of Oklahoma passes a law requiring the dismissal of gay and lesbian teachers and prohibiting the favorable mention of homosexual behavior in schools. In 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court votes 4 - 4 to invalidate the state law.
1978 Harvey Milk, San Francisco's first openly gay supervisor, and Mayor George Moscone are shot to death by Supervisor Dan White in San Francisco, California.
1980 In Providence, Rhode Island, Aaron Fricke sues his high school to allow him to take a male date to the prom. He wins and takes Paul Guilbert to the dance.
1981 U.S. Department of Defense adopts new ban on gays and lesbians, which leads to an increased number of discharges. Many homosexuals stay in the military in secret.
1981 AIDS is first reported in the U.S. in a Centers for Disease Control report about five gay men in Los Angeles with a new illness.
1981 Wisconsin becomes the first state to pass a law prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in employment, housing and public accommodation.
1982 A federal judge rules that the policy of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to exclude gays from entering the United States is unconstitutional.
1987 ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) established in new York City in order to end the AIDS crisis by direct action, including holding protests calling for safe sex education in schools, and generic AIDS drugs in Africa.
1988 The Episcopal Diocese of Newark, New Jersey, becomes the first church in the country to support ministers and congregations who condone and bless relationships between gay and lesbian couples.
1990 The Hate Crimes Statistics Act requires the Department of Justice to collect, maintain and report statistics on criminal acts motivated by race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.
1992 Amendment 2 is ratified, prohibiting all levels of government in Colorado from adopting anti-discrimination legislation to protect gays and lesbians. The U.S. Supreme Court strikes it down in 1996.
1993 A Virginia Circuit judge denies custody of 2-year-old Tyler Bottoms to his mother Sharon Bottoms, because she is a lesbian.
1994 Instead of completely repealing the ban on homosexuals in the military, the United States Armed Forces adopts a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
1994 Massachusetts becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination against gay and lesbian students in public schools.
1996 Congress passes and President Clinton signs into law the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
1997 The Hawaii legislature passes a law that extends a number of rights and benefits to same-gender couples, calling them reciprocal beneficiaries. Additional laws granting further rights and benefits are passed in 1999.
1998 Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, dies from a hate crime beating in Wyoming, which leads to a national debate about expanded hate-crimes legislation.
1999 Vermont Supreme Court rules that gay couples must be granted the same benefits and protections awarded married couples of the opposite sex. In 2000, the Vermont legislature enacts a civil unions law.
2000 The U.S. Supreme Court says that the Boy Scouts of America can bar gay troop leaders, overturning a New Jersey Supreme Court Ruling.

Stop Arguing About the Bible and Homosexuality by Candace Chellew-Hodge

"Nothing in regard to controversial matters ha(s) ever been settled by the Bible." ~ William Lloyd Garrison

Gays and lesbians will never "win" the argument over what the Bible says or does not say about homosexuality. The good news is: we don't have to.

It will not be arguments over the Bible that will ultimately secure the civil rights of gays and lesbians. Sure, those arguments are being made and they can be loud and raucous, but the Bible is not the "other side" of the issue of homosexuality. Just like in the days of slavery, it has been made out to be the "other side" of the issue because those who oppose homosexuality can seem to find a vast ammunition dump of verses to use in the battle over gay and lesbian rights. They load their Bibles and use them to shoot down any arguments against biblical authority on this subject.

Read moreStop Arguing About the Bible and Homosexuality by Candace Chellew-Hodge

Same Sex Marriage Miscellaneous


May 26, 2017 - Countries (nationwide or in some parts) that now legally recognize same-sex marriage are: Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.
Note that this list is different than the list of countries that allow immigration of same-sex partners.
 
No country in Asia legally recognises same-sex marriage ceremonies performed under its jurisdiction, although Israel recognises same-sex marriages performed overseas for some purposes.


Jun 27, 2015 - The US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States. It means the 14 states with bans on same-sex marriage will no longer be able to enforce them.

~ President Barack Obama said the ruling was a "victory for America".

"If any white person intermarry with a colored person, or any colored person intermarry with a white person, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one, nor more than five years."

Remember that law? It wasn't all that long ago (1958, to be exact) that this very line, this nasty little bit of legalized hate, was on the books in Virginia. Yes, interracial marriages were illegal in many states as recently as 50 years ago.   ~ Mark Morford


Love And Let Love - a song by John Long, a straight, retired, married guy with kids, who believes in our cause. It's a beautiful home-recorded song, and we are most grateful to John for allowing us to use it.

Click Here to listen.

If you have a use for the song as well, please Contact John for permission.


"Concerning love, gay marriage satisfies the ideal prerequisites for marriage. Gays fall in love, have the intention of exclusivity, care deeply for each other, share burdens and blessings, enjoy being together, express as a couple their physical, emotional, intellectual, religious and/or philosophical yearnings and aspirations.

Hardline opponents speak of their disgust over homosexual sexual acts. But, anything homosexuals may do in the privacy of their bedrooms is already being done by some married couple according to the sex manuals available. Besides, heterosexual marriages are often a disaster rather than a worthy model. I believe gay marriages will provide a superior model that will enhance straight marriages that are currecntly anything but exemplary."

~ Rev. Gerald Walton Paul - Ordained United Church Minister

Federal Judge Blocks Trump's Ban On Transgender Service Members

Oct 30, 2017 - President Trump's would-be ban on transgender service members in the military has been blocked from going into effect for the foreseeable future.

A U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., decided on Monday that trans members of the military have a strong case that the president's ban would violate their Fifth Amendment rights. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted a preliminary injunction to keep the policy from going into effect while the court case moves forward.

Read moreFederal Judge Blocks Trump's Ban On Transgender Service Members

Mildred Loving, Matriarch of Interracial Marriage, Dies

Equality Forum Mourns Civil Rights Pioneer
May 5, 2008

Mildred LovingIn 1958, Mildred Jeter, a black woman legally married Richard Loving, a white man in the District of Columbia. They returned to their home in Virginia. Under a Virginia law enacted in 1662, blacks and whites were prohibited from marrying.

In 1967, in the case of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down miscegenation laws that prohibited blacks and whites from marrying as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.

Read moreMildred Loving, Matriarch of Interracial Marriage, Dies

Justice = Civil Marriage Equality

by Christopher Hubble - July 7, 2004

"The union of a man and a woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith ... Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society,"
~ President George W. Bush, February 24, 2004.

This president seems bent on revising history to suit his misguided political purposes. He would persuade us that heterosexual unions have been the monolithic norm for eons. This position could not be further from the truth. Since the president has so much difficulty conforming to truth, fact, or sound reason regarding the issue of civil marriage equality, let us conduct our own examination of certain pertinent facts.

Read moreJustice = Civil Marriage Equality

Attorney and Plaintiff in the First Same Sex Marriage Lawsuit of the Modern Gay Rights Movement

by Craig Dean

Craig DeanPerhaps no topic stirs the imagination as the legalization of same-sex marriage. In this veritable minefield of tradition versus progress, twenty years ago attorney Craig Dean filed the first discrimination suit to legalize same-sex marriage in over forty years when his marriage license application to his partner was denied by the District of Columbia because both parties were men.

Since then he has been speaking out on issues affecting gay and lesbian couples and has become a powerful advocate for legalization of gay marriages. His presentation gives a historical background to same-sex marriage, places it in the context of society and the modern gay civil rights movement, and discusses what the future may hold.

Read moreAttorney and Plaintiff in the First Same Sex Marriage Lawsuit of the Modern Gay Rights Movement