Trudeau's historic statement a starting point for LGBT acceptance, prof says

Back in the late 1960s, then Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau introduced legislation that would ultimately decriminalize homosexuality, noting in a famous quote that “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.”

Although he was just a teenager at the time, sociology professor Barry Adam remembers that statement being a definitive point in Canada’s history but acknowledges that it was just a starting point on the road to greater acceptance for the LGBT community.

“It was just the start of a process,” says Dr. Adam, who is also the Senior Scientist and Director of Prevention Research at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network the author of a book called The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement.

“What people do in private is one thing, but that’s not full acceptance and there had to be a number of legal hurdles and social developments to occur to get us to think more about what full citizenship is about,” said Adam. “If you’re only allowed to exist behind closed doors, that’s not really good enough, because what happens when you go to work? What happens when you go to rent an apartment? You need to have full participation in a society, and that applies to any minority group, if there’s going to be real equality.”

Adam will appear today on Research Matters, a weekly talk show that showcases the work of University of Windsor researchers and airs every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on CJAM 99.1 FM.

This weekend the area’s LGBT community will gather with the rest of the region to celebrate at Pride Fest Windsor-Essex, and the university’s radio station is acknowledging the occasion with a week’s worth of programming themed around LGBT issues.

During a half-hour interview, Adam will discuss the history of the LGBT movement in Canada, incidents of persecution and discrimination, gay-straight alliances in schools and the battle against HIV and AIDS, both in Canada and abroad.