All CUPE members deserve respect: in the union, at work and in our communities. Each member must feel and be free of discrimination regardless of her/his ethnic background, religion, gender, ability, sexual orientation or sexual identity.
Discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation or sexual identity is homophobia/transphobia. Statistics show that about 10 percent of the Canadian population is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual or Intersex (LGBTTI). This means that over 50,000 CUPE members belong to the LGBTTI community.
It wasn’t long ago in Canada that homophobia was not only allowed but encouraged. The Canadian Criminal Code outlawed and was used to punish same-sex relationships. This era is now over! While there have been great strides made to eliminate discrimination and harassment this does not mean that homophobia/transphobia is eradicated.
CUPE locals are encouraged to recognize May 17 – The International Day Against Homophobia. Join in activities sponsored by the LGBTTI community in your neighbourhood.
One day to fight against homophobia/transphobia is not enough. We must continue to work to ensure that our collective agreements, bylaws, policies and procedures eliminate discrimination and promote pride in our LGBTTI members. We must educate our members and ourselves and become more sensitive to LGBTTI co-workers, ensuring a safe environment.