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New commemorative loonie recognizing gay 'equality' sparks concern

A rainbow flag flies at Queen's Park at the annual Pride flag raising ceremony at the official launch of Pride Month in Toronto on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. A new commemorative loonie set to be unveiled next week is sparking concern among academics and advocates who fear it could perpetuate myths about the history between Canada and lesbian, gay, trans, queer and two spirited persons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Eduardo Lima

OTTAWA — A new commemorative loonie to be unveiled next week is sparking concern among academics and advocates who fear it could perpetuate myths about Canada’s treatment of lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and two spirited persons.

The Royal Canadian Mint says it is poised to unveil a one dollar coin in Toronto as it joins government departments and agencies to mark “50 years of progress for LGBTQ2 Canadians.”

In a statement, the mint says it takes great pride in celebrating Canada’s culture, history and values, adding that fifty years ago, Parliament passed an act that “initiated the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.”

York University historian Tom Hooper says legal reforms unveiled in 1969 did not amount to decriminalization.

Hooper notes that instead, charges for consensual gay sex among adults actually went up in the ensuing decades.

Helen Kennedy, executive director for the advocacy group Egale Canada, says the coin should be taken with the spirit with which it is intended and commemorate a “significant moment” in Canada history.

The Canadian Press