Conservative politicians and far-right groups are trying to divide us as workers by spreading disinformation about 2SLGBTQI+ youth. They are targeting trans youth to distract us from their anti-worker policies, spreading hate about vulnerable people for political gain.

Right-wing governments benefit from workers being divided instead of united against cuts to public services, the cost of living crisis, and more.  

Why does CUPE support trans, non-binary and questioning youth?

As trade unionists, we know an injury to one is an injury to all. When trans young people aren’t supported by adults to be who they are, they are at high risk of bullying, depression and isolation. Youth who are not trans may learn, incorrectly, that being trans is not okay. When they grow up, this shows up as violence and harassment at work.

As a parent I would want to know if my kid is going by a different name or pronoun.

That’s understandable! The best way to do that is with a home environment that supports 2SLGBTQI+ people. A 2019 study found 25% of trans young people had family members who stopped speaking to them or ended the relationship when they found out about the youth’s gender identity. Others reported being kicked out of the house, threatened with violence, or experiencing violence from a family member.

Yet conservative governments and far-right groups are pushing policies that would require education workers to out trans kids to their parents. It’s not safe for these kids, and it is not fair to force education workers to do it.

I’m worried about what exactly schools are teaching my kid. I’ve heard horrible things!

That’s because right-wing groups are trying to scare you by distorting the facts. School curriculums are publicly available to everyone. And trans people exist whether we teach about gender identity or not, so let’s stand on the side of safety and inclusion.

I just don’t think this is a union issue

CUPE has always fought to protect the human rights and safety of our members. Trans rights are human rights. All CUPE members have a right to healthy and safe workplaces. But right now, members working in libraries, schools and workplaces that host queer events or pass trans inclusive policies are being targeted with protests and online harassment.

 We know that workers live their lives beyond the workplace. Many CUPE members are trans or have kids who are. We won’t let right-wing governments go after trans people’s safety and make CUPE workplaces unsafe. Together, let’s stand up for all workers, every day, everywhere.

How can we show support?

  • Write to your elected representatives saying that you support 2SLGBTQI+ youth.
  • Speak supportively about 2SLGBTQI+ communities to young people in your life. You never know what they are going through.
  • Use CUPE’s Bargaining Beyond the Binary guide to negotiate trans-inclusive collective agreements.
  • Defend safe spaces in your workplace, union and community.
  • Talk to other CUPE members and speak up when you see or hear hateful or divisive language.