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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

#Washington LGBT

#Washington LGBT


Nicollette Sheridan cast as Alexis Carrington on CW’s ‘Dynasty’ reboot

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 10:11 AM PST

(Screenshot via YouTube.)

Nicollette Sheridan will revive the iconic role of Alexis Carrington, originated by Joan Collins, for CW’s “Dynasty” reboot.

Deadline reports that Alexis, the first wife of Blake Carrington and mother to Fallon and Steven, will return to wreak havoc on his marriage to Cristal and reunite with her children.

This will be Sheridan’s first regular television role since she played Edie Britt on “Desperate Housewives.”

CW announced it has ordered a full season order of “Dynasty,” which also stars Elizabeth Gillies, Nathalie Kelley, James Mackay, Sam Adegoke, Robert Christopher Riley, Rafael de la Fuente, Alan Dale and Grant Show.

“Dynasty” airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CW.

AIDS at 37 remains a scourge

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 10:05 AM PST

B'More Aware of HIV, gay news, Washington Blade

World AIDS Day is observed on Dec. 1. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

AIDS is about to turn 37—it approaches middle age. Still a major killer—more than one million people died of AIDS last year. But tamed in comparison to its youth: 1.8 million new infections this year, down from three million 10 years ago. Nevertheless, since more people are becoming newly infected than are dying, the epidemic is still growing.

In commemoration of its 30th anniversary, AIDS Healthcare Foundation produced a film, ‘Keeping the Promise.' Watching archival footage reminds us of just how far we have come in the battle against AIDS and how horrifying those early years were. So, when we “celebrate” World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, there is a lot to be thankful for. A disease having its own “holiday” may seem odd, yet it is more important than ever that we remember everyone we have lost as well as the people who need our help today: the 20 million people who remain untreated for HIV, as well as preventing another generation from becoming infected with this still deadly disease.

As a child of a lower middle-class family, I remember how my father would always talk about living through The Great Depression. As a kid who wanted a toy or a treat of some kind, I really didn’t want to hear about the struggles of my father’s childhood. Likewise, talking to millennials about the ravages of AIDS in the 80s and 90s may leave them cold or even sound like a scold. So, forgive me for saying that AIDS remains one of the defining issues of our time and reminding you that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

A cure or a vaccine for HIV is not yet on the horizon. Despite tens of billions of dollars and decades of work, there is no tangible progress toward a magic bullet that will stop all new infections and rid HIV from the bodies of those who have it. The best news is that people who receive treatment and whose virus is under control are rendered non-infectious to others.

Treatments for HIV have never been better. One pill, once-a-day is now the norm, with lower side effects and toxicities; however, HIV treatment still means taking medication every day for a lifetime. But these lifesaving treatments are still beyond the reach of most people living with HIV in the world. People living in poor countries in many instances must travel long distances, wait for a long time and cannot access the best drugs. At this moment of maximum hope, AIDS is no longer front-page news and donors are cutting back on their funding.

Prevention of HIV hasn’t changed much from the beginning. Yes, there is Truvada for PrEP. But adherence is spotty and the people taking it are not the ones most at risk—youth and men of color. And once again, it is a pill taken every day and there are side effects. Whether we like them or not, condoms remain the best defense against HIV.

Sometimes we forget that HIV is an STD. It is transmitted the same way that chlamydia or gonorrhea is spread, through the exchange of bodily fluids during sex. The spread of HIV took off in the 80s because we did not heed the warnings about using condoms and reducing the number of sexual partners we had. Today the number of STD cases is exploding. Apps are the digital bathhouses of our time: a closed network of people in a limited geography facilitate the rapid spread of infections. Yet little is being done about STDs at the government or community level. The more STD infections go up, the less funding is available to test and treat them. Community organizations run irresponsible campaigns that urge people to “fuck without fear.”

We are headed over the falls in a barrel. Gonorrhea is becoming resistant to all the current medications to treat it. Syphilis, which was on the verge of elimination in this country, is roaring back. The condom culture that we worked so hard to establish is being destroyed. Just as we did in the 80s, the only way that we can reverse this devastating trend is on a grassroots community basis, which will take courageous leadership.

The LGBTQ community has played a crucial historic role in the war against AIDS. So many of the most important heroes in this battle have come from our community. We understand the devastation of AIDS and also the empowerment that comes from taking action in our own defense. We have many lessons to share with others around the world. Perhaps our most important role is to not allow the world to forget AIDS and to require everyone from our governments, churches, educational institutions, community organizations and society as a whole to keep the promise to not give up the fight against HIV until we have won.

AHF will continue to keep its promise. We are currently treating more than 820,000 patients in 15 states and 39 countries. We will break the one million mark in 50 countries in the foreseeable future. We will continue to partner with anyone, anywhere who shares our commitment to ending AIDS – the scourge of our time.

Trailer for teen drama ‘Love, Simon’ goes viral for gay main character

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 09:46 AM PST

(Screenshot via YouTube.)

The first official trailer has been released for the John Hughes-esque high school film “Love, Simon.”

“Love, Simon” follows 17-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) as he struggles with coming out to his friends and family. In the middle of it all, Simon starts to fall for an anonymous classmate he meets online.

Greg Berlanti directs the film based on the book by Becky Albertalli. It also stars Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg, Miles Heizer, Keiynan Lonsdale, Logan Miller, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel and Tony Hale.

The trailer’s debut, which has already received more than a million views, sent the internet into a frenzy as Simon is the first gay main character in a mainstream teen drama.

“Love, Simon” hits theaters on March 16, 2018.

Watch below.

 

Gay U.S. couple arrested in Thailand for exposing their butts at Thai temple

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 09:26 AM PST

(Photo via Instagram.)

A couple is facing jail time for exposing their butts at the Temple of Dawn in Bangkok, Thailand.

Travis and Joseph Dasilva, both 38, run the Instagram account “Traveling Butts,” which features pictures of the couple exposing their butts at international locations. The Instagram account has since been deleted.

According to the Bangkok Post, the couple was taken into custody at the airport on Tuesday while preparing to depart on their flight home.

The couple admitted to bending over and posing for the photo at the temple. They face the charge of getting naked in public which carries a fine of up to 5,000 baht ($150).

Pol Col Choengron Rimpadee, deputy spokesman of immigration police, told the Bangkok Post that, “Tourists should have respect for places of cultural, historical and religious importance because it is simple good manners.”

The Thai government released a statement saying that they could also face a long jail sentence due to the location.

"The charge would not be a normal public indecency charge. Instead, they would be charged with committing indecency in a place of worship, which carries a long jail term," the statement reads. "This is a reminder that everyone should have respect for Thai religion and culture."

The pair live in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego and are in contact with San Diego's City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez.

'Though I am very disappointed in their actions, I am talking to U.S. government officials to see what assistance we can give them,' Murray Ramirez told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.

 

Tillerson: Democracy and human rights are ‘enduring values’

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 07:57 AM PST

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the Wilson Center in D.C. on Nov. 28, 2017. (Washington Blade Photo by Tom Hausman)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday said the promotion of democracy and human rights around the world remains a priority for the State Department.

"Of course they are priorities," Tillerson told Jane Harman, president and CEO of the Wilson Center, after he delivered a speech on the U.S. relationship with Europe.

Tillerson further stressed democracy and human rights "are values and those are values are enduring and never change."

"You can't deprioritize human rights," he added. "It's with you. It's part of every policy decision you make . . . this can never change. This is enduring."

Tillerson did not specifically mention LGBT and intersex rights in his speech, even though the State Department has continued to support these efforts abroad since President Trump took office.

U.S. Ambassador to Chile Carol Pérez on Saturday spoke at an LGBT and intersex rights rally in the country’s capital of Santiago that drew more than 100,000 people.

Eric Catalfamo, a gay official with the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, earlier this month spoke at the opening of a same-sex marriage conference that took place in the country's capital of San José. The U.S., France and Brazil blocked Russian and Egyptian efforts to remove a gay-inclusive reference to discrimination from an Olympics resolution the U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted on Nov. 13.

Eric Catalfamo of the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, left, speaks at the opening of a same-sex marriage conference in San José, Costa Rica, on Nov. 9, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The U.S. in September voted against a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that includes a provision condemning the death penalty for those found guilty of committing consensual same-sex sexual acts.

An American official told the Washington Blade after the vote the U.S. did support language “against the discriminatory use of the death penalty based on an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, while also requesting changes to make the larger resolution in accordance with U.S. law" that says the death penalty is legal. The official noted the resolution's main sponsors "did not take those edits onboard, so we were unable to support the larger resolution, which called for a global moratorium on the death penalty, in spite of the fact that it included parts that we support."

Tillerson in August told U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) — who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — the special U.S. envoy for the rights of LGBT and intersex people will remain in place under a State Department overhaul. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Randy Berry — a career Foreign Service officer who former Secretary of State John Kerry named to the position in 2015 — remains at the State Department, even though his profile is far less than it was during the Obama administration.

The State Department in recent months has publicly condemned the ongoing anti-LGBT crackdowns in Egypt and Azerbaijan.

Tillerson over the summer raised the ongoing crackdown against LGBT Chechens in a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert have both publicly condemned the crackdown, but Tillerson and Trump has yet to do so.

The State Department this year acknowledged Pride month, the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Intersex Awareness Day. Nauert last month promoted Spirit Day, which is a campaign that seeks to combat bullying.

"Our government has a strong commitment to support the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people," said Catalfamo at the Costa Rica conference.

No 'hollowing out' of State Department

Tillerson spoke at the Wilson Center against the backdrop of growing concern over the departure of senior State Department officials and criticism of his management style on which the New York Times and other media outlets have reported. An official on Monday confirmed Maliz Beams — who Tillerson hired in August to "redesign" the State Department — has resigned.

"There is no hollowing out," he told Harman. "These numbers that people are throwing around are just false; they're wrong."

Trump's proposed 2017 budget would cut the budgets of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development by 28 percent.

He pointed out to Harman the State Department's 2016 budget was a "record high budget" of nearly $55 billion. Tillerson described this figure as "not sustainable."

"It is very difficult to execute a $55 billion budget and execute it well," he said. "It's a lot of spending and deployment of resources and I take our stewardship of those dollars very seriously and I take the congressional oversight obligations on us very seriously. I'm not going to brush them aside light-handedly."

Tillerson acknowledged four of the six senior career diplomats who were at the State Department when he arrived have retired. He told Harman there is a "review process underway" to fill these vacancies.

"We're evaluating a handful of people who might be worthy of that designation, but we still have two," said Tillerson. "We went from six to two. It was a 60 percent reduction and it sounded like the sky was falling."

Tillerson pointed out that a hiring freeze remains in place at the State Department, but he told Harman he has signed roughly 2,300 hiring exceptions. Tillerson also applauded personnel who have agreed to work as acting assistant secretaries or accept additional responsibilities until the vacancies are filled.

"I have been so proud of the acting assistant secretaries and people who have stepped into acting under secretary roles and when I read these articles that there's this hollowing out," he said, noting the confirmation process has been "exclusively slow for many" nominees. "I take offense to that on their behalf because the people who are serving in those roles are doing extraordinary work and they know they're not going to get the job permanently. They already know we have a nominee, but they come in everyday, they work hard and they travel with me around the world."

"I'm offended on their behalf when people say somehow we don't have a State Department that functions," he added. "But I can tell you it is functioning very well from my perspective."

Faith in America joins forces with Clementi Foundation

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 07:42 AM PST

Tyler Clementi Foundation, gay news, Washington Blade

Jason Cianciotto was named new executive director of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. (Photo courtesy of the Tyler Clementi Foundation)

Faith in America, a national group founded in 2006 to end what it says is the serious harm caused to LGBT people by religious-based prejudice, announced last month that it is "joining forces" with the Tyler Clementi Foundation, whose mission is to end anti-LGBT bullying.

The announcement came at a Nov. 13 event in New York City hosted by the Clementi Foundation in which Faith in America's co-founder and co-chair, gay businessman Mitchell Gold, said his organization's "programs, staff, and resources" would be transferred to the Clementi Foundation.

"This is why I joined the Tyler Clementi Foundation Board in September and, in partnership with Faith in America's Board, have begun the process of closing down our operations as a separate nonprofit," Gold told the November gathering.

Gold and Clementi Foundation officials, including its recently named executive director, Jason Cianciotto, said the merger would strengthen the foundation's ability to carry out the mission of both groups by eliminating duplication of costs.

"I want to thank the Faith in America and Tyler Clementi Foundation boards and staff for embracing this visionary plan to join forces," Gold said. "Now more than ever, as anti-LGBT religious fundamentalists have taken over our highest political offices, we must protect LGBTQ youth from the lifetime of harm caused by faith-based discrimination and rejection from their families and faith communities."

In a mission statement posted on its website, Faith in America says its goal has been to "end decades and centuries of using religious teachings to justify marginalizing and discriminating against others," particularly LGBT youth.

"Our dream is to change the hearts and minds of religious communities on the 'sinful' nature of homosexuality," the statement says — "to remove it permanently from 'the sin list.'"

The Tyler Clementi Foundation was founded in 2011 in the year following the suicide of 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, who was gay, triggering international news coverage of the then little discussed topic of anti-LGBT bullying.

Clementi, who was in the process of coming out as gay, became the target of his college roommate at the New Jersey-based Rutgers University, who agreed to Clementi's request to have use of their dorm room so he could be alone with a man for a date. According to accounts by Clementi's family members and local law enforcement officials who investigated the incident, the roommate without Clementi's knowledge placed a laptop with a camera in the room aimed at Clementi's bed.

With several of his friends watching, the roommate live-streamed Clementi having a sexual encounter with his male companion in what authorities at the university considered a gross violation of Clementi's privacy. When Clementi discovered his intimate relations with his visitor had been viewed by others and that he became the subject of jokes and of what authorities considered a form of cyber bullying, he became depressed and despondent.

A short time later he drove to the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey and New York over the Hudson River, and jumped over the railing, taking his own life.

The trauma over losing their son prompted Clementi's parents, Joseph and Jane Clementi, to found the Tyler Clementi Foundation. They adopted the mission to end cyber and other forms of bullying so that the circumstances leading to the loss of their son will not result in a similar fate for others.

"Jane, a registered nurse, speaks on the need for parents of LGBT children to come out and speak openly of the love they have for their children, and in doing so each one of us can impact the world around us and create accepting environments," a statement on the Clementi Foundation's website says.

"Our joining forces with Faith in America is really about the opportunity to grow and expand our effort and outreach and programs to address that root cause of bullying," Cianciotto told the Washington Blade on Tuesday.

He said the organization would also boost its various programs to educate the public about ways to intervene when bullying occurs to both stop the bullying and provide support and love to the victims of bullying.

"The key to Tyler's story is that there wasn't anyone to stand up for Tyler when he was in need of help," Cianciotto said. "There were so many people on social media and Twitter who saw and heard what Tyler's roommate did in live streaming that encounter. Not a single person reached out to Tyler to offer him any kind of help" in the campus community, according to Cianciotto.

"That could have been all the difference in Tyler's life," he said. "And that is a core underlying value in our programs."

Cianciotto said the Tyler Clementi Foundation's 2017 budget was approximately $500,000.

U.S. agency to Congress: Pass law against LGBT workplace discrimination

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 06:14 AM PST

GetEQUAL, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, gay news, Washington Blade, LGBT workers

Employment Non-Discrimination protest in May, 2010. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

An independent, bipartisan U.S. agency is set to deliver to President Trump on Wednesday a report calling on Congress to “immediately enact a federal law” against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, although lawmakers are unlikely to act any time soon given the current makeup of Congress and the long history of stalling on the issue.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights details in the 154-page report the history of discrimination against LGBT people and the lack of non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in federal law, citing a 2015 hearing the agency held on the issue.

“LGBT individuals often face lower wages, increased difficulty in finding jobs, promotion denials, and/or job terminations due to their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the report says. “Studies have found that anywhere from 21 to 47 percent of LGBT adults faced employment discrimination because they were gay or transgender.”

Twenty states and D.C., the report notes, have laws barring anti-LGBT employment discrimination and growing number of courts are interpreting the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to apply to LGBT people. The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the report notes, this year became the first federal appeals court to determine sexual-discrimination in the workplace amounts to sex discrimination under current federal law.

But the report concludes these measures are insufficient in comparison to an explicit federal non-discrimination law barring anti-LGBT discrimination in the workforce.

“Some federal courts have concluded that the existing federal statutory protection against discrimination based on sex, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, includes within its protection discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” the report says. “Other federal courts have disagreed. These inconsistent interpretations result in different protections available to individuals based on their jurisdiction, and it is not clear when the Supreme Court will resolve the dispute.”

Efforts to enact LGBT non-discrimination protections in the federal law have stalled for decades. In years past, LGBT advocates have sought to pursue federal non-discrimination protections through passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. But since 2014, the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure more comprehensive protections for LGBT people, has been the chosen vehicle.

The report has five recommendations: Congress should “immediately enact a federal law” barring anti-LGBT discrimination in the workforce; U.S. agencies should issue guidance and policies outlining protections for LGBT workers, specifically transgender people; Congress should appropriate funds necessary to enforce civil rights laws; the religious exemption in any LGBT non-discrimination law should be the same as exemptions in existing civil rights law; and federal agencies, such as the U.S. census, should collect data on anti-LGBT workplace discrimination.

The United States Commission on Civil Rights is comprised of eight individuals who serve six-year terms: Four appointed are by the President, and four by Congress. The current chair is Catherine Lhamon, who was appointed by Obama and served during his administration as assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department. No Trump appointees serve on the commission.

The conclusions in the report aren’t unanimous. One of the congressionally appointed commissioners, Gail Heriot, a law professor at University of San Diego, disagrees with its conclusions. Another commissioners also appointed by Congress, Peter Kirsanow, a partner at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Arnoff, argues LGBT issues aren’t within the commission’s jurisdiction.

The letter of transmittal indicates the report will be sent to Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The Washington Blade sent a request to comment on report to the White House as well as Ryan and McConnell’s office.

In 2000, Trump said in an interview with The Advocate he supports amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation. But Trump has never addressed whether he still supports that idea during his presidential campaign or his presidency, nor whether he’d also support amending the law to include transgender people.

Meanwhile, Trump’s administration has been hostile to LGBT workplace rights. The U.S. Justice Department has argued Title VII of the Civil Rights Act doesn’t apply to gay workers and rescinded an Obama-era memo asserting the law prohibits anti-trans discrimination.

State Department reiterates concern over Egypt anti-LGBT crackdown

Posted: 28 Nov 2017 08:39 PM PST

The State Department on Nov. 28, 2017, reiterated its concern over the anti-LGBT crackdown in Egypt.

The State Department on Tuesday once again expressed concern over the ongoing anti-LGBT crackdown in Egypt.

Al-Ahram, a newspaper the Egyptian government owns, reported 13 men who were convicted of "debauchery" and "forming a network for homosexual acts" received suspended sentences of three years in prison and were fined $281.69 (5,000 Egyptian pounds) on Sunday. Three additional men who were found guilty of the same charges received identical sentences on Tuesday.

Al-Ahram reported police raided an apartment near Cairo's Ramses Square in September and arrested several men who were in "indecent positions." The newspaper said prosecutors alleged those who were arrested "had solicited other men for sex in return for money."

"The defendants denied being homosexuals," reported al-Ahram. "The prosecution ordered that the suspects be subjected to medical examinations to determine if they had committed homosexual acts."

Al-Ahram reported the 16 men have been released on bail and can appeal their sentences.

Dozens of LGBT Egyptians arrested since September

The men were sentenced more than two months after authorities arrested at least seven people who waived a rainbow flag during a Cairo concert that featured Mashrou' Leila, a Lebanese rock band. Al-Ahram said "a number of young men who had frequented" the apartment that was raided in September raised the flag at the concert.

Amnesty International and the Human Rights Campaign have said dozens of LGBT Egyptians have been arrested since September. The introduction of a bill in the Egyptian Parliament that would criminalize the country's LGBT community sparked outrage around the world.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told the Blade last month the U.S. is "concerned by reports of detentions and arrests of LGBTI persons in Egypt." A State Department official reiterated this point on Tuesday.

"We are concerned by reports of arrests of LGBTI persons in Egypt," the official told the Blade.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Nov. 1 urged Egyptian House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal Sayyed Ahmed to publicly condemn the criminalization bill and the broader anti-LGBT crackdown.

President Trump has yet to publicly comment on the crackdown. The State Department official with whom the Blade spoke on Tuesday did not say whether Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has specifically raised it with the Egyptian government.

"We urge countries to uphold and respect their international human rights obligations and commitments," said the official. "The United States will continue to engage on issues of universal human rights and democracy."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the Wilson Center on Nov. 28, 2017. It remains unclear whether he has raised the ongoing anti-LGBT crackdown in Egypt with his counterpart in the country. (Washington Blade Photo by Tom Hausman)

The 16 men convicted of "debauchery" and "forming a network for homosexual acts" were sentenced days after militants with an affiliate of the so-called Islamic State killed 305 people at a mosque in Bir al-Abed, a town that is located in the northern Sinai Peninsula. The massacre is the deadliest terrorist attack in modern Egyptian history.

Australia Senate approves same-sex marriage bill

Posted: 28 Nov 2017 06:45 PM PST

The Australian Senate has approved a bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. (Image by Fry1989; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Australian Senate has approved a bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Lawmakers approved the measure by a 43-12 vote margin. The Australian House of Representatives will now consider the bill.

The vote took place less than a month after the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the majority of voters who took part in a non-binding plebiscite on whether same-sex couples should be able to legally marry in the country said "yes." Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has urged lawmakers to pass the marriage bill by Christmas.

“Next week it heads to the House of Representatives,” said the Equality Campaign, a group that supports the marriage bill, on its Twitter page. “It’s time for our MPs to get this done.”

Canada apologizes to victims of anti-LGBT government laws, policies

Posted: 28 Nov 2017 12:35 PM PST

Justin Trudeau, gay news, Washington Blade

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Nov. 28, 2017, apologized to those who suffered persecution and discrimination under the country’s anti-LGBT laws and policies. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday apologized to those who suffered persecution and discrimination under the country’s anti-LGBT laws and policies.

Trudeau — who spoke in the Canadian House of Commons — formally apologized to Canadians who were convicted of "gross indecency" before the country decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in 1969. He also announced the introduction of a bill that would expunge the criminal records of those who were prosecuted under the law.

Trudeau formally apologized to those who were fired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the country's military and civil service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. He also apologized Canadians who faced discrimination under anti-LGBT policies and regulations.

“The number one job of any government is to keep its citizens safe,” said Trudeau. “And on this, we have failed LGBTQ2 people, time and time again.”

“It is with shame and sorrow and deep regret for the things we have done that I stand here today and say: We were wrong,” he added. “We apologize. I am sorry. We are sorry.”

Trudeau in his speech also said the Canadian government has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by those who were forced out of the country’s military and civil service because of their sexual orientation. The Globe and Mail newspaper reported those who were victims of the anti-gay purge will receive payments of between $3,900-$117,150 ($5,000-$150,000 Canadian dollars.)

Denis LeBlanc, a retired LGBT and HIV/AIDS activist who lives in Ottawa, told the Washington Blade that he feels “so proud.”

“Canada’s prime minister’s sincere historic apology was 30 minutes in the House of Commons and it was deeply moving,” he said. “Well worth the half hour to listen.”

Canada is the latest country to formally apologize to men who were convicted under laws that criminalized homosexuality.

A law named after Alan Turing — a gay British mathematician who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 for having a relationship with another man — that pardoned gay and bisexual men in England and Wales who were charged under a law that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual acts took effect earlier this year. Germany and other countries have also taken similar actions.

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry in January formally apologized to State Department personnel who were fired for "alleged homosexuality" during the so-called "lavender scare" of the 1950s and 1960s. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced a bill that would allow those who were fired during the "lavender scare" to have their employment records expunged.

“I sincerely hope that, some day, an American president will issue a similar apology to gays and trans people in the USA,” LeBlanc told the Blade.

More than 70 countries around the world continue to criminalize homosexuality. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Mauritania are among the handful of nations in which those who are convicted of engaging in consensual same-sex sexual acts face the death penalty.

Discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity remains pervasive throughout many parts of the world.

Trudeau in his speech noted Canada earlier this year added gender identity and gender expression to the country’s nondiscrimination and hate crimes laws. He nevertheless said trans Canadians, LGBT youth and people with HIV/AIDS continue to face discrimination and violence in the country.

“We want to be a partner and ally to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the years going forward,” said Trudeau. “There are still real struggles facing these communities, including for those who are intersex, queer people of color, and others who suffer from intersectional discrimination.”