This year is the 25th anniversary of the United Nations World Health Organization’s decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders and illnesses. This day is a celebration worldwide of sexual and gender diversity. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or queer (LGBTQ) people and their allies, it is a day to celebrate with friends, family and community, to take a stand against discrimination, harassment and bullying and to make our workplaces and our communities better for everyone.
Being a good ally is an important part of our work in the labour movement. Unions have a long history of organizing for fairness for LGBTQ workers. In 1986, the Canadian Labour Congress amended its own constitution to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and later established a Pride working group so that LGBTQ workers could have a space to advance their own work within the labour movement and beyond. Many unions negotiated equal benefits for same-sex couples well before they were mandated by governments. Unions campaigned with the LGBTQ community for equal marriage, and are now actively supporting efforts to add gender identity to the Canadian Human Rights Act as prohibited grounds for discrimination and to offer protection from hate crimes.
Unions have worked to end discrimination and make workplaces safer for LGBTQ workers. By supporting and raising awareness about IDAHOT, unions can help challenge homophobia and transphobia and celebrate diversity and fairness for LGBTQ workers. Events are happening all across Canada. To find one near you, click here http://dayagainsthomophobia.org/.
It’s important for individual union members to be good allies as well. We encourage you to show your solidarity by taking a picture of yourself with our #instaAlly hashtag, and tweet, post, Instagram or share your message on your or your local’s social media accounts.
Of course, it takes more than a selfie to be a good ally. You can also:
- Attend an IDAHOT or Pride event
- Listen, be inclusive, and open-minded
- Say something; Speak up against homophobic, transphobic or biphobic har-assment. This can mean pointing out when jokes are offensive, or talking to your union when you see discrimination happening at work.
- Stay informed; Find out more about current LGBTQ issues at www.egale.ca
- Believe in equality; All people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orienta-tion, should be treated with dignity and respect.
Together we can challenge homophobic and transphobic stereotypes and end discrimination and harassment in our communities and workplaces.