On May 17, 2021, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated: "Canada continues to be a global leader in defending LGBTQ2 rights internationally". How is this possible when just four years prior, he was apologizing for the LGBT Purge? Drawing on Lisa Duggan's (2003) "homonormativity" and Jasbir Puar's (2007) "homonationalism," this paper investigates the mythologization of Canadian exceptionalism and benevolence in official statements. I code statements from the past five years to reveal when and how the Canadian government mentions 2SLGBTQ+ people, issues, and rights in post-Purge Canada. By deploying critical discourse analysis, I demonstrate that in these neoliberal narratives of Canadian identities and values, inclusion is Canadian, and homophobia is foreign. So, Canada uses homonationalist rhetoric to signal its exceptionalism internationally despite its homophobic history. Lastly, I turn towards Foucault's "counter-memory" as a way to resist homonationalist retellings of Canada's past and present.
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Thesis advisor: Fuji, Johnson, Genevieve
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