June 9, 2021
Members of the Union Family,
We have now entered Pride Month and you will be seeing many activities happening across the country. I wanted to take a moment to celebrate this great country. Pride in Canada starts around the end of May and happens across the country until September. Pride means something different to each person. For some it is a protest for change, a festival to celebrate what has been achieved, a time that we can explore and find out who we are, be our authentic selves, be with our chosen family and many more personal ways and reasons. Those journeys and thoughts on pride are personal and varied. I hope that in this difficult time that we all stay safe, know you are not alone and there is union family out there for you if you need us. We are all here in solidarity for a diverse and inclusive Canada.
Here are a few sites that you can use to explore and some comments from other members of our union family:
I love that Pride just gets bigger and brighter each year and that it celebrates every part of our diverse community and gives us all a platform to be visible and open with each other and with our many incredible allies. That being said, there are still people who aren’t fully or fairly represented, and we need to keep pushing the envelope by ensuring we are being as inclusive as possible to enable historically marginalized queer voices to be heard, validated and celebrated too.
Andrew Shaver – UNE National Executive Vice-President (he/him)
Pride for me means members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community being healthy as their authentic selves. Locally, private online discussions are used to find doctors that are friendly to the gender diverse. This should not be necessary; we should have equal access to healthcare without fear! UNE can advocate for improved healthcare and Pharmacare for the 2SLGBTQ+ community within their workplaces and beyond. It should also include expanded mental healthcare. Current access to the healthcare needs of the 2SLGBTQ+ community is limited and includes long wait times. The Yukon recently developed a new gender-affirming healthcare policy. I would love to see this same comprehensive transgender and gender diverse health and wellness policy advocated for Canada-wide!
Danielle Palmer – UNE Regional Representative for Human Rights, Alberta & NWT & NU
Each year, in June, the LGBTQ2+ community celebrates Pride month. We march every year, to help create awareness and support from the community we live in. We continue our fight year after year because of oppression, and the fight for equality to live our lives as our true selves. It’s also an opportunity to acknowledge that the fight for equality is not over. As long as discrimination on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other forms of discrimination exist we will continue to use our voices loud and proud.
Keith Lemoine – UNE President and Human Rights Representative, Local 10512
Pride was originally a riot, a fight for equal rights, to love who you love, to be who you truly are. 52 years later we are still hearing stories of people attacked for being their authentic self, of people being murdered for living as the gender they are instead of the gender society has assigned them, and of youth being forced from their homes and their family for not conforming. Our fight for equality is not over. We, as Union members, need to educate ourselves and others, so that we may all truly be equal. We all deserve respect, access to medical care, mental health resources, housing, community, and family support. Real love is just love, regardless of gender, or sexual orientation.
Janet Eileen Connor – UNE Regional Representative for Human Rights, Ottawa-Treasury Board
Yours in Solidarity,
Chris Little-Gagné (he/him)
UNE National Equity Representative for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People