May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia. The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) stands in solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities in opposition to homophobia and transphobia.
In at least 76 countries around the world, homosexuality is still illegal. Just a few months ago, activist David Kato was brutally murdered in Uganda, where a vicious anti-gay crusade is being sponsored by government. Here in Canada, discrimination in the workplace and hate crime are still all too frequent realities for GLBT persons. Recent research demonstrates alarmingly high rates of school bullying, that is disproportionately directed against young lesbians.
This year, we mark May 17 with apprehension, as the Harper Conservatives begin their majority rule. With his strong majority in hand, what will stop Harper from acting on earlier threats to abolish same-sex marriage and ban abortion? His government has already gutted federal pay equity, eliminated the Court Challenges Program, cut funding to feminist advocacy and research, and attacked many human rights groups.
Just a few months ago, we were on the verge of a major victory: Bill C-389 would have amended the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to better protect the rights of transgender persons. PSAC, the CLC, Egale and several other organizations actively supported Bill C-389. The Bill was adopted by the House of Commons and was waiting to be examined by the Senate, when the Parliament was dissolved and elections were called.
Today, the perspective of winning back Bill C-389 is faint, even though we should remain optimistic in the long term. Indeed, Bill Siksay and the NDP, with the support of the other opposition parties, have laid the ground work to proceed quickly with the adoption of a similar bill when there will be a change of government.
Today, more than ever, it is important that we stand strong and proud, staunch allies in defense of the human rights of all of our brothers and our sisters.