CAW lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) activists and our allies once again participated in record numbers in Pride Parades across the country. This year we came out to pride events in Winnipeg, Halifax, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Brampton/Peel, Oakville/Halton, London, Chatham-Kent, and Ottawa. We carried signs for AIDS Action Now, for stronger better Health Care, for a restoration of trans services, for NDP candidates, and for same-sex marriage. We carried CAW pride flags, Sisterhood flags, Local Union flags, and Retiree flags. We distributed stickers and pamphlets letting the millions of working people in the crowds know that the CAW stands for equality and is proud to represent our LGBT members.
"You know that there is a wonderful energy and lots of pride from watching the TV but until you actually attend the parade it is difficult to fully comprehend it - the absolutely MASSIVE energy of the day! We both would like to extend our thanks to the sisters and brothers that put the CAW float together. Having the float in there from the CAW was awesome - truly awesome.... It was really interesting to watch the reaction of a lot of the bystanders....you could see them looking to see who the float represented...the CAW...oh...the CAW!!!! Big smiles and cheers...the wink and nods of approval...it was truly amazing for us as the CAW to be in there in such a big way!"
3rd National CAW Pride Conference Report
From April 30th - May 2nd over a hundred CAW LGBT activists and allies participated in our 3rd National CAW Pride Conference. The Conference theme was 'Working Class Pride: our Roots, Our Struggles, Our Communities'. Delegates attended workshops on Understanding Sexuality and Confronting Homophobia, On the Front Lines (a workshop for activists), Finding Your Voice (public speaking), Building a Respectful Workplace Environment (anti-harassment), and Courting Equality (LGBT rights). During plenary, Laurentian University Professor, Gary Kinsmen, engaged participants in a discussion about the working class roots of pride activism. Douglas Elliott, the lawyer representing the Coalition in Support of Marc Hall, was the keynote speaker on Saturday evening. Elliot spoke about the challenges ahead as the Hall case is argued before the Supreme Court of Ontario this fall. He had high praise for the strong public role played by the CAW during the initial struggle for Hall to take his same-sex partner to the prom. Delegates left the conference full of enthusiasm for moving forward with LGBT challenges.
"It was a wonderful and welcoming event and I am very proud and honoured to have been a part of it. I never really felt a part of my union, I always felt out of the loop . . . and that my voice was never heard. It is only in the last little while that my part in the union has come to life. I am happy for the youth of the union that their voice is heard and that it will not take 28 years in the auto plants for them to be heard . . ."
Labour activists and LGBT activists alike breathed a sigh of relief on July 8th as Canadians rejected Stephen Harper's anti-labour, anti-gay Conservative Party team and elected a Liberal minority government. The NDP, with 19 seats and 15.7 percent of the popular vote, should exert a major influence on the Liberal minority government. Alongside the Bloc, which has a strong tradition of commitment to social, labour, and LGBT rights, the NDP will hold the Liberals to their promises to expand social rights (including same-sex marriage), repair and expand our health care system, introduce universal child care, and create real investment strategies for Canadian jobs.
Individual candidate results were mixed. There were some major disappointments as favoured NDP candidates, and strong LGBT supporters (like our own Peggy Nash) suffered surprising defeats, despite fantastic support and terrific campaigns. Out lesbian, gay and bisexual candidates were victorious in some ridings (Bill Siksay, Libby Davies, Real Menard, Scott Brison) and defeated in many others. The same can be said of homophobic candidates, who were summarily defeated in some ridings and, sadly, elected in others.
For the LGBT community, the election was significant in many respects. First off, there were more out LGBT candidates running in this election than any previous election - our visibility, our support, and our strength in putting ourselves forward for public office is on the rise. Secondly, this election focused, as no other has, on lesbian and gay rights. We were front and centre for months (even if the scope of debate was limited to same-sex marriage and many of our other priorities, such as trans rights, HIV/AIDS services, poverty, housing, adoption, discrimination in employment, etc. were not on the agenda). As the election neared, more and more Canadians voiced their support for some of our issues, and their support for the Charter. The importance of this cannot be understated. If only some of the other domestic and international issues (like the War in Iraq, our jobless rate, free trade, the Kyoto Accord) had also become major debating points between the parties and among ordinary Canadians. . . Perhaps these other issues just aren't as sexy as the prospect of lesbian and gay couples growing old together.
|In Canada, 71% of the population now has access to same-sex marriage. In Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario. 100% of the population now has access to same-sex divorce. ..|
CLC LGBT Community Forum in St. John's Newfoundland
At the request of Newfoundland LGBT activists, the Canadian Labour Congress Solidarity & Pride Working Group is holding a Community Forum in St. John's on Sunday, September 26, 2004. The CLC invites all LGBT activists and our allies from the St. John's area to attend. The meeting will be at The Delta St. John's Hotel from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. The CAW will be participating in the forum and we're asking that you help spread the word to our activists. Anyone who wants more information and/or plans to attend, please contact Sue Carter at the CAW National Office (1-800-268-5763 ext. 479).
Labour Movement News
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Solidarity & Pride Committee is raising the visibility of LGBT issues - they have produced a large, bright, pride display which they send to all conventions and conferences that happen in the province. Earlier this year they also sponsored a "Loud and Queer" theatre production in Regina which was sold out and attended by 500-600 people.
The next CLC Solidarity and Pride Conference will be held in late fall of 2005.
The International Workers Out! Conference, formerly part of the International Gay Games, will be held in Montreal from July 29th - August 5th, 2006. Trade union LGBT activists from around the world will meet to share information, resources, and strategies.
The CLC will be working on a new Education Tool Kit to help educators from all affiliated unions integrate LGBT issues into their courses. The CAW will draw from our experiences and help develop the Tool Kit.
UN Drops Gay Civil Rights
For the second year in a row the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has failed to add 'sexuality' to the list of categories protected by the United Nations. Amidst intense pressure from the Vatican and Muslim nations, the proposal put forward by Brazil and supported by Canada and most of the European Union states, was withdrawn. "Millions of people across the globe face imprisonment, torture, violence, and discrimination because of their sexual orientation," said Member of the European Parliament, Michael Cashman.
Other News from around the World
Spain: A new poll by the Centre for Sociological Investigations in Spain suggests that nearly 70 percent of Spaniards believe homosexual couples should have exactly the same rights and obligations as heterosexual partners. Despite strong opposition from the church in this traditionally Catholic country, newly elected socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodrigues Zapatero remains committed to introducing a new law legalizing gay unions.
Jerusalem: Thousands participated in Jerusalem's Pride parade on June 3rd, despite the mayor's attempts to stop the parade from happening.
Germany: The German government has proposed legislation to equalize the rights of registered same-sex partners with those of married people. The first of two bills has been crafted to not require consent from the Bundesrat (Upper House) where it would probably be defeated. The second bill that does require Upper House approval will be needed to ensure that all rights presently enjoyed by heterosexual couples (adoption, pensions, inheritance, taxation, financial support, court testimony, and social welfare benefits) will be introduced in the fall. Three years ago, Germany passed a same-sex partnership law but only about 5,000 same-sex couples have taken advantage of it and it brings only obligations and virtually no rights.
Jamaica: Gay activist and leader Brian Williamson was found murdered in his home in June of this year. A leading human rights campaigner and a founder of J-FLAG (Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays), Williamson's death is being mourned by activists in many parts of the world. Amnesty International and other LGBT groups from around the world are calling on Jamaica's Prime Minister to tackle the issue of anti-gay violence, to overturn Jamaica's harsh sodomy laws (punishable by 10 years hard labour), and address the queer-bashing promoted by music which glorifies gay murder.
Brazil: Over 1 million people attended the 8th annual Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride March in Sao Paolo Brazil on June 13th. Sao Paolo mayor Marta Suplicy of the ruling leftist Workers Party (PT) said the march shows "the recognition of diversity, or plurality, by this city's population". One of Brazil's states allows for same-sex marriage but efforts to pass federal legislation have so far been prevented by a group of evangelical Protestant legislators. Brazil does recognize the immigration rights of its citizens' same-sex foreign partners.
USA: After four days of debate, the US Senate, by a vote of 48 to 50 rejected the Federal Marriage Constitutional Amendment (which would have specifically made same-sex marriage illegal in the US). House Republicans are determined to bring the Amendment back into the House of Representatives before the US election in November in their ongoing quest to add discrimination to the US Constitution.
The International Coalition on AIDS and Development has recently produced two new reports, one on HIV/AIDS and Homophobia as well as a report on HIV/AIDS and the Response of Christian Churches. Both are available on ICAD's website: www.icad-cisd.com.
A new research report on Lesbians and Breast Cancer is now available from the DisAbled Women's Network website: www.dawn.thot.net.
A new Poll for Research and Information on Canada and Environics (June 2004) shows that 57% of Canadians favour equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians, with 38% opposed. Support for same-sex marriage continues to grow in Canada and for the first time an overwhelming majority supports the idea.
Caucus & Committee Corner
Oshawa & Area Caucus - CAW members in the Oshawa, Peterborough, and Toronto East area can leave a message for the LGBT Caucus at Local 222 by calling (905)723-1187 ext. 226 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western Region Pride Caucus - Our Caucus meets monthly. Contact us by leaving a message at the CAW Regional Office in Vancouver at 1-800-665-3553 or by e-mail: email@example.com
Windsor & Area LGBT Caucus - The CAW Windsor Area LGBT Caucus meetings are held every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 8:00 p.m. at the CAW Regional Office - 2345 Central Avenue. Contact us at 519-944-5866 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Our website is www.geocities.com/caw_lgbt_caucus.
Golden Horseshoe Regional LGBT Caucus - Greetings! Contact us by email: email@example.com or by calling (905) 714-7333.
London and Area Working With Pride Caucus - Our meetings are held on the second Sunday of each month. For more information call Stephanie Johnstone (519) 536-9023 or Laura Panther (519) 785-3108 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our website:
Halifax and Area Pride Caucus - We welcome new members!! Contact us through Local 4606 at (902)422-0826.
Ottawa & Area Pride Caucus - We're just getting started - please join us! Contact us through the CAW Ottawa Area Office at 1-800-982-2601.
Quebec Council Pride Committee - We're the first Council Pride Committee - for more info on how to get involved, contact us through the Quebec Regional Office at 1-800-561-5261.
CAW Local 1285 Pride Standing Committee - Contact us by email email@example.com or call us at (905) 451-8310 ext. 43.
CAW Local 199 Pride Standing Committee - Contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (905) 714-7333.
CAW Local 27 Pride Standing Committee - Call (519) 455-3430.
Anything to Contribute?
If you would like to contribute to Pride in Print, contact us by email at email@example.com or by phone at 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 / firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.