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May 17, 2012
Sisters and Brothers,
Today, rainbow flags are being raised in cities across Ontario to recognize the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. CUPE Ontario encourages all members to join us in marking this day, May 17, and committing to take action in our workplaces and communities to end discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity or gender expression.
This spring, LGBTQ issues are front and centre at Queen’s Park, where MPPs will soon vote on Bill 13, an anti-bullying act that ensures students in any school have the right to form gay-straight alliances. GSAs are important peer support groups that can go a long way toward creating safer and more open and accepting schools.
CUPE Ontario is actively encouraging MPPs to pass Bill 13 because it is one of many important measures that are needed to create a fair and equitable society.
Because the roots of discrimination are in ignorance and prejudice, we must never stop working to educate people in our workplaces and communities. Together, we can break down stereotypes and help build an Ontario where everyone is not just included, but is celebrated for who they are.
Our members have shown their commitment to ending homophobia and transphobia. They show it by participating in Pride events, bargaining language for LGBTQ workers, when they elect LGBTQ members as their representatives and whenever we stand together on the lawn of Queen’s Park to call on government to pass laws supporting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited persons.
It is time for politicians at all levels to show the same commitment. It is time for MPs, MPPs and municipal leaders everywhere to show leadership, to speak out against homophobia and transphobia, and to make this day an important part of their mandate.
For more information about CUPE Ontario’s initiatives, including a calendar of Pride events across the province, visit prideinourwork.ca.
Fred Hahn Candace Rennick