Justin Trudeau becomes first Canadian PM to visit a gay bar

“Vancouver is gearing up for Pride weekend right now, but the spirit of pride and inclusivity is strong here all year long!” Trudeau tweeted.
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets patrons at a bar in downtown Vancouver on Monday.Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press via AP
By Gwen Aviles

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history on Monday by stopping at a gay bar in Vancouver to mark the beginning of the city’s Pride week.

Trudeau took pictures and shook hands with patrons at the Fountainhead Pub — effectively becoming the first sitting Canadian prime minister to visit a gay bar.

“Vancouver is gearing up for #Pride weekend right now, but the spirit of pride and inclusivity is strong here all year long!” Trudeau wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to the folks at @fountainheadVAN for the warm welcome today.”

This is not the first time Trudeau has shown his support for Canada’s LGBTQ community with a historic gesture.

In 2016, he became the first sitting prime minister to march in Toronto’s Pride Parade, the largest gay pride celebration in the country. And a year later, Trudeau publicly apologized to gay Canadians who were fired from their jobs and the military during the Cold War. He proposed the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act, which eradicated the records of Canadians previously convicted of consensual homosexual activity and which was passed last June.

The Canadian government also committed to paying $85 million to compensate victims of the so-called gay purge during this same session at the House of Commons in Ottawa.

“This is the devastating story of people who were branded criminals by the government — people who lost their livelihoods, and in some cases, their lives,” Trudeau said at the time.

Trudeau was not the only political leader to make history this year during his country’s LGBTQ Pride festivities. For the first time in his nearly three-year tenure, President Donald Trump recognized the annual celebration, becoming the first Republican president to do so after President Bill Clinton officially established Pride Month in 1999.

"As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation," Trump tweeted.

Trump's recognition of Pride Month, however, came amid a flurry of anti-LGBTQ activity by his administration, including rolling back health care rules aimed at helping LGBTQ people, opposing the passage of the Equality Act and banning transgender personnel from serving in the military.

Trudeau visited the Fountainhead Pub for only 15 minutes, news organizations reported, but it was long enough to leave an impression on customers.

“When the Canadian Prime Minister comes into a gay bar in Vancouver and asks your name. Living my best life,” one patron wrote on Instagram.

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