“This award is not just about me. It’s about teaching every person within OPSEU that as a member of the union you can make a difference. All you have to do is say you want to.”
Toronto (26 April 2009) - Wade Stevenson, a member of the Rainbow Alliance with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) was presented with OPSEU’s Human Rights Award at the union’s annual Convention last week. The Rainbow Alliance is an equity committee within OPSEU dedicated to providing representation and support to the union’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered and queer (LGBTTQ) members.
The Human Rights Award is given out each year to an individual exemplifying the pursuit of equity and human rights,
Stevenson is a gender variant person and recently came out as crossdresser in the workplace. By freely switching back and fourth between gender roles and expression on a daily basis, Stevenson is able to constantly challenge an environment where gender binary heteronormative practices are overwhelming present.
Heteronormative practice refers to the marginalization of non-heterosexual lifestyles and the view that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation. The existence of such practices in the work environment negatively impacts the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and transsexual people every day.
Stevenson also has been instrumental in helping OPSEU create a workshop and other educational opportunities in order to share expertise with other individuals and union activists in furthering human rights in the workplace.
The courage taken by Stevenson in ensuring basic human rights and educating others falls in line with the criteria for the OPSEU Human Rights Award.
In accepting the award, Stevenson stated that, “This award is not just about me. It’s about teaching every person within OPSEU that as a member of the union you can make a difference. All you have to do is say you want to.”
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