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The Day of Pink is Wednesday, April 11. Join CUPE in taking a stand against bullying.  Wear pink. Encourage your colleagues to wear pink.

CUPE National President Paul Moist and National Secretary Treasurer Charles Fleury have issued the following statement:

February 2012



Dear Sisters and Brothers:

The Day of Pink is celebrated each year in April to renew positive action against homophobic and transphobic bullying.

The day began as an act of solidarity in a Nova Scotia high school in 2007. When bullies taunted and threatened a boy in the ninth grade for wearing a pink shirt to school, a couple of twelfth grade students decided to take action. They purchased their own pink shirts and encouraged classmates to wear pink to school the next day. The “sea of pink” sent a powerful message about standing together against harassment. The idea caught on and captured the attention of celebrity allies. Now, after just a few short years, many schools around the world hold their own pink shirt days.

Bullying and harassment issues are real and unfortunately very prevalent. A recent survey of Canadian schools by LGBTTI advocacy association Egale Canada found that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of LGBTTI students and 61 per cent of students with LGBTTI parents said they feel unsafe at school. Many of these young people have been subjected to belittling, humiliation, and physicalharm simply because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or identity. The effects can be devastating, often leading to trauma, depression, and in the worst cases, suicide.

Bullying is not only a youth concern. Homophobic and transphobic bullying extends into our workplaces and communities. Our LGBTTI sisters and brothers still face verbal and physical harassment where they work and where they live, preventing them from participating fully in our union and our society. Homophobic and transphobic bullying is an attack on human rights and it hurts us all.

CUPE’s proud tradition of human rights activism was reflected in many of the resolutions brought forward at our recent national convention in Vancouver. One of those resolutions committed our union to fight homophobic and transphobic harassment and bullying by promoting the Day of Pink and producing materials addressing homophobic and transphobic bullying in CUPE workplaces. We have also pledged continued support for Egale’s Safe Schools campaign.

We can build on the important work already being done to support our LGBTTI members in a number of different ways:

  • Learn more about the Day of Pink, find resources, and get ideas for action by visiting dayofpink.org and egale.ca.
  • Contact your school district or your local teachers’ organization to find out what anti-bullying activities they’re planning.
  • Invite a speaker to educate your local about LGBTTI issues.
  • Request copies of the recent Canadian Labour Congress publication on how to support trans workers before, during and after their transition, Workers in Transition: A Practical Guide for Union Representatives is available on the CLC website under Related Publications.
  • Ask to have the Pride in CUPE workshop offered to your local or at the next division school.
  • Contact your MP to express your support for Bill C-279, a private member’s bill sponsored by NDP MP Randall Garrison that would amend the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada to include proper protections against discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.

Please join us in celebrating this important date and let us know about any activities that you or your local are participating in by emailing equality@cupe.ca.

In solidarity and pride,

National President

National Secretary-Treasurer