Together Against Hate: International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

May 14, 2015

This Sunday, May 17 marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. This is an opportunity for us to celebrate sexual and gender diversities and recommit to fighting hatred, violence, and discrimination against LGBT people in our workplaces and communities, as well as globally.

76 countries still place criminal sanctions on homosexuality, with some countries imposing life prison sentences or even execution on gays and lesbians. While we celebrate increasing numbers of U.S. states allowing same-sex marriage, and an increasing number of openly gay candidates seeking – and winning – elected office in North America, it’s important to note that LGBT people here still experience challenges in terms of economic equality, social rights, freedom from violence and the right to live and work safety and with dignity.

This spring, the Conservative-dominated Canadian Senate gutted Bill C-279, a private member’s bill by NDP MP Randall Garrison, which aims to enshrine equal protections for transgender, transsexual and gender-variant people under the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. The weakened bill would still be an improvement over current legal protections, but even now, the Conservative Senate continues to stall its passage.

Many kids in our schools and people in our workplaces  still face the reality of homophobia or transphobia in their daily lives. Trans people in particular tend to experience significant harassment and discrimination in employment, housing and access to services.

On the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, MoveUP celebrates the achievements we have made in Canada and we re-confirm our commitment to fighting all forms of discrimination.

There are simple things each of us can do to help create a positive, safe space: support co-workers who face homophobia or transphobia on the job, speak out when you hear someone using homophobic or transphobic language, and make attempts to attend Pride events this summer and other types of rallies against violence and discrimination taking place in your communities. Take a minute to learn about the situation facing LGBT people around the world and the work being done by organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International against the criminalization and punishment of homosexuality in other countries.

MoveUP stands in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer communities as we continue the fight against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in our workplaces, province and around the world.