2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.
To commemorate the occasion, the Canadian dollar coin will get a new design on the reverse of the coin.
Joe Wickenhauser is the Executive Director of Moose Jaw Pride and the Saskatchewan Pride Network. "I think it's an indication of a lot of change that's happened in the last fifty years...certainly changes in attitudes in government. We're seeing the Canadian government say 'It's okay. It's something that is part of our national identity as Canadians.'"
In 1969, then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau amended the Criminal Code of Canada to decriminalize same-sex relationships in the country.
On changes to the Criminal Code, Wickenhauser said, "I think it's really important to understand that that legislation really had a profound effect on people's lives in Canada. Even in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, we had people who went to prison, who served prison terms...I've seen court records that said [terms of] five years, and were given lashings after the completion of those prison terms."
On how things have changed since the Criminal Code was amended, Wickenhauser said, "I think that the Pride movement has been one of the most successful social movements in Western history. I think there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. I think people generally are unaware of the struggles that LGBTQ people face on a daily basis, including street harassment and violence. Some trans folks I know can't walk down the streets in Moose Jaw without being harassed."
Current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the new design for the dollar coin.