International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

May 17, 2016

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and we have much to celebrate! We've come a long way, and today there are conversations happening around the world that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. The federal Liberal government introduced bill C-16, explicitly guaranteeing human rights for transgender people across the country. The conversation on all-gender washrooms is starting to have an effect on public buildings and schools across North America. And there is increasing visibility of gay and transgender people in mainstream media and entertainment. 

And as usual, there is still so much work to do. The B.C. Liberals just rejected MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert's private member's Trans Equality Bill to explicitly add gender identity to the B.C. Human Rights Code. Spencer has introduced this legislation four times under the B.C. Liberals, and each time they vote against it. Yet we know transgender people face transphobia in B.C. every day. And we have only to look to North Carolina to realize that state-endorsed discrimination can be very real. 

I'm proud to say that BCGEU has done a lot of work on gay and transgender issues in the last year. We sent a letter supporting Spencer Chandra Herbert's bill to Christy Clark; we signed the Trans Equality Pledge; we have committed to an all-gender washroom in every one of our buildings; and we will have a preferred-pronoun line on all conference badges. We have developed a new equity bargaining kit that includes language improvements for LGBTQ+ members, and we will be rolling out a new equity education course soon. 

We are committed to working to make British Columbia safe and free for all people, including trans and gender variant British Columbians, today and into the future. 

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