LGBTQ movements are gaining strength and prominence across Asia. With the current global political situation, there is desire and an opening for Canada to become a partner for change within the region. The Canadian government has already taken steps on this front, announcing in June 2017 that Canada would co-chair the Equal Rights Coalition, the first intergovernmental coalition advancing LGBTQ rights.
Canada is also one of a number of countries that supports LGBTQ-related initiatives through their embassies and missions abroad. With the Canadian government currently spending time and resources on supporting LGBTQ initiatives in Asia, this study is a first look at how exactly these resources are being focused. It has three main goals: 1) to increase Canadians' cultural understanding of LGBTQ issues within Asia; 2) to identify strengths and challenges in Canada's current LGBTQ support efforts; and 3) to provide recommendations on ways to improve Canada's governance and best practices on this issue.
Pride Abroad – Canada's Support of LGBTQ Activism: A Study of Canadian Mission Support for LGBTQ Rights in Taiwan, Myanmar, and South Korea assesses Canada's support and collaboration with local civil society in these three Asia Pacific countries/territories, where local LGBTQ communities face different key issues and varying Canadian support of local initiatives. Through interviews with local stakeholders, the opportunities and challenges related to Canada's engagement became more apparent.
This report culminates in five recommendations the Canadian Government can adopt to improve its support of LGBTQ initiatives in Asia:
- Provide more training on LGBTQ issues for Canadian missions in Asia,
- Improve cross-sectoral outreach and cooperation within Global Affairs Canada and Canadian missions abroad,
- Continue sustained vocal public support of LGBTQ issues by high-level Canadian officials,
- Mainstream LGBTQ Initiatives into Canada's new Feminist International Assistance Policy; and,
- Solidify consistency of funding over the long term and expand support beyond the Post Initiative Fund, a limited fund Canadian missions abroad usually put toward promoting cultural activities.
With strong partnerships, sustained focus, and awareness, there is significant opportunity for Canada to become a global leader on LGBTQ rights.
The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.