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Members of the CUPE Alberta executive, along with some staff and CUPE activists, recently took part in the “Pride in CUPE” course.

The course, taught by CUPE 3550’s Ian Crichton and CUPE 2669’s Gary Day, was aimed at building tolerance and understanding of the issues faced by gay, lesbian and trans CUPE members.

CUPE 2545 member Lorna Tollman said that for her, the reality of homophobia hit home a few years ago after she learned a gay man had been murdered in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Tollman, who works in the Fort McMurray school system, says she knows of at least two gay high school students who committed suicide.

During one exercise, students were asked to imagine they lived in a gay world, one in which they could not talk about their straight relationships, where their parents would not have contact with them because they were straight, and where promotional opportunities were denied to them because of their sexual orientation.