May 17, 2009 - International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

May 20, 2009, 11:25 AM EST

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This year marks the 40th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.  Across the country, CAW activists, local leadership and members took part in a variety of activities to commemorate May 17th - the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

CAW Pride flags went up in several workplaces, with the CAW/Canadian Labour Congress joint statement on May 17 read aloud in several others.  The statement was also handed out, along with the CAW Allies booklet and other material, encouraging members to address homophobia and transphobia in their workplaces and communities.

Here are some facts on homophobia and changing attitudes:

  • Three-quarters of LGBTQ students feel unsafe in at least one place at school, such as change rooms, washrooms, and hallways. Half of straight students agree that at least one part of their school is unsafe for LGBTQ students.
  • In more than 80 countries around the world, it is still a crime to be gay or lesbian. In seven of these countries, it is punishable by death.
  • A 2001 study found that 74% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people had experienced verbal abuse based on their sexual orientation, and about one-third had experienced physical violence.
  • In a survey conducted by Léger Marketing for Fondation Émergence in 2008, 79% of those surveyed believe that healthcare professionals and workers should have training on gay and lesbian issues.

To read the CAW/CLC joint statement on May 17th, please visit:

To read the CAW Allies booklet, please visit:

To read 'Workers in Transition: A Practical Guide to Union Representatives, please visit:

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