This Pride season, CUPE is pleased to applaud the Canadian Senate for passing the long‑delayed Bill C‑16 this week in Ottawa. Bill C‑16 expands the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to add gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination.
For over 10 years, variations of this bill have been debated in Parliament. Today, we can finally celebrate the bill’s passage and take one step closer to equity and justice for all.
CUPE welcomes this good news as more and more communities come together to celebrate Pride in 2017 – even as concerns grow around safety and security.
As we celebrate victories like C‑16, we also recognize the ongoing threats to the lives of LGBTTI people. Last year’s shooting in Orlando and the ongoing detention and torture of gay men in the Chechen Republic as reported by Amnesty International come to mind.
CUPE and its National Pink Triangle Committee will continue to advocate for LGBTTI workers both in and outside of the workplace. We recognize that transgender, gender‑variant and two‑spirit people experience disproportionate unemployment levels, harassment and discrimination at work and limited access to health and public services.
This year, we remember and honour the many trans women who have been harassed, assaulted and killed and the many others who continue to occupy the frontlines of political organizing and change. We remember and honour the memories and contributions of those such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who placed their bodies and lives on the line in the fight for liberation. Both Johnson and Rivera were bold and brave working‑class trans women who paved the way for what we know today as Pride. They were staunch advocates for economic and gender justice and were some of the first to fight back in the Stonewall riots. Let us remember that Pride is political.
It is in that spirit of celebration and resistance that we encourage all locals to support their neighbouring community’s Pride events and the organizations that continue this important work all year round. Check out the Canadian Labour Congress’ list of Pride events happening across Canada to find one happening near you.
We encourage our members to continue the work towards equity.
- Join with Amnesty International and ask the Canadian government to welcome LGBTTI people fleeing Chechnya.
- Order CUPE Pride materials, like fans and buttons for your Pride events. To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Encourage others to take up the fight by sharing photos of CUPE members at Pride parades and events with us on Facebook.
- Support efforts to establish or improve public funding for LGBTTI services and programs including gender reassignment surgery and other health care services for LGBTTI people.
- Request union education courses and equality presentations in your locals and communities.
- Check out the CUPE presentation on transphobic harassment and discrimination in employment and health care.
- Bring equity issues to the bargaining table with Bargaining LGBTTI Rights: A checklist for collective agreement language, part of our Bargaining Equality resource collection.
- Bargain language to specify that your no‑discrimination clause covers sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
- Negotiate paid leave and other benefits for transitioning members.
Together, we will continue to build workplaces and communities that are safe and inclusive. And we will continue to build the world that we desire and deserve – a world that challenges hate, violence and discrimination.