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Victim of ‘LGBT Purge’ speaking out in Sask. following multi-million dollar settlement
Brendan Ellis, CTV Regina
Published Saturday, March 16, 2019 5:29PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, March 16, 2019 7:11PM CST
After a $110 million dollar settlement in a class action lawsuit, members of the RCMP, Canadian Armed Forces and Federal Public Servants who lost their jobs due to their sexual orientation are finally being compensated.
In what is referred to as ‘the LGBT Purge,” many Canadians lost their jobs between the 1950s and 1990s. Michelle Douglas was proud to join the Canadian Armed Forces in 1986, but was let go just three years later.
“I was looking forward to a long career in the military, but unfortunately I was fired because I’m gay,” said Douglas. “I was dismissed as being not advantageously employable due to homosexuality.”
But Douglas fought a successful battle against the system that forced her out of her job.
“I sued the Canadian Armed Forces, and in 1992, it was my lawsuit against them that ended their ban on gays in the military,” said Douglas.
In 2017 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an apology on behalf of the Federal Government.
“It is my hope that in talking about these injustices, in vowing to never repeat them and acting to right these wrongs, we can begin to heal,” said Trudeau.
In a statement to CTV News, a Canadian Armed Forces spokesperson said that it is continuing to emphasize diversity.
“The Canadian Armed Forces is continuing to implement gender, diversity, and inclusion initiatives to eliminate harmful behaviours and ensure a work environment free from harassment and discrimination,”
The RCMP also commented and reiterated the importance of diversity within their members.
“The RCMP is committed to inclusiveness and diversity within the organization. We believe that the more representative we are of Canada's diverse population, the better we are able to serve our communities.”
Now Douglas is in Saskatchewan to share her story and help others who suffered seek justice.
People in Saskatchewan and across the country who were affected by the purge from 1955 to 1996 can apply for financial compensation from the final settlement agreement.
Douglas said they have not seen the number of applicants from Saskatchewan that they were expecting but she is hoping her visit to the province changes that.
Anyone who suffered from the LGBT Purge has until April 25, 2019 to apply for compensation, ranging from $5,000 to over $100,000.
Based on a report by Stefanie Davis