Justin Trudeau visited a gay bar? Cute! Now do Indigenous sovereignty next!
The Canadian Prime Minister, who took office in 2015, paid a visit to a gay bar in Vancouver on Monday, in honor of the city's Pride festivities, which kicked off this week.
"Vancouver is gearing up for #Pride weekend right now, but the spirit of pride and inclusivity is strong here all year long!" Trudeau tweeted that same day. "Thanks to the folks at [the Fountainhead Pub] for the warm welcome today."
\u201cVancouver is gearing up for #Pride weekend right now, but the spirit of pride and inclusivity is strong here all year long! Thanks to the folks at @fountainheadVAN for the warm welcome today.\u201d
Trudeau's office toldThe Georgia Strait that he is the first head of state in all of North America to ever visit a gay bar while in office, which might be true. (I asked my friend, Google, if that was correct, and she couldn't find any evidence to the contrary.) He's at least the first sitting Canadian Prime Minister to do so, NBC Newsconfirms.
The Prime Minister's visit to the Vancouver bar has gotten a lot of press over the past two days, and it's understandable why. Less than a hundred years ago, gay Canadians were criminalized and liable to losing their jobs because of their sexual orientation, so to have a head of state be outright friendly towards his LGBTQ+ consituents must be an extremely welcome step forward for many in the North American country.
Still, the Trudeau administration on LGBTQ+ rights isn't perfect. Though he has publicly apologized to gay Canadians who lost their jobs in decades past and committed to pay $85 million to compensate those who were criminalized under previous laws, his government has rejected pleas to ban conversion therapy nationwide and allowed discriminatory blood donation policies to remain in place. He has also aggressively pushed the $5.5 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, meant to bring petroleum from oil sands in Alberta to Canada's Pacific coast, despite strong opposition from many environmentalists and First Nations groups.
Trudeau's visit to the gay bar is cute, but, much like the Prime Minister's celebrated good looks, don't let cute overshadow what's really important.