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Canada Is Apologizing to Its Gay Citizens — Will America Follow Suit?

Trudeau

Before 1969, gay sex was illegal in Canada; many people were jailed and had their reputations ruined as a result. Similar to the U.S., LGBT people in Canada were also booted from the military and public service positions up until recent decades. Now, Canada's young, liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is planning to apologize for the country's past treatment of LGBT people, expunge the records of those convicted under the homophobic laws, and possibly compensate those affected by them.

The announcement led some LGBT Americans to ponder if such an incredible olive branch could be extended here. The short answer: no. 

The most obvious reason to believe America would not follow Canada down the path of atonement is that it has never done anything similar. The nation has yet to apologize for slavery, which wasn't abolished until 1865, or offer financial reparations to the descendants of enslaved African-Americans (even though a United Nations panel suggested such an action). In addition, Barack Obama, visiting Japan in May, didn't apologize for the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. "Sorry" isn't really American, we guess.

Another consideration is that an apology usually comes after a wrong is righted. In the U.S., LGBT Americans can still legally be fired and kicked out of their homes in several states. Transgender rights are also still up for debate in many places, and antigay "religious freedom" bills are still proposed and passed regularly. Gay and bisexual men also aren't allowed to donate blood unless they haven't had a same-sex experience in a year. At this point, an apology from the American government would feel very premature. 

Tags: World

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