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Quebec releases anti-homophobia plan

Quebec has released a broad plan to combat homophobia in the province — a first of its kind in North America, said the province’s justice minister today.

The document (read it here – PDF) sets the goal of achieving social equality for Quebec’s sexual miniorities. The plan does not contain concrete measures; rather, it outlines broad goals for future government action. Those goals include promoting respect and wellbeing of sexual minorities. The government also pledges to make the fight against homophobia a priority in public institutions.

"The message is clear: our society has everything to gain from accepting sexual diversity and fighting intolerance,” wrote Premier Jean Charest in the document’s foreword.

Quebec’s Justice Minister, Kathleen Weil, released the policy accompanied by Laurent McCutcheon, president of Gai Écoute and Fondation Émergence.

The justice minister is expected to form a committee in January 2010 that will be responsible for implementing the province’s anti-homophobia plan.

The document suggests concrete actions could include new support for queer community groups and anti-homophobia education campaigns aimed at youth.

Today’s announcement follows a 2007 report by Quebec’s Human Rights Commission, which examined the state of homophobia in the province. That report found that there are severe inconsistencies in how social programs and government services are administered to Quebec’s queer citizens.