Transgender Day of Remembrance

Trans Day of Remembrance 2022

CUPE Ontario statement

CUPE Ontario marks Trans Day of Remembrance on Sunday, November 20, to honour the history of transgender people, the struggles they have faced and continue to live though, and to recommit as a union to the fight for the rights of trans people across the province.

On 2022’s Trans Day of Remembrance, CUPE Ontario is proud to be part of a labour movement that fights back against transphobia in all its forms, in and outside in the workplace.

As part of that fightback, more and more CUPE locals are affirming and advancing trans rights through collective bargaining, as they adopt and adapt CUPE’s guide, Bargaining Beyond the Binary: A negotiating guide for trans inclusion and gender diversity in their negotiations. This development follows CUPE 4948’s ground-breaking, trans-affirming care leave, negotiated in 2020, which led the way for the City of Toronto council to pass motions expanding this benefit to other employees.

Susan Gapka, chair of CUPE Ontario’s Pink Triangle Committee, also sees positive developments and reasons for hope.

“This week, the Gender Affirming Health Care Advisory Committee Act was reintroduced in Ontario’s legislature as a private member’s bill by Toronto Centre NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam. CUPE Ontario fully supports the speedy adoption of this legislation and calls upon the Ontario government to act swiftly to save lives. This Act is an important recognition that the trans community needs accessible and gender-affirming health care after decades of neglect.”

In tribute to a fellow activist for access to better health services for the trans community, Gapka added: “This Trans Day of Remembrance, I will also be remembering Andy McDonald of CUPE 7800’s hospital division in Hamilton. Andy is ending his life via MAID (medical assistance in dying) next week. He was instrumental in helping us achieve trans health access 15 years ago, after Mike Harris cut funding in 1998.” (See more about Andy here.)

Following the example of Andy McDonald and all those who have campaigned tirelessly for trans rights, CUPE Ontario will work alongside the Pink Triangle Committee in the year ahead to help create safer workplaces and a Trans-positive environment for all workers.