Canada’s unions are celebrating 2023 Pride season, “Together Always, United in Our Diversity” by standing in solidarity against rising anti-2SLGBTQI+ attitudes and actions. We are committed to advancing 2SLGBTQI+ rights in workplaces and communities.
“Whether on the shop floor, in union halls or in government spaces, Canada’s unions know that we are stronger together. We will continue to build unity not only to celebrate, but to defend the diversity within our movement. Our commitment to fighting against homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination is a daily practice that extends beyond just Pride season,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “Pride is an important opportunity for us to highlight this work, but our solidarity and support reaches much further.”
The rise of anti-2SLGBTQI+ phobia and violence has been an alarming trend across Canada and around the world. According to a recent report from Statistics Canada, domestic police-reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation increased drastically – by almost 60 per cent between 2019 and 2021. A 2018 report also found that transgender Canadians are disproportionately more likely to experience violence than their cis-gender counterparts, including in public, online and at work.
According to ACLED, a non-partisan organisation that compiles statistics on violence globally, anti-LGBTQ mobilizations in the United States more than tripled in 2022 compared to 2021. This led to horrific tragedies including the Colorado nightclub shooting, and has raised concerns of a spillover effect in Canada.
In fact, anti-inclusion and pro-violence campaigns are continuing to gain momentum in our country, targeting a growing number of Pride events and related programming. They also seek to undermine important legislative gains aimed at increasing equity and inclusion of 2SLGBTQI+ communities in Canada. This includes disruptions at local drag story-time events and attacks against inclusive curriculum development in schools. Many of these anti-2SLGBTQI+ mobilizations have documented connections to far right and white supremacist groups . These connections include direct funding from and similar strategy to anti-2SLGBTQI+ fascist organisations, based in the U.S. and globally.
In the face of mounting hate, we will continue to vehemently oppose racism, colonialism, homophobia, biphobia, intersexphobia and transphobia in all of its forms, across Canada and around the world.
“The actions of a hateful few threaten to injure the progressive, inclusive and equitable vision for all that our labour movement has defended for decades. But make no mistake: Canada’s unions will continue to show up to defend these hard-fought gains on 2SLGBTQI+ rights, in the workplace and in our communities. We will fervently defend against the bigotry and ignorance peddled by the far right,” said Larry Rousseau, Executive Vice-President of the CLC.
While the new federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan is an important first step, more direct action is needed to support local organisations, particularly in rural areas. Canada’s unions will continue to lobby governments at every level to support and protect these organisations dedicated to combatting homophobia and transphobia. We are equally committed to helping sustain safe community spaces for 2SLGBTQI+ people across Canada and around the world.
Canada’s unions must also be part of the solution to end homophobia, transphobia and 2SLGBTQI+ phobia internally by showing leadership and challenging discrimination anywhere we see it. We can do this with member education, awareness campaigns, bargaining 2SLGBTQI+ collective agreement language, and participating in pride events every year.