Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Steven P. Deschamps was presented with the Canada Pride Citation in a private ceremony presided over by Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, on Apr. 18 at the Songhees Wellness Centre in Esquimalt. The next day, he was installed as 443 (MH) Squadron Honorary Colonel at a ceremony at the Air Force hangar at Victoria International Airport.
The Canada Pride Citation is awarded by the Government of Canada to recipients in ceremonies across Canada April-June. LCol Deschamps was one of four receiving the Citation in Victoria BC.
LCol Deschamps joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1979 as a pilot and was purged in 1982. The SIU tapped his phones, interrogated and polygraphed him systematically over five months and he was released in June 1982 under CFAO 19-20, section 5D, “no longer advantageously employable” simply because he refused to lie about his homosexuality.
He fought his way back into the Royal Canadian Air Force in November 1992 returning to wearing the uniform and is known as one of the first homosexuals to re-enroll after the famous case against the CAF led by Michelle Douglas was settled in October 1992.
Steven retired in 2013 after serving 31 years in the Regular and Reserve Forces.
Today he is proud to serve on the Board of Directors of the Rainbow Veterans of Canada, the Minister of Veteran Affairs Advisory Group for Families, the Advisory Council for the Canadian Human Rights Museum, and is as founding president of the CIC Branch Association of B.C. Steven was appointed Honorary Colonel for 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron by the Minister of National Defence, the Honorable Anita Anand in Nov 2022. Steven lives in Victoria, British Columbia.