Posted: Wednesday, 6 June 2012
It has been nearly 35 years since the first ever Rainbow, or Pride, Flag was raised as a symbol of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Two-spirited and Queer (LGBTQ) pride, liberation and diversity. The flag was created to commemorate Harvey Milk, an LGBTQ activist from San Francisco, USA who was assassinated. It first debuted in the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade and has since been adopted as the symbol of LGBTQ Pride in Canada and around the world.
For decades, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and Canada's unions have fought for the rights of the LGBTQ community. We have challenged homophobia and transphobia in our workplaces, negotiate collective agreements to protect and to provide equal access to all benefits for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirited and queer members and their families. Together, we have changed laws and attitudes and made significant gains toward equality.
Each year in Canada, Pride events have grown and flourished across the country. Kamloops, British Columbia held their first ever Pride Parade in April 2012. There were approximately 300 people in attendance donning the Rainbow colours in solidarity with their LGBTQ community.
LGBTQ workers have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions to strengthen the fabric of Canadian society. Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBTQ rights movement, more LGBTQ workers are living their lives openly today than ever before. LGBTQ workers and community also mobilized across the country to respond to the domestic and international HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.
We still have work to do. The CLC is working with our allies in the NDP and Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) and the trans rights movement to push for an amendment to Canada's Human Rights legislation to include gender identity and expression. Parliament must pass Bill C-279, the Trans Rights Bill, to ensure the ongoing equality of trans Canadians. Canada’s unions are also working with allies in provinces and territories to pass similar human rights legislation. And we are working to end homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, workplaces and communities.The
Canadian Labour Congress calls upon the LGBTQ community, the unions, federations of labour and the Canadian public to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.