CAW Statement on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

May 17, 2012, 12:15 PM EST


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May 17th is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. The National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers Union of Canada (CAW/TCACanada) stands in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer communities to continue to fight against homophobia and transphobia in our workplaces, communities, and around the world.

There have been many victories over the years for the LGBTQ communities either through collective bargaining, human rights challenges or legislative changes; however there are numerous challenges that many in our communities still face through oppression, discrimination and violence on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression in addition to their race, ethnicity, sex, linguistic background, ability, class, age, or economic circumstances.

Young people in schools across the country struggle with bullying as a result of homophobia and transphobia. We have and will continue to pressure governments to end bans to Gay-Straight Alliances in schools everywhere to promote safe and respectful learning environments for all students.

Transgender, transsexual, and gender-variant people are not yet explicitly protected from discrimination anywhere in Canada except the Northwest Territories. Bill C-279 is currently being debated in Parliament. This bill, proposed by New Democrat MP Randall Garrison, would add gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code, alongside prohibited grounds of discrimination such as race, religion, and sexual orientation. The CAW is encouraging members, family and friends to send a message to your MP to support this bill. A quick link is available online at
http://www.caw.ca/en/services-departments-pride.htm.

In 80 countries around the world same-sex relationships are still criminalized and in 7 of them, the death penalty can be enforced. We must continue to pressure the Canadian Federal Government to provide safe passage for LGBTQ refugee claimants from around the world. Canada has been, and must continue to be a leader on LGBTQ issues. The CAW is on record calling on the Federal Government to overhaul the immigration and refugee system to make it more accountable, transparent, equitable, and democratic.

On May 17th, the National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers Union of Canada (CAW/TCA- Canada) reaffirms its commitment to firmly challenge homophobia and transphobia. We must continue to work together in solidarity against all forms of discrimination because we all know that an injury to one is an injury to all.

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