May 17 marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia & Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
Created in 2004, IDAHOBIT seeks to raise awareness of the discrimination and violence that is experienced by two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (2SLGBTQI+) persons around the world. The commemorative date of May 17 also coincides with the 1990 World Health Organization (WHO) decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness.
In 2023, the theme is “Together Always, United in Our Diversity.” The emphasis of this theme highlights the importance of solidarity, which is paramount in defending the hard-earned gains that the 2SLGBTQI+ community has earned in Canada.
It is no secret that Pride organizations from coast to coast have been the targets of homophobic and transphobic hate and violence, and these attacks are irrefutably connected to larger, global efforts of alt-right and white supremacist organizing. These attacks are increasing in size and frequency across the country. In May 2023, the Canadian Labour Congress unanimously passed an emergency ‘Anti-Hate’ resolution calling on Canada’s unions to condemn the rise in hate attacks on the 2SLGBTQI+ community.
In addition, gender-diverse workers in Canada are still facing disproportionately high rates of violence and harassment in the workplace. The CLC’s most recent survey on harassment and violence in Canadian workplaces found that 73% of gender-diverse respondents reported experiencing multiple forms of harassment and violence at work, a disproportionately high number compared to their cisgender colleagues. LGBTQ2S+ respondents were also more likely to have experienced harassment and violence, particularly sexual harassment and violence.
IDAHOBIT also presents an opportunity to support the work of LGBTQI2S organizations working to advance equality in Canada and around the world, including UFCW Canada’s national partner, the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, and our international partner, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA).
For more information on our union’s efforts to advance 2SLGBTQIA+ rights, visit UFCW Canada’s “Supporting LGBTQI2S Rights” webpage, and be sure to check out our work with UFCW’s constituency group for LGBTQ12S issues and advocacy, UFCW OUTreach.