Royal Canadian Mint Unveils New “Equality Loonie” For LGBTQ2 Community

 

The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a new commemorative loonie called the "Equality Loonie."

This new coin is a key milestone for lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and two-spirited people in Canada.

The agency says the new loonie pays tribute to the Canadian 1969 act that decriminalized homosexual acts between two consenting people of 21 years or older. The coin celebrates 50 years of progress for the LGBTQ2 community. 

The launch was held at the LGBT community centre, The 519, on April 23 in Toronto. Many guests such as former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau and Randy Boissonnault, special advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 issues, spoke about LGBTQ2 issues.

The coin features the work of Vancouver artist and LGBTQ2 supporter Joe Average. The art shows two intertwined faces accompanied with the words "Equality Egalite". The two faces reflect gender fluidity and the gender spectrum, which "may belong to two individuals or they may represent different aspects of one’s identity," according to the press release.  It also has the double dates “1969” and “2019” to mark 50 years since the process of decriminalizing homosexual acts was initiated in Canada. 

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,” said Morneau in a press release. “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.”

"Today is an important day for the LGBTQ2 community, and for all Canadians, as this commemorative coin enters circulation," Boissonnault said in a statement. "It is an opportunity to reflect on a landmark event in our country’s history, and a reminder of the progress still to be made as we work toward inclusion and equality for all LGBTQ2Canadians.”

However, many historians and advocates raised concerns about the message behind the new loonie. They believe it mistakenly suggests that equality has been reached, when they say that is far from the truth.

One of the main voices from the opposition is York University historian Tom Hooper. He says LGBTQ2 people faced continued criminalization over the decades that followed the legal changes.

In addition, a social conservative group held a protest at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa on April 12 and delivered a petition against the coin.

Morneau says there is more work to be done to advance equality and the federal government will continue to listen to the voices of protesters who are unhappy with the coin.

Limited to a mintage of three million, the one-dollar “Equality” circulation coin is now entering general circulation and will be available through several public coin exchanges, which will be announced soon.

This coin can also be collected in a special wrap roll of 25 uncirculated coins or in full colour.

Photos courtesy of Royal Canadian Mint.

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