I (still) Do! support equality
This fall the House of Commons will vote on whether to re-open the same-sex marriage debate. It is likely that the move will fail. However, we need to be prepared to make the arguments for equality all over again. And, we need to be prepared for another wave of backlash in our workplaces, as those opposed to equality once again are given the political space to voice their opinions. The support of our allies in confronting homophobia remains critical.
In a letter to Stephen Harper earlier this year, our National President, Buzz Hargrove wrote:
Dear Prime Minister:
How disappointing to read that your government is planning to move ahead on a vote in the House of Commons on same sex marriage.
What, exactly, is your problem with real equality for all Canadians?
Because, Prime Minister, equality is what is at the heart of same sex marriage.And you're opposed to it.
You know, as well as the rest of us, about the horrendous history of social approaches that divide people into groups by offering so-called "separate but equal" access to social institutions. Apartheid is the name that was given to this approach, for example, in South Africa. It was also this approach that made it necessary for the courts to declare women "persons" in Canada not so very long ago. "Separate but equal" approaches proclaim that some groups are less equal, less deserving, than others.
Why would any government want to attach itself to such a legacy of discrimination and injustice? Why would you?
I am asking you to put petty politics aside and do the right thing. You are not on the side of justice, you are not on the side of the majority of Canadians and you are not on the side of an honourable history.
Let same sex marriage be. It deserves to be celebrated, not attacked.
The CAW has produced Equal Marriage stickers so that our members can show their support for human rights. To order stickers, contact the CAW workroom at 1-800-268-5763. These would be great for a plant-gate handout on the day of the vote. Also available from the workroom are copies of the CAW "Pride in the Union" pamphlet that outlines why and how we work on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues.
To get more involved in the campaign to maintain Equal Marriage, contact Egale at www.egale.ca.
Once again the CAW is showing our colourful and spirited commitment to LGBT members and the broader community during this summer's pride season. Congratulations to CAW members who organize our participation across the country, and help make pride both fun and political (the "bi-Canadian, bi-union" signs were a big hit!).
CLC Solidarity & Pride Conference 2005
Over 150 trade unionists from across the country and all different unions met in Quebec City last November to learn from each other and develop strategies to move "From Legal Equality to Social Equality". The CAW sent 56 delegates to the conference, and in addition we held a one day planning meeting with members of the CAW Pride Council Advisory Committee and Caucus/Standing Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs from across the country to work on setting priorities for our pride work in the future.
The International Workers Out! Conference, formerly part of the International Gay Games, will be held in Montreal from July 26 - July 28, 2006. Trade union LGBT activists from around the world will meet to share information, resources, and strategies. CAW members who attend the conference will report back in the next issue of Pride in Print.
Global Labour Forum on HIV/AIDS
This year's international HIV/AIDS Conference will take place in Toronto, from August 11th to 13th. Stephen Harper has so far declined an invitation, though other world leaders clearly make HIV/AIDS a priority and have hosted the conference in their countries. As part of the international conference, the Canadian Labour Congress is hosting a 'Unions and HIV/AIDS' forum. For more information, see: www.canadianlabour.ca/index.php/aidsforum
CAW Constitutional Convention
Every three years, over 700 CAW local union delegates from across the country, and from all sectors of our union meet to discuss and debate the direction of our union. The 2006 Convention will take place in Vancouver from August 15-18th. 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 continuing to support action for the equality of lesbians, gays, bisexual, and trans members of our union and community.
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 email@example.com) and we'll publicize your participation.
Around the World
An estimated 3 million Brazilians took part in the Sao Paolo pride parade on June 17th (1/2 a million more than in 2005).
The same day thousands of Mexicans marched for three hours from the Angel of Independence to the central Zocalo plaza in Mexico City's 28th pride event. The march included supporters of The Other Campaign of the rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), which is boycotting the elections; and a "condommobile" that distributed 80,000 condoms by the National Center for Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS.
In Guatemala 200 marchers turned out to "demand that we be recognized as the people we are. We have the right to be able to have families, which is why we're asking the government to create a bill in which we are not only recognized but also allowed to adopt children and have recognition as families." Marchers included the "Queens of the Night Collective", a newly formed group of trans sex workers; seven cross-dressing prostitutes were murdered in Guatemala last year alone.
Luis Eduardo Garzon, the leftist mayor of Bogota, Colombia, officially opened the city's first community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people on June 28, International Pride Day (marking the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall rebellion in New York).
Argentinian activists are holding their first pride parade in Santa Fe this summer. Organizers will distribute masks to those who need to conceal their identity.
Transsexuals in Spain are to be given the right to change their gender documents in civil registries without undergoing a sex change, according to new laws passed by the Spanish government.
The good . . .Over 10,000 same-sex couples have married in Canada since June 10, 2003, the date the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered marriage licenses be issued to same-sex couples.
Sixty percent of Ontarians support same-sex marriage, according to a Toronto Life magazine poll conducted just after the first anniversary of equal marriage legislation. 51% of Torontonians said they were proud of Canada for making it legal for same-sex couples to marry.
According to two recent Environics polls (conducted last November, 2005 and January, 2006), 2/3 of Canadians are against re-opening this divisive debate.
The bad . . .Sixty percent of Canadians believe that being gay or lesbian is a deterrent to career success. Twenty-eight percent have observed hostility towards gays or lesbians in the workplace. The survey was commissioned to coincide with the National Day against Homophobia on May 17th. http://www.homophobiaday.org/utilisateur
The awful. . .A study of teenagers in British Columbia schools has found that lesbian teens are far more likely to attempt suicide than gay teens or heterosexual teens. The researchers report that 38 per cent of teenage lesbians and 30.4 per cent of bisexual girls said they had attempted suicide in the previous year, compared to 8.2 per cent of heterosexual girls, 8.8 percent of gay teens, 2,8 percent of boys, and 3.3percent of heterosexual boys.
A judge has given the Ontario government 12 months to change a law that prevents both partners in a lesbian relationship from being registered as parents on their child's birth record. Prior to the ruling, a non-bio mom had to adopt her partner's children (and, in a bizarre twist, bio moms also had to adopt the child they birthed, to avoid transferring all rights to the non-birth mom). In the Ontario Superior Court ruling, the birth registry of the Vital Statistics Act was found to discriminate against lesbian co-mothers on the basis of sex and infringe their right to equality under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
From time to time we hear stories of workplaces where LGBT information posted on union bulletin boards is ripped down or defaced. These bulletin boards are the property of the union and must be protected by the union. This kind of vandalizing can create or support a poisoned work environment. Our bulletin boards communicate with our members - they're the ideal place for the CAW pride pamphlet, and the CAW sticker, which outlines the union's support for LGBT members. If you experience problems with your bulletin board, bring it to the attention of your local union executive and/or your CAW national representative.
Special thanks to Lynn Brophy, CAW National Representative who has been working on pride issues for the union over the past year.
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, (905)723-1187 ext. 226.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Windsor & Area LGBT Caucus
The CAW Windsor Area LGBT Caucus meetings are held every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 8:00 pm at the CAW Regional Office, 2345 Central Ave. Contact us at 519-944-5866. website: www.geocities.com/caw_lgbt_caucus
Golden Horseshoe Regional LGBT Caucus
Greetings! Contact us at email@example.com or by calling (905) 714-7333.
London and Area Working With Pride Caucus
For more information call:
Stephanie Johnstone (519) 536-9023,
Laura Panther (519) 785-3108
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 (1-800-982-2601).
Manitoba Pride Caucus
If you're interested in helping start a Manitoba CAW Pride Caucus, leave a message at the Regional Office (204-487-2209) or email Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quebec 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 at: (905) 451-8310 ext. 241.
CAW Local 199 Pride Standing Committee
Contact us at: email@example.com or call (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: 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.
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Until. . .
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. . .
. . . We will be part of the movement for sexual diversity and equality