Report of the GLBT Representative to the Prairie Region Council submitted for the June 2014 meeting. This report covers the period from the last PRC meeting.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered (GLBT) Persons Representative
Welcome to the convention!
I have a theory about Human Rights, I want to know as much as I can! In my world, filled with rainbows (ok you can smile now), I wanted to include all equity seeking groups in all my decisions, teaching, mentoring and defending. I picked the GLBT Representative position on the Prairie Region Council because I wanted to make a difference. I just didn’t realize I was really good at it! Recently I became part of the PWD (persons with disabilities) equity seeking group with my knee injury and I’ve been amazed how everyone around me was so accommodating in pointing me in the right direction for help and guidance, which only added to my knowledge of PWD issues (thanks Dave!). So wherever you are on the equity seeking spectrum, always leave room to grow, learn and share your experiences wherever and whenever you can.
I have enjoyed working with the entire PRC these past three years. I believe I bring friendship, knowledge and vital life experience to the council, being their GLBT equity lense. I also bring a certain level of social awareness to conversations that need to be heard, addressed and sometime explained to be sure that our council in cognisant of equity’s evolution in today’s Union environment and of course all of our Canadian society.
In the past three years as the GLBT representative I have approached all the Human Rights Committees in the Prairies, attended meetings/conferences/workshops dealing with GLBT issues and tried to sponsor as much attention as I could to bring the PRIDE-GLBT concerns forward. In most cases I have succeeded to reach (email trees, our regional website, etc.) out to my Brothers and Sisters to provide guidance, support and information regarding our on-going union struggles. Many events across the Prairies are listed here in my report and many more were celebrated in other cities. Our media wizard Jeffrey Vallis is also on my list of thank you’s as he constantly amazes us all with his ability to make everything work on paper, posters, websites and more look amazing!!
I would like, at this time of convention gathering, to ask all our GLBT members to try, one day soon, to attend your local Human Rights Committee in your local Regional Office. You can learn more about other equity groups and hopefully bring your GLBT viewpoint to the group. This is the best way to get the “word” out to members and to bring attention to any local GLBT events/information/resources. This is the forum that you can launch your union career from, find out what interests you and put “your spin on it” … you’ll never know where it will take you and all the great people you will meet along the journey.
My work on the National Human Rights Committee was fruitful and frustrating at the same time during this triennial cycle. The seven representatives (the PSAC is split into seven regions, we are of course the Prairies) for GLBT, myself included, worked well together and came up with many workable ideas. We were able to set up clear agendas of what we wanted to accomplish and set up a framework for the workshops that in fact happened at the Human Rights Committee Conference which was held in Toronto in the fall of 2013. We also are working on GLBT information pamphlet (due out soon!) that would include many aspects of the GLBT struggles from the past to present to show our members a complete snapshot of the good work that our GLBT members/staff are working towards. The frustrating part of being part of this committee is that we have not met face to face since 2010, but we have been able to keep up during several conference calls. Not meeting face to face has been a barrier to completing the Human Rights work we set out to complete as a committee, hopefully this will be rectified during the fall 2014 meeting of the whole committee (Women’s, Aboriginal, Racially Visible, GLBT and Persons with Disabilities). I would also like to say thank you to the national PSAC staff who worked on our files as they are also wonderful to work with, some hurdles have been overcome and others are still in the works. Always moving forward – never back!
This was also a trying time in the Prairies with all of the worthwhile campaigns (We Are All Affected, Pensions, etc.) that were happening and mother nature did not help either! The flooding in Calgary during the summer of 2013 was unprecedented. Many of our union activities were put on hold and many PSAC members were faced with utter devastation as their homes became uninhabitable. With the help of the Social Justice Fund (PSAC) we were able to fund some of the Human Rights charities we have worked with in the past. We also were able to rally together members from many different locals on two separate events at the Drop-In Centre and the Mustard Seed to prepare and plate over 1,200 meals. These members came from Saskatoon, Lethbridge, Winnipeg and Edmonton and included our REVP (Marianne). I am proud of this because most PSAC members in other locals rarely interact with one another, but this was in the name of charitable work and our members are always ready to volunteer. For those who did volunteered, and you know who you are, an extended thank you from myself.
To all of my Brothers and Sisters in the Prairies, I say “thank you” and praise you all for coming forward in the name of our union. Please find below a select amount of achievements I enjoyed while being your representative on the Prairie Region Council.
In Pride & Solidarity – Prairie Wide!!