Toronto – May 13, 2017 – The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) is celebrated each year on May 17 as a day to speak out against LGBTQI2S discrimination.
The day is meant to bring attention to the struggles faced by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, intersex, and two-spirited community around the world. Of no small significance, the date coincides with the World Health Organization's 1990 decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental health disorder.
While equality is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, many members of the LGBTQI2S community still face discrimination on a daily basis. For example, it is estimated that one in six homeless youth in Canada identifies as being part of the LGBTQI2S community.
That is why UFCW Canada has partnered with the Egale Human Rights Trust and other allies to combat discrimination and create safe workplaces where individuals can be true to themselves. As well, UFCW Canada participates annually in Pride Parades across the country and in events such as Out at Night, which raises funds and awareness to help homeless LGBTQI2S youth in Canada.
IDAHOT also gives us a chance to renew our commitment to remaining steadfast in our efforts to fight prejudice and hate in the workplace. Accordingly, UFCW has worked with a number of organizations throughout Canada to develop new resources aimed at helping members initiate a Local Union Pride Committee or Pride Chapter. Those resources can be downloaded here.
The theme for IDAHOT 2017 focuses on "families" and their role in ensuring the well-being of LGBTQI2S individuals. The power of a family unit is critical to combating hate and discrimination, because families stand up for each other no matter what. This year, let us recommit to creating workplaces where all of our UFCW family are embraced, whether it be on the shop floor, in break rooms, and outside of work.
Let us grow our values in the spirit of solidarity, and work towards a Canada where people of all sexual orientations and identities are welcomed, loved, and empowered.
Paul R. Meinema