Canada Pushes for a Gender Neutral National Anthem

Although it seems the world may have taken an enormous step backwards in terms of equality and acceptance with the recent Orlando shootings, Canada has just made an attempt to get us back on track. It seems there was an issue with their national anthem, and the dreamy Justin Trudeau (Canada’s Prime Minister) wanted to set things straight and show that Canada is pro-equal rights. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has focused on gender inclusivity since his election in October 2015. The anthem O-Canada contained a line “in all thy sons command” which will be amended to “in all of us command.”

This is an important change for all who identify as female, those who are genderqueer, androgynous, bigender, femme, genderfluid and third gender. It creates an inclusive national anthem that all can be proud to sing and also hear.
It was tabled by MP Mauril Belanger, of the governing Liberal Party, who is battling the final stages of terminal amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease. After the vote, the MPs stood and applauded Mr Belanger, who sat in his wheelchair. Unfortunately, it’s feared that Belanger may not live to see the gender-neutral change come into effect, because the Canadian senate isn’t expected to see the bill before the summer. He was diagnosed in Autumn 2015, and an ALS diagnosis is usually terminal within two to five years. He has lost the ability to speak due to his diagnosis, and uses Speak Selection, an app on his iPad that reads out text, to communicate.

“Changing only two words … gives Canada an inclusive anthem that respects who we were and what we have become as a country,” he said via the app. “Canada is all of us, not some of us,”

A similar plan was rejected in 2010 by the conservatives, so it’s positive to see that the world is indeed moving forward rather than falling backwards in terms of recognising and accepting a contemporary society. Although this is just a small band-aid in terms of the pain and rejection many have felt in the lack of equality, it is one small step for the world, and one giant step for gender equality.