“I am proud to declare Egale Canada’s support of the National Day Against Homophobia,” said Egale President Gemma Hickey. “Egale will ask city and town councils across Canada to formally proclaim June 1st as the National Day Against Homophobia. We encourage others to do the same! Acknowledging homophobia and transphobia is an important first step to addressing the exclusion, marginalization and hate that we face as a result of these prejudices.”
“Despite the legal gains made by our communities in the past several years, prejudice against our communities is alive and well in Canada,” added Gilles Marchildon, Egale’s Executive Director. “Homophobic behaviour is any expression of a negative attitude towards lesbian, gay, or bisexual people. Transphobic behaviour is directed at transgender and transsexual people. These behaviours have a significant and detrimental impact on us, on Canadian society as a whole, and particularly on young people.”
“It’s time for Canadians to come to grips with the root causes of the rampant bullying and harassment faced by LGBT youth in the education system,” continued Mr. Marchildon. “As recently noted by the B.C. Court of Appeal, school boards have a duty to be proactive in preventing homophobic behaviour. Even more important is that parents and teachers take individual responsibility and speak out against homophobic and transphobic behaviour when and where they see it – in the classroom, the playground, or at home.
“Unfortunately, violence is often the end result of homophobic and transphobic attitudes,” said Stephen Lock, an Egale Director based in Calgary. “Research shows that LGBT people are a significant target for hate crimes across Canada. That’s why Egale, Fondation Émergence, the Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition and a range of other community organizations from across Canada came together in March 2005 to form the Canadian Anti-Violence Project (CAVP). The CAVP is a pan-Canadian coalition of organizations that will coordinate action to end homophobic and transphobic violence.”
Egale Canada advances equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBT) people, and their families, across Canada. Founded in 1986, Egale has over 4,000 members including people in each and every province and territory of Canada. Its work includes political action, legal interventions and public education and awareness.
For more information:
Gemma Hickey, President
Gilles Marchildon, Executive Director
Stephen Lock, Board Member