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National Day Against Homophobia

National Day against Homophobia will be celebrated in 2013 on Friday May 17th and this year’s campaign theme is Fight the Homophobia Web Virus. According to the campaign website:

Homophobia is becoming increasingly present on the Web and in social media. The anonymity of the Internet facilitates the spread of abusive comments and cyberhomophobia.

Cyberhomophobia is the manifestation of homophobia on the Internet and in social media. It is the circulation of negative attitudes towards homosexuality and gender identity. It often presents sexual minorities as inferior or abnormal and can be expressed in the form of jokes, teasing, hateful or hostile remarks, denigration and stereotypes toward homosexual or transsexual persons.

May 17th is symbolic due to its significance in improving the status of gays and lesbians. It is the anniversary of the date on which the World Health Organization (WHO) put an end to over a century of homophobia in the medical field, by removing homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. The Declaration of Montréal (July 29, 2006), borne out of the International Conference on LGBT Rights that preceded the first World Outgames, recommended the worldwide recognition of an International Day Against Homophobia on May 17th of each year.

This special day, which is dedicated to fighting against homophobia in our communities, was initiated by Fondation Emergence and its partners to combat the prejudices and negative attitudes that some Canadians still have towards homosexuals. The Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition, the Department of Justice (Canada), and Heritage Canada are among the many sponsors of National Day against Homophobia.

Local 79 recognizes that discrimination, in any form, focuses on characteristics that make us different. This reduces our capacity to work together to achieve decent wages, safe working conditions and justice in the workplace.

While we cannot fix the problem of homophobia in our country overnight, Local 79 realizes that taking a day to acknowledge and raise awareness about the discrimination faced by gay, lesbian, transgender and transsexual Canadians, will in time have significant impact on attitudes and treatments towards all peoples.

Local 79 is a proud sponsor of the Public Servants Reception in recognition of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Local 79 President Tim Maguire will join more than 200 members of the public sector from all levels of government on May 16th at this event at The 519.

Local 79 is also proud to be included with the many labour groups and community organizations across the country that recognize and support this important day. Since May 2006, when the Mayor responded to a request from Local 79 to proclaim May 17th as National Day against Homophobia in Toronto, this important date has been included every year in the Mayor’s proclamations. The current Mayor has proclaimed May 17th 2013, as “Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Toronto”.

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