On the second Wednesday in April, we mark the International Day against Bullying, Discrimination, Homophobia and Transphobia. In communities across Canada and around the world people wear pink to call for an end to bullying in all its forms, especially bullying targeting members of the LGBTTI community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, or intersex persons).
Bullying is a serious problem in our workplaces, our schools and our communities. This aggressive, persistent form of harassment hurts people of all ages. It is a misuse of power to make someone else feel small. For targets, the health fallout can be devastating, from depression and trauma to suicide, in the worst cases. The ripple effects extend to witnesses, friends, families, co-workers and entire organizations.
The labour movement has always been at the forefront of struggles for LGBTTI rights. At CUPE’S 2015 National Convention, our members adopted resolutions to negotiate gender identity and gender expression protections into collective agreements, and to promote education and awareness about the barriers faced by LGBTTI people as they age.
On April 13, take a stand against bullying. Wear pink and encourage others to wear pink.
Here are some other things you and your local can do to help make everyone feel safe, welcome and respected in our workplaces.
- Negotiate LGBTTI rights into your collective agreement. Read CUPE’s checklist for bargaining LGBTTI rights.
- Learn more about the harassment and discrimination faced by our own LGBTTI members. See CUPE’s online presentation and backgrounder featuring the experiences of three trans activists from the National Pink Triangle Committee. Also read the CLC’s Workers in Transition: A Practical Guide for Union Representatives.
- Order CUPE’s Stop harassment guide for locals and the pamphlet, Speak out! Stop harassment. You’ll find valuable tips on how to recognize harassment and take action to end it.
- Educate yourself and your members. Ask for CUPE’s Combating Workplace Bullying or Pride in CUPE workshops to be put on for your local or at the next Division school. CUPE also has a new weeklong Human Rights course. Our Steward Learning Series includes three-hour modules on Creating Harassment-Free Workplaces, Being an Ally for Equality, and Challenging Homophobia in the Workplace.
- Organize an anti-bullying event in your workplace or participate in a community or school district event. See the suggestions at dayofpink.org and from the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity.
- Check out the CLC’s booklet, To Our Allies: All You Ever Wanted to Know about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Issues
- Support changes to provincial and federal human rights codes to provide explicit protection against discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.
Let’s stand together to put a stop to bullying and harassment.