REVP Statement on International Day Against Homophobia

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Dear Sisters & Brothers,

May 17 marks the International Day Against Homophobia, a day that aims to reach all groups of society, regardless of their sexual orientation, to promote diversity and foster acceptance for LGBT peoples.

Last week, President Barack Obama made an unprecedented move by publicly announcing his support for gay marriage. Though obviously a huge achievement for the equal rights movement, we still have a long way to go. As Chair of the Affirmative Action Committee of Democrats Abroad, an arm of the Democratic Party, I immediately sent him a letter stating a great big THANK YOU!

However, within minutes of President Obama’s announcement, marching in lockstep to Conservative ideology, House Republicans introduced homophobic bills to deny military couples the right to marry on bases and to deny them federal benefits. With a Conservative majority government in Canada, protections and rights could disappear just as quickly.

Last fall, 15-year-old openly gay Ottawa student Jamie Hubley (the victim of homophobic bullying) committed suicide, claiming, “this hurts too much.” The International Day Against Homophobia, on May 17, is a reminder to us all that deaths like Jamie’s are preventable; that we all deserve to live free of harassment and discrimination; and that we are all entitled to basic human rights and freedoms.

In order to continue to progress as a society and within the labour movement, we need to work together. We need to fight homophobia, prejudice and oppression. I’m proud to say that in our union, we are a strong, united voice. Now let’s lend that voice to the LGBT community by speaking out against homophobia and influencing social acceptance. The power to wipe out homophobia is in our hands.

In Solidarity,

Larry Rousseau
Regional Executive Vice-President
National Capital Region
Public Service Alliance of Canada