Last updated on June 26th, 2020 at 03:29 am
Last Updated on June 26, 2020 Posted by Colonial Acres Coins
1969 was a notable year for Canadians. It was the year that the then Justice-Minister Pierre Trudeau passed a legislation that changed many people’s lives, a legislation that was first introduced in 1967 and hotly debated. The legislation that decriminalized the act of homosexuality between two consenting people 21 years or older. This was a huge step towards the progressive country of Canada that we know and love today. This year we are celebrating 50 years since this famous act that changed many lives became reality. To commemorate such a momentous occasion, the Canadian Equality Loonie was released. Canadian Mint coins have been released in the past supporting many movements but none such as powerful as this, this is a coin that represents a community that has withstood hardships and troubles throughout the ages.
Years of Persecution and Pain
“For the past 50 years and beyond, Canadians have fought for their right to love, marry, start a family and live openly as their most authentic selves,” the Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said on a TV press release. He continued to say “The Equality coin recognizes their triumphs and encourages all of us to build a better, more inclusive Canada—because like the coin itself, the more equality we have in Canada, the richer we all are.”
Since the passing of the act, the gay community has faced many issues and has had a long way to go to be treated with the rights that they deserve. Events such as the ‘We Demand’ protest in Ottawa 1971, the first considerable demonstration for gay rights in the country, with protesters demanding an end to police harassment and anti-gay laws. The ‘clean up’ of Montreal before the Olympic Games in 1976, in which the city’s gay village was practically shut down in the months preceding the games. The infamous ‘Operation Soap’ in Toronto 1981, a police raid on 4 bathhouses in the city and subsequent arrest of 250 gay men which led to strong protests against the raids and arrests. All these events, and many more, the gay community has endured, which is something remarkable.
Not Your Average Joe
The coin features the work of an artist, Joe Average, who has promoted LGBT and HIV communities throughout his career. Joe is a Canadian artist, born in Victoria and now living in Vancouver. He’s not your average citizen. He even has a day named after him in Vancouver called ‘Joe Average Day’ which is on November 3rd. Joe is the designer of the 2019 Canadian Equality Loonie, and what makes Joe unique is the fact that he was diagnosed with HIV+ at the young age of 27. Such devastating news acted as a motivation for Joe and he threw himself into his art and expressed himself through colourful and powerful imagery. Joe worked with the Royal Canadian Mint to design this special coin to symbolize the progress that lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and bi-sexual people have made and what they’ve achieved in Canada.
The coin is available at Colonial Acres in two versions, the collector’s edition, a large silver coin featuring a quote from Joe Average, depicting two faces and a large, flowing rainbow. And the second version, a gold coin, it features the same image, but in the gold colour of every other loonie. This is not just a coin for collectors of Canadian Mint coins or supporters of the gay rights movement in Canada. This coin is a representation of the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that the gay community has faced, and it will be an amazing addition to any great coin collection. Find yours at Colonial Acres.