Canadian military veterans who say they suffered emotional scars due to a former ban on gay people in the armed forces are still waiting for recognition from Ottawa.
After a CTV Montreal report spotlighting the turmoil many gay soldiers endured before administrative order 19-20 was repealed, some of the women say they have now been accepted into programs for psychological help.
“Sometimes it's a minute at a time,” said Johanne Boutin, who was among several women who shared their stories with CTV for the first time this summer. “I'm building myself up. The confidence is there. The emotions fluctuate.”
Suzanne Thibault left after years in the forces because she couldn’t take the harassment anymore. She now suffers from insomnia, PTSD and anxiety.
“The torture – the mental torture because you are someone they say you shouldn't be,” she said.
They are receiving help thanks to an organization called Help and Support for Veterans.
Meantime, the Prime Minister's Office said it is still looking into it and conducting a full review of the matter.
There is still no timeline, however, as to what the plans may be.
The full statement from the PMO is as follows:
’As Canadians, we know that protecting and promoting fundamental human rights are an imperative for governments and individuals alike – and this includes gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Our government is committed to equality, and has recently tabled historic legislation to ensure that full protection against discrimination based on an individual's gender identity and expression is included in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
As a society, we have made great strides in securing legal rights for the LGBTQ2 community in Canada – from enshrining equality rights in the Charter to the passage of the Civil Marriage Act. But the fight to end discrimination is not over, and a lot of hard work remains. Canadians know our country is made stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it.
The government continues to take these issues very seriously, and is conducting a full review of the matter. We do not have a timeline to announce at this stage.’
Boutin said a simple apology won’t be enough.
“What we need is the government to continue to invest in Veterans Affairs so that they can go and get people who need help to bring them home,” she said.