Posted: Monday, 14 May 2012
May 17 is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). It commemorates the day in 1990 that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases. Yet in every part of the world, people are still persecuted, isolated and harassed for their sexuality, gender identity or gender expression. On this day the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) reaffirms our support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) workers and their communities, and joins the call for an end to homophobic and transphobic discrimination, harassment and violence.
Over the last forty years, we have seen significant progress in Canada. After decades of political and legal battles, gays and lesbians won important protection against discrimination in human rights law, legal recognition of same-sex couples and equal marriage. This spring, the Ontario trans community won an important victory, when the province’s Human Rights Tribunal ruled that trans people could change the sex on their birth certificates without having to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
Despite these important victories, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer members of our communities still face the reality of homophobia and transphobia in their daily lives. Gay and trans bashing remains a too-frequent occurrence. Trans people have yet to win clear protection in human rights law.
The CLC urges Members of Parliament to pass the Trans Rights Bill C-279, which moves to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender identity or gender expression, as well as amending the Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression as a recognized group when offences are motivated by bias, prejudice or hate.
Trans people are a part of our community. They are workers, family members, friends and loved ones. We must work together to ensure they receive the same rights and protection from discrimination as any other Canadian.
This year union members have campaigned against homophobia and transphobia in schools and workplaces across Canada. We applaud the hard work and dedication of activists in fighting for a safe, loving and caring educational and working environment, especially for children and youth.
Despite these gains and hard work, there is more to do to end inequality and discrimination against the LGBTQ community. The Canadian Labour Congress stands in solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer Canadians and we will never waver in our commitment to help stop homophobia and transphobia.