CAUT Statement: International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (17 May 2012)

(May 17, 2012) On the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the Canadian Association of University Teachers recognizes the work of tireless activists working to combat discrimination and violence against gay, lesbian, trans, bisexual, two-spirited, and queer communities. The eradication of homophobia and transphobia is crucial for the realization of an equitable and just society.

While there have been many important advances through legal challenges, education campaigns, and legislative changes, homophobia and transphobia still resonate throughout too many workplaces, schools, and communities.

 The social, physical, economic, and psychological harms resulting from these forms of discrimination are stark. Suicide rates among LGBTQ youth remain overwhelmingly high, as do incidences of violence and bullying in our communities and on our campuses. When schools and post-secondary institutions ignore or downplay oppressive and discriminatory incidences instigated by ignorance around gender expression and sexual orientation, access to education is compromised.

 At an international scale, nations across the globe permit and even legislate punitive and harmful actions against LGBTQ communities, compromising their civil rights to life, liberty, and security. Thus it is crucial on this day of commemoration that we speak out to end all forms of discrimination against LGBTQ communities, not only among our own campuses and workplaces, but our education and activism needs to resonate all over the world.

 CAUT supports the inclusion of “gender identity” and “gender expression” as prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act, as is expressed in Bill 279 – a federal bill currently being considered by ParliamentWe encourage individuals to contact their member of parliament to support this bill.

 CAUT supports Gay-Straight Alliances in schools and calls on schools to end bans against such associations aimed to promote diversity and acceptance.

 CAUT supports the expansion of positive spaces in workplaces and on campuses, including: expanding gender-neutral washrooms, university policies that support staff and students to self-identify their gender, anti-oppression training available for students and university personnel, and other campus educational campaigns aimed to end all forms of discrimination.

 On this important day of global solidarity against homophobia and transphobia, the Canadian Association of University Teachers stands with pride to support and promote sexual diversity.

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