Line BlackburnIn 1979, at the age of 18, Line Blackburn left her small community in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region with nothing but a small suitcase and the hope of building a life where she could be open about her sexual orientation.
Never afraid to be in the minority amongst men, and wanting to serve her country, Line signed up for the Canadian Forces. During her time at the military base in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Line was harassed and interrogated. “They would interrogate me for five or six hours at a time without letting me eat or go pee. I avoided answering the questions about every aspect of my personal life, but I eventually told them everything.” Line recounts. A year after joining the Canadian Army, Line was discharged due to her sexual orientation.
Line’s discrimination in the workforce did not end there. Returning to Montreal, Line began searching for work as a truck driver. In a male-dominated industry, no one wanted to hire a woman, and she was forced to work through an agency. “On pay days, I would find myself the only woman in a line of hundreds of men. They would look at me weird and call me their secretary. Revealing my sexual orientation was out of the question.”
It wasn’t until she joined CUPE 1983 as a Montreal bus driver that Line felt protected and at ease to express herself as she wanted. “As a unionized worker, I had a force behind me and I felt safer to express myself how I wanted.” Her own personal struggles led Line to start a counselling support program for fellow workers that continues to this day.
Despite her past, Line is upbeat about the future: “The discrimination that I endured in the Canadian military and in the workforce has ended, but there remains much work to be done.” 
A proud activist, Line now serves as co-chair of CUPE’s National Pink Triangle Committee, where she continues to promote and defend the rights and freedoms of LGBTTI persons in the workforce.