Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

May 17, 2010 16:12 ET

Statement by Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour

May 17th International Day Against Homophobia

Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO - STATEMENT--(Marketwire - May 17, 2010) - May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia. It is a day of action, awareness and affirmation of the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBT) people and their families to live their lives "Out and Proud."

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is proud to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Canada and worldwide and to vigorously oppose homophobia and transphobia.

The right to dignity, justice, equality and a life free from all forms of discrimination and oppression is a fundamental human right and major priority for the labour movement. The struggle for LGBT rights and family recognition has been an essential part of the federation's work in society, the workplace and in our unions.

As a labour movement, we can and do take pride in our efforts of the past 40 years to ensure full legal rights for LGBT workers and their families. We fought for collective bargaining rights and stood with our members through legal battles to achieve legislative equality. Regrettably, legal rights do not mean full dignity and social equality. For too many LGBT workers, discrimination in the workplace and in society remain very real threats.

We note that trans-identified people have yet to win basic rights in human rights' laws. In particular, their right to access necessary medical procedures remains precarious at best. And while we work actively with youth groups, teachers unions and EGALE to end bullying in schools and to support education to build youth awareness and understanding of harassment, bullying and discrimination, three-quarters of LGBT students feel unsafe at school.

Internationally, in more than 80 countries, it is a crime to be gay or lesbian. In seven of these countries homosexuality is punishable by death. This horrifying reality is the catalyst behind our ongoing work with Pride Uganda Alliance, the international community and the Canadian Labour Congress. We must prevent passage of a similar bill in Uganda. We are therefore actively supporting countries in their efforts to provide a safe haven for LGBT Ugandans escaping persecution.

Our struggle to gain equality and justice for all workers in Ontario's diverse LGBT communities requires an understanding of the linkages between homophobia/transphobia and other forms of discrimination such as racism, sexism, ableism, and classism. It also requires a commitment to work actively both as a federation and in coalition with like-minded equality seeking groups on all equality issues facing Ontario workers.

On this International Day Against Homophobia we salute LGBT workers and families throughout the world and pledge our strongest possible support to challenge discrimination in all its forms.

cope343 /For further information: Carrol Anne Sceviour
Director of Human Rights - Women Issues
416.443.7670 (direct)/ IN: LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Sid Ryan, President
    Primary Phone: 416-443-7678
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138