Today, The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a new $1 coin that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the "first step toward decriminalizing homosexuality."
“The Equality coin 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,” said Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, awkwardly.
The coin features artwork by Canadian artist Joe Average.
According to the Canadian Mint, this is the first official coin in the world that commemorates LGBTQ2 rights.
TL;DR Canadians are criticizing the new coin for its design and purpose to commemorate the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.
Hey Canada, keep your eyes peeled for the new Equality $1 coin. This is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the… https://t.co/p2NQOuJLzl— Bill Morneau (@Bill Morneau)1556032697.0
Many have expressed their excitement about the new coin.
Canada got a new coin and it’s gay 🥰— ky🐈 (@ky🐈)1555535933.0
Oh #Canada 🇨🇦 I love you so: New Canadian one dollar coin honouring LGBT 🏳️🌈 rights to be unveiled #LGBT— Lina P, MBA (@Lina P, MBA)1555930232.0
Many others, however, have been quick to criticize it.
Much of the backlash comes from homophobes in Canada — to whom we say HA! But other Canadians have raised valid points about the design and intention behind the coin.
While some consider the coin ugly, others question the commemoration of an event that had little bearing on the lived experience of queer people in Canada. In fact, queer people continue to struggle for acceptance in a country that is considered among the most tolerant in the world.
The coin, many argue, suggests that the fight for queer rights has come to a triumphant end — that it's a past accomplishment to celebrate rather than an ongoing struggle.
Many have also pointed out the blatant hypocrisy of celebrating queer acceptance while, in many circumstances, queer people are still not allowed to give blood in Canada.
Others questions the government's motives for introducing the new coin.
Read some Canadians' reactions below.
@CanadianMint @MarLemay1 Ok idea, poorly implemented. If I saw this coin without the explanation I'd have thought i… https://t.co/yxXfCOZK38— Jeffy (@Jeffy)1556036788.0
A lot of people simply don't like the new design.
@jeffy007bond @CanadianMint @MarLemay1 Agree, I’m usually impressed by the commemorative coins Canada develops....… https://t.co/VvbF5a9LG0— BeyondOldfashioned-OPEN THE BORDER (@BeyondOldfashioned-OPEN THE BORDER)1556040317.0
Some Conservatives raised the valid point that the coin is merely a gesture devoid of substantial policy change.
Others have noticed a perhaps troubling pattern:
@xtopheralton @michhham @shannonmattern @bratton @FP_Champagne @CharlieAngusNDP @CMagazineArt in the absence of tra… https://t.co/g48I6oxYJk— Le Canada, État d'Escrocs (@Le Canada, État d'Escrocs)1556038251.0
@justenbennett “For 50 years we have done a shitty, subpar job of recognizing rights, and we made a shitty subpar coin to commemorate it!”— Sarah Mackey (@Sarah Mackey)1556034486.0
Little actually changed in 1969.
@CBCNews Agreed. In 1969 if you came out as gay you lost your jobs, you were kicked out of churches, you were shunn… https://t.co/B54L06FJMP— Sue Hutchinson (@Sue Hutchinson)1555953802.0
It was a bare minimum accomplishment.
Canada’s like “we stopped doing lab experiments on gay people!!!” Here’s a loonie— luke réaume (@luke réaume)1556036789.0
I'm here for the new loonie but the idea that all of Canada supports and gives equality to all of the lgbtq+ community is a big lie— sum (@sum)1556035581.0
Many are rightfully confused about what the coin actually depicts. In the artist's effort to be inclusive, the specific meaning of the depiction is perhaps lost.
@sarahjanet Like, is the one on the left wearing a swimcap? I'm really not sure what's going on here— Justen Bennett (@Justen Bennett)1556034970.0
💙 No one: Canada: Let's design the ugliest loonie to commemorate #LGBTQIA rights. We'll do something with gender.… https://t.co/YSFuPkjYKf— kulupu Kasiku (kasi kule) (@kulupu Kasiku (kasi kule))1556041647.0
And, in sum:
What do you think of the new coin?