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Canada’s new coin celebrates day gay sex was legalized

Yet another reason to move north: Canada is designing a new “loonie,” or one-dollar coin, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in the country.

The Royal Canadian Mint is keeping the design, the artist, and the release date of the new coin under wraps for now, hoping to “maximize the impact” of the new coin’s official launch.

But a cabinet order cited by CBC News described the artwork as a “stylized rendering of two overlapping human faces within a large circle, the left half of the left face in front view and the right face in profile facing left, the two faces forming one whole face in front view composed of two eyes with eyebrows, a nose, a mouth and two ears with a small hoop earring on the left ear.”

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The design was approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose father, Pierre Trudeau, was instrumental in the 1969 decriminalization of same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults. Two years prior, the elder Trudeau, who was then the country’s Minister of Justice, told his fellow Canadians that there is “no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

While planning the coin, the Mint consulted the Toronto-based advocacy group Egale Canada and the Ottawa-based Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD).

But the anniversary doesn’t come without controversy. CCGSD spokesman Cameron Aitken notes that a lot of people were arrested after 1969, since the decriminalization only applied to Canadians above the age of 21.

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Still, the news of the new loonie caps off a landmark year for LGB Canadians. The Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act went into effect in the country this June, allowing people convicted for same-sex activity between consenting adults to have their criminal records cleared.

Additionally, Canada recently budgeted $110 million for the compensation of LGB civil servants whose careers suffered on account of their sexuality, with additional funds going toward anti-homophobia efforts.

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