Saskatchewan Labour vows to fight homophobia
November 6, 2005
Numerous Saskatchewan labour unions decided Thursday to actively confront the problem of homophobia and related violence in
schools and communities.  Delegates at the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) convention, held at the Centennial Auditorium in
Saskatoon this week, adopted a resolution that says homophobia "is discrimination that leads to violence, including murder."

Michael Hardes, co-chair of SFL's solidarity and pride committee, said "hate is hate, regardless of who it affects. There's no excuse."

The two-point resolution says the SFL will sponsor speakers and offer training through workshops and conferences for union members
on the effects of homophobia.  The SFL will also work with community groups to combat the problem.

Hardes said he thinks it's important to "ensure people feel comfortable where they are working, so you don't feel singled out.  "When you
go to work, everyone talks about their family; can you talk about your family?  You have to keep quiet because you don't have a traditional
family," he said.

Hardes said the solidarity and pride committee was formed because union members began seeing and hearing about violent hate
crimes in the community.  The committee represents people known as GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender).

"You don't want people to have to be in a hospital for a week and a half because they were beaten up, because they came out to
somebody at work and said, 'I think I might be gay,' " he said.

The SFL has several links on its website to other groups supporting GLBT, one of which highlights a book titled Pink Blood: Homophobic
Violence in Canada.  According to author Douglas Victor Janoff, during his nine years of research between 1995 and 2004, he found 120
homosexual-related homicides and more than 350 assaults had occurred in Canada.

Hardes said he's happy the resolution passed, and he didn't doubt delegates would carry it.

Source:  Star Phoenix

The Canadian Labour Congress is holding their third Solidarity and Pride Conference at the Hilton Québec Hotel in Québec City
November 13-15, 2005.  The theme of the Conference is “Beyond Legal Equality to Social Equality”.

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