Always the bridesmaid, never the bride?
As Pride in Print goes to press the passage of the Equal Marriage Bill looks less and less certain. However, if the Liberal government can hold onto power through until the fall, we may see the Bill pushed through - that is, if we keep up our efforts to push politicians to do the right thing.
CAW LGBT activists and our allies have been calling, phoning, faxing and e-mailing Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister. In February Buzz Hargrove wrote again to Paul Martin: "I am proud that our union used our collective power to bring about workplace changes in winning rights for gays and lesbians. And I am proud that our country as a whole is seen as a world leader on equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender members of society. Same-sex marriage is an important step in the struggle for equality. It's time to take it."
Clearly, same-sex marriage is about legal recognition for families. But perhaps just as importantly, equal marriage carries a heavy symbolic weight. It will send a strong message to all Canadians that minority rights are protected in a democracy. It will send a specific message to lesbian and gay youth and their families - your lives and your relationships are valid and treasured. This is the message that will ultimately turn around the high suicide rates of lesbian and gay youth, and the message that will prevent families from being ripped apart and lesbian and gay youth turfed out onto the streets. It is equally a message to the children of same sex parents: your families count, and your rights are protected. At the same time it is a message to bigots and bashers and school yard bullies: you do not have the support of Canadian society or Canadian politicians or lawmakers. It is a message of equality - not tolerance, not separate but equal, not 'don't ask don't tell'.
Dignity, respect and equality. This is the message that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community needs to hear, and it is the message that all Canadians need reminding of. It is a message that Parliament can deliver, and it's time has come.
Please take a few minutes to once again contact your Member of Parliament and the Prime Minister to voice your support for equality for all Canadians. For more information, and for a direct email link to your MP, check out http://www.equalmarriage.ca/.
|As working people, our members understand all too well that we need to protect those whose rights are most vulnerable, in order that our own rights are also protected. We know firsthand the rule of divide and conquer. In the debate around same-sex marriage, opponents have attempted to portray workingclass people and immigrants as uniformly opposed to marriage. And yet, nearly every labour leader in Canada has written to the Prime Minister's Office to support same sex marriage. . .|
(Excerpt from the CAW submission to the Hearings Committee on the Equal Marriage Bill)
Pride season will be upon us before we know it. CAW members are planning to take part in events right across the country. Please consider representing our union in the events in your community by carrying a CAW Pride Flag (contact our workroom at 1-800-268-5763 to borrow a flag), and/or by hooking up with other CAW members to walk in the parade together. Talk with your local union leadership, women's committees and human rights committees about joining you as allies. Here's a list of some of the events we've heard about so far:
Halton: Saturday June 4th
Tri-Pride: Sunday June 5th (K/W & Cambridge)
Calgary: Sunday June 12th
Winnipeg: Sunday June 12th
Saskatoon: Saturday June 18th
Hamilton: Saturday June 18th
Durham Pride: Sunday June 19th
Toronto: Sunday, June 26th
London: Sunday July 10th
Brampton: Saturday July 16th
Halifax: July 18th -24th
Windsor: Sunday July 24th
Cape Breton: Sunday, July 24th
Vancouver: Sunday July 31st
Montreal: Sunday July 31st
Ottawa: Sunday August 28th
Every September, communities across the country organize an HIV/AIDS walk to generate much needed funds for research and community programs. This year, why not join with other CAW activists and put together a CAW contingent and take part?
This may be the perfect opportunity to work with a broad group within your local union on something we all need to be concerned about. Contact your local union health and safety activists, human rights activists, international solidarity activists, women activists, leadership and of course, LGBT activists too. If you get a group together, send us a photo (CAW Pride, 205 Placer Court, Toronto, ON M2H 3H9 / or email firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll publicize our participation.
Every three years, over 700 CAW local union delegates from across the country, and from all sectors of our union meet to discuss our bargaining strategy and debate the direction of our union's political involvement. The 2005 Convention will take place in Toronto from July 12-14. If you are a delegate to this Convention, please join us at a Pride caucus for LGBT delegates and allies. If you are not a delegate, please discuss with your local union's delegates the importance of raising and supporting political action for the equality of lesbians, gays, bisexual, and trans members of our union and community.
This year's Convention will mark the 20th Anniversary of our own Canadian union. Included in our celebrations will be the work our union has done to support our LGBT members, alongside the fantastic growth of activism by our Pride caucuses across the country.
The Canadian Labour Congress Pride Conference "From Formal Equality to Social Equality" will be held November 3rd - 5th, 2005 in Quebec City. The CAW hopes to send a strong delegation to this conference, where we will meet up with local union activists from other unions across the country to strategize, discuss, and learn about each others' battles and actions. The Conference Call letter and Registration Form will be sent out to your local union leadership in May.
In August 2006, Montreal will host "Workers Out!", an international trade union pride conference. That's right, trade union LGBT activists from around the world will be getting together right here to trade experiences and strategies. This conference takes place in conjunction with the World Outgames. Stay tuned for more information.
In light of these two important conferences, the next CAW Pride Conference at our Education Centre in Port Elgin will be moved to April 2007.
The Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition (CRHC) is pleased to announce that they have partnered with the Fondation Émergence to make the first Wednesday of June a National Day Against Homophobia across all of Canada. This special day, which has been sanctioned by the Québec National Assembly as an annual event, was first celebrated on June 4th, 2003. The event has also garnered support from groups outside Quebec including the British Columbia Teacher's Association, the Canadian Teachers Federation, the Vancouver School Board, PFLAG Canada and the Canadian Psychological Association.
The theme for this year's National Day is The Family as that is often the first place where we encounter homophobia. The Family is also the place where we hopefully can obtain support from the pain caused by homophobia. With the public, and frequently hostile, debate over same-sex marriage this is the right time to talk about homophobia and its impact on all our lives.
There are many things that you can do to help promote the National Day Against Homophobia. You can request that your provincial government proclaim the day as they have in Quebec for the past two years. You can write your city council and ask them to declare the day as have the cities of Montreal, Quebec and Trois-Rivières. You can ask your union to participate in the day by hosting an event where homophobia is discussed. You can host a community forum to provide an opportunity for people to discuss the impact of homophobia on their lives. There are numerous things you can get involved in. Check out the Fondation Émergence website at http://www.homophobiaday.com/ to see things that have occurred in other communities. To get involved contact the Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition (1-800-955-5129) or check out http://www.rainbowhealth.ca/Remember - this event is called "National Day Against Homophobia" - but it needs to include a fundamental commitment to end transphobia as well. Transgender people have stood on the frontlines of battles against homophobia and we need to stand together in the fight against harassment and violence of our transgender sisters and brothers.
The new Council Pride Committee met for the first time at April Council. Delegates discussed our need to integrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans issues and representation into all of our programs - education, women's programs, human rights, organizing, communications, bargaining, servicing, etc. The Committee looks forward to working with all sectors of our union and all departments in ensuring that this occurs.
In addition, the Committee looks forward to connecting with our Pride Caucuses across the country to share information, engage in strategic planning and work together to support our LGBT members and their families in our workplaces and communities.
Reports from our meetings will regularly appear in Pride in Print. Congratulations to all those delegates who will help lead the national union on LGBT issues! If you are an out LGBT CAW member and you get elected as a CAW Council delegate in the future, please let us know (email us at email@example.com)
If you would like to contribute to Pride in Print, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, 1-800-268-5763, Human Rights Department.
To receive your copy of Pride in Print by mail, call or e-mail the Human Rights Department at 1-800- 268-5763 / email@example.com and have your name added to our confidential mailing list.
|Occasionally we send out information to our Pride Activists by e-mail. If you are not receiving information in this format and would like to, please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org|
Until we're considered equal, and not simply 'tolerated'.
Until our youth aren't forced to leave home for the streets.
Until our partners are welcome at all family, social and workplace events.
Until the police are there to protect us not harass us.
Until sex trade workers are not seen as criminals.
Until our children see our families reflected in school curriculum and story books.
Until our differences and our cultures are celebrated not denied.
Until it's safe to come out at work.
Until it's safe to come out at school.
Until hospitals, banks, travel agents, and insurance companies see us as people not problems or profits.
Until we're not stereotyped into certain jobs or denied others.
Until parents aren't freaked out by having lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender children.
Until we don't have to justify, explain, educate and expose our private lives.
Until harassment at work stops.
Until our streets are safe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.
Until religions open their doors to our celebrations and expressions of faith.
Until we can express our gender without fear of reprisal or ridicule.
Until gender stereotyping stops and we are all free to be wholly human.
Until the cure for homophobia is discovered.
Until we can love and be loved, with joy and gay abandon. . .