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Kaleidoscope Trust met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss Canada’s role in advancing LGBT+ rights across the Commonwealth.

The April 20 meeting, which was attended by Kaleidoscope Trust’s Executive Director Paul Dillane and Programme Manager Jesse Sperling, connected Trudeau with LGBT+ activists from The Commonwealth Equality Network. In 2017, the network, which includes EGALE Canada, became the first LGBT+ network to receive Commonwealth accreditation.

Trudeau reassured the activists, who hailed from countries including Sri Lanka, South Africa and Uganda, of Canada’s commitment to advancing LGBT+ rights globally.

He said:

“The LGBT issue is one of the most outstanding issues that demonstrates maybe the Commonwealth isn’t as good at bringing people together around shared values and principles as it should be.”

In addition to listening to activists’ experiences of being LGBT+ in countries across the world, the group discussed Canada’s role in tackling intersectional discrimination.

Exploring the work of The Commonwealth Equality Network, the group discussed the future funding of international LGBT+ organisations, particularly in the global south.

The Network’s Secretary Paul Dillane, Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, said:

“In recent years, Canada has shown a clear commitment to advancing LGBT+ rights. Many members of The Commonwealth Equality Network are not able to approach politicians directly in their own countries. By inviting these activists to the table to speak directly about their experiences, Prime Minister Trudeau has initiated a vital dialogue that will be crucial in advancing the rights of LGBT+ people globally.”

Network chair Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, Executive Director of EQUAL GROUND Sri Lanka, concurs with this message:

“I can’t even get close to my Prime Minister or my President. So we need to use international platforms with help from leaders like Prime Minister Trudeau.”

Trudeau was visiting London to take part in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. This year’s event saw the largest contingent of LGBT+ activists ever participate, with the most ambitious plan for global change.