International Day Against Homophobia, 2013

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, an annual event to raise awareness of GLBT rights violations and stimulate interest in GLBT rights work. This year, let’s ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent homophobia in our workplaces, in our communities, in our schools and in our homes.

Many people assume that life is easier for GLBT people today and that the work to secure equality is all but over. In reality, though, it’s just begun. We only need to look at the ongoing marriage debate in the United States to know that, even today, in 2013, there is strong opposition to allowing GLBT people the same rights as everyone else.

Recently, there has been a surge in the instances of homophobia in Manitoba. A gay couple in Morris was forced to shut down their restaurant after only four months in business due to unrelenting verbal attacks from select members of the community. Around the same time, a gay man in Winnipeg was the victim of vandalism, in which homophobic slurs were spray painted on the front of his house.

There is, however, change on the horizon. The Manitoba provincial government has put forward Bill 18, The Public Schools Amendment Act (Safe and Inclusive Schools), which amends The Public Schools Act in the areas of bullying and respect for human diversity. The proposed legislation aims to address bullying in schools in an attempt to prevent more suicides by children and teens that have been bullied.

The 2013 theme is “Fight the Homophobia Web Virus”, recognizing the growing number of case of homophobia online and on social media. The campaign reminds us that the anonymity of the Internet facilitates the spread of abusive comments and cyber homophobia that could have serious consequences. Visit the International Day Against Homophobia official website to find out more.

In Solidarity,

Marianne Hladun
Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Prairies

Timothy Hunt
GLBT Representative
PSAC Prairie Region Council