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On Wednesday, July 31, members of the CUPE delegation attended the LGBTT conference on human rights, organized as part of the 2013 World Outgames to be held in Antwerp, Belgium. The World Outgames bring together LGBTT athletes and artists as well as many allies from around the world.

Opening the conference, a Cameroonian lawyer and long-time militant in favour of LGBTT rights, Alice N’Kom, delivered a poignant testimony describing the fate of people condemned for homosexuality in her country. In Cameroon, a person condemned for such a “crime” could face between 6 months and 5 years in prison.  Nevertheless, Alice N’Kom remains optimistic. She maintains that the rights of minorities will be respected all over Africa when democracy prevails on the continent.  

Bernard Landry, the former Quebec premier, also spoke during the conference. He told the story of his daughter to whom he offered his complete support when, at 50 years of age, she openly declared that she was a lesbian. Bernard Landry also spoke of the great progress made in Quebec since the 1960s regarding the rights of LGBTT people, particularly the adoption in 1976 of the Quebec Charter of Rights that recognizes sexual orientation as a fundamental right.

Close to 5,000 participants from 125 countries will participate in this third edition of the World Outgames.

The official opening of Outgames III will be held on Saturday, August 3 with the opening ceremonies. The sporting events will be held from August 3 to 11. The Grand Pride Parade will be held on August 10 and will be followed by the closing ceremonies on the same day.