Today, the Liberal government formally apologized in the House of Commons to gay, lesbian and transgender Canadians for the discrimination they have suffered over the decades, often at the hands of federal agencies.
CUPE welcomes the apology, and honours the tremendous pressure generated by the LGBTTQI community to bring it into being. That pressure included a class action lawsuit brought by former members of the federal public service, the military and the RCMP, for the discrimination and life-shattering hatred they suffered. Thousands of people across Canada were harassed, threatened and fired from their jobs for their sexual orientation.
Gina McKay is President of CUPE 2348 and a member of CUPE’s National Pink Triangle Committee, as well as the Diversity Representative of the CUPE Manitoba executive board. She travelled from her hometown of Winnipeg to be in attendance at Parliament to witness the apology. She was invited by the government, recognized for her LGBTTQI, union and community activism.
She says the apology is a good step towards addressing the systemic discrimination and oppression that LGBTTQI people still face.
“Acknowledging people’s painful experience and confronting these truths are important steps towards creating change,” she says. “The apology sets a tone that encourages us to create more inclusive and diversity-positive spaces – in our workplaces, communities and unions.”
Gina hopes the apology will help build a stronger foundation for the work that labour activists do to advance human rights for our members.