Thursday, June 1, 2017

Over the next few months, Canada’s unions will join others in communities across Canada to celebrate Pride and support LGBTQ2SI equality and justice.

While Pride is a time to celebrate, it is also a time for reflection and activism. Pride originated in response to the police crackdown on LGBTQ2SI spaces like the 1981 bath house raids in Toronto. 

“It is important for us to continue to challenge ongoing discrimination and the challenges faced by members of the LGBTQ2SI community,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

There are still many countries where homosexuality is illegal and subject to extreme punishment and even execution. In Chechnya, for example, gay men are being detained in concentration camps, tortured and in some cases killed, and families are being pressured to kill their gay sons. 

Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian organization that helps LGBTQ2SI people who face physical violence, imprisonment, or death, has been working with Russian LGBTQ2SI organizations to bring Chechnyans to Canada as refugees. At this May’s CLC Convention, delegates gave unanimous support for a resolution calling on the Canadian government to actively support these efforts and to condemn Chechnya’s actions.

Canada has its own dark history of state-sanctioned discrimination and much work needs to be done to make reparations. Canada has yet to formally apologize for a decades-long national security campaign that targeted public service workers and members of the RCMP and military perceived to be homosexuals. Many were questioned, outed, and fired.

“These individuals and their families have waited decades for justice. It is long past time not just to apologize to those whose lives and careers were destroyed, but to secure pardons and provide compensation for the harm inflicted upon them,” said Yussuff.

“We encourage everyone to be loud and proud at parades and pride events across the country and we will celebrate the ways Canada’s unions have helped advance LGBTQ2S1 rights. But we also commit to continuing our work to achieve more fairness and justice for these communities in Canada and abroad,” Yussuff added.