Showing solidarity this year is especially important in the wake of intolerance shown by the Harper government in Ottawa, says NUPGE president James Clancy.
Ottawa (4 June 2009) - June is Pride Month and the The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is again pleased to celebrate the occasion in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTTQ) people everywhere.
Pride Week is celebrated in many areas during June or at other dates during the summer months. The occasion is being marked across Canada and beyond with parades, dances, festivals and other events sponsored by local charities and volunteer organizations.
The theme this year – for members of the Rainbow Alliance – is You Belong. The alliance is part of NUPGE's largest national Component, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).
One of the largest pride festivals, nationally and internationally, is held in Toronto.
NUPGE president James Clancy says the National Union recognizes Pride Month for the freedom and equality it symbolizes in Canada and beyond.
It is especially important this year for Canadians to show solidarity during Pride Month because of the intolerance and phobia shown by the Harper government in cancelling funding for the pride festival in Toronto, Clancy notes.
The festival is one of Toronto's biggest tourist attractions. A $400,000 grant for the festival has been withdrawn by the federal Conservatives.
"We have always encouraged our members from coast to coast to recognize the value of diversity and to promote solidarity in support of human rights for all."
NUPGE embraces a philosophy of full human rights for all and believes that to be meaningful these rights must include:
- the right to organize and bargain collectively.
- a national network of community-based services that allow citizens to fully participate in society.
- an end to poverty and homelessness.
- elimination of discrimination in respect of employment.
The Rainbow Alliance says its theme for 2010 is aimed especially at young people within the LGBTTQ community.
"We march for the transgendered kid who sits alone in his room too afraid to go to school for fear of violence and rejection," the alliance says. "We send a message that an inclusive world should accept everyone regardless of their sexuality and should have no tolerance for hate crimes. We challenge the stereotypes and discrimination faced by all."
The origins of Pride Month
The origins of Pride Month can be traced back to a June weekend in New York City in 1969.
On the night of June 27 that year, a crowd gathered as usual at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village.
New York Beverage Control Board agents and city police officers raided the bar to enforce an alcohol control law that was seldom enforced anywhere else in the city. Raids on gay establishments, however, were common at the time.
Lesbians and gay men spontaneously fought back for the first time against police harassment. The crowd inside and outside the bar erupted in resistance as officers singled out patrons to load into waiting paddy wagons. More police reinforcements were called in as local gays and lesbians united in enraged confrontation. Word of the clash spread and crowds gathered on ensuing nights to protest the mistreatment historically inflicted on the gay community.
These protests came to be known as the Stonewall Rebellion, and the uprising was the catalyst for the modern political movement for gay and lesbian liberation. NUPGE
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE