Two CUPE national pink triangle committee members joined a demonstration at the Russian Embassy in Geneva, Switzerland, recently to protest the mayor of Moscow’s vow not to hold a Pride celebration.
The members – Dale McClure, from CUPE 1870 in Charlottetown, P.E.I, and Jean-Pierre Le Clerc, from CUPE 1244 in Montreal – were attending the International Lesbian and Gay Association world conference March 27-April 3.
“It was quite a wonderful experience,” said McClure of the conference. “You get to meet people from all over the world and hear about their experiences. For example, I think this was the first year there was a delegation from Africa.”
Le Clerc agreed. “The demonstration went very well. It was peaceful and quite moving. It was organized spontaneously by the delegates when we heard about what had happened in Moscow.”
McClure said issues debated at the conference included homophobia and transphobia around the world. They also discussed greater international cooperation between countries with established gay rights movements and those just starting out.
“The conference also spent time going over the language in its statutes to ensure that transpeople were also included,” McClure said.
Le Clerc also had high praise for the event’s inclusion of trans people. This marked the first time CUPE’s pink triangle committee sent an official delegation to the conference.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how serious and organized the ILGA is,” said Le Clerc. “It has a strong union base of support. I will definitely be recommending to the committee that we forge stronger ties with this organization. It’s an investment in the future of all lesbian, gay and trans people around the world.”
Canadian delegates promoted the LGBT rights conference happening in Montreal in June as part of the Outgames. They also celebrated the naming of Quebec City as the host of the next ILGA world conference in 2008.