Pride 2015 Statement from the Communist Party of Canada and the Young Communist League
The annual Pride summer season is here, with hundreds of activities in major cities and small towns across the country. The Communist Party of Canada extends warm solidarity to the LGBTIQ community and allies, and urges voters to dump the anti-equality Harper Conservatives in the coming federal election.
Huge legal, political and cultural victories for basic LGBTIQ rights have been achieved since the first Pride parades, thanks to decades of efforts by the LGBTIQ community and our allies. Internationally, more countries are recognizing fundamental equality rights, as seen in the recent Irish marriage referendum.
This is only one element of a far wider civil rights campaign. The movement in Canada to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender expression/identity has made important progress since last year, especially around support for transgender rights. For example, growing numbers of School Boards are finally taking real action to make schools safer and more welcoming for trans* students. The expansion of queer- and trans-positive expressions in the popular media, pro sports, the labour movement and other areas of society continues to break down barriers.
But there are also signs of a pushback by highly-organized anti-equality forces. In many countries, lesbians, and trans* people still face threats, violence, imprisonment or even death. Homophobic and racist views are deliberately exported from North America and Europe, despite the stereotyped claim that equality rights are “gifts” from the “enlightened” capitalist west.
Progress is being made by countries such as Cuba, Brazil, and South Africa. Last year’s World Pride in Toronto welcomed Mariela Castro Espin, the director of Cuba’s National Centre for Sex Education, who has led the movement for gay, lesbian and trans* rights in her socialist country, showing what can be achieved with the support of progressive governments.
Here in Canada, the Conservative-dominated Senate has stalled Bill C-279, which aims to amend the Canadian Human Rights Code by adding “gender identity” to hate-crime legislation provisions. Despite the fact that almost all sexual assaults against women are committed by heterosexual males, the Conservative “bathroom” amendments to Bill C-279 are a deliberate attempt to spread the lie that trans* rights will make washrooms a dangerous space for women, and to foment hatred against trans* people.
On a larger scale, corporate-driven “austerity” cuts, and the attacks on unions, heavily impact women, Aboriginal peoples, and racialized groups, are undercutting equality gains. The most marginalized members of the LGBTIQ community, including trans*, two-spirited, racialized queers and young people, are those hardest-hit by the social program cutbacks.
Equality is not a “marginal” issue; trans* people are 10% of the LGBTIQ population, and face huge medical costs, higher unemployment, less access to housing, widespread intimidation at work, and lack of legal protections. Yet right-wing forces continue to scapegoat the LGBTIQ community along with racialised groups and other minorities.
Today, the economic crisis, the “ISIS threat”, and anti-communism are all invoked by the ruling class to justify their assault on workers’ rights and social equality. Among the most poisonous ideologies are homophobia and transphobia. Just like racism, sexism, and national chauvinism, these are intended to divide and undermine resistance to the corporate agenda of “trade deals,” raw materials extraction and exports, and militarism.
In the coming federal election, we urge voters to defeat the parties which back this agenda, especially Harper Conservatives – the favoured party of big business, and the political home for so-called “family values” bigots who want to roll back LGBTIQ equality and women’s access to reproductive rights.
Communist candidates will be on the ballot in many ridings, campaigning for genuine social equality, jobs, democracy, labour rights, peace, environmental sustainability. We pledge to repeal the police state Bill C-51, and to fulfill the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into the Indian residential schools.
We believe that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” Adopting full legal and political protections for sexual orientation and gender expression, and gender identity, and respect for the bodily diversity of intersex people, is urgently needed to strengthen working class unity.
This unity is a vital element of the broad democratic and social movement to put people’s needs before corporate greed, austerity and war. Our LGBTIQ community must be a key player in a efforts to build a “People’s Coalition” of labour,
Aboriginal peoples, youth and students, women, seniors, farmers, immigrant and racialized communities, environmentalists, peace activists and many other allies.
Mass resistance in our communities and workplaces, in the streets and at the ballot box, can defeat the parties of big business and open the door to a “people not profits” government. The goal of the Communist Party is to win genuine people’s power in a socialist Canada, where our economy and resources will be socially owned and democratically controlled.
This historic advance will make it possible to eradicate the intersecting forms of exploitation and oppression which threaten our world today. We urge you to join the Communist Party and the Young Communist League to achieve a liberated society in which, as Karl Marx said, “the freedom of each is the condition for the freedom of all.”
(NOTE: In this statement, the acronym LGBTIQ refers to “lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, two-spirited, queer, intersex and others.” The debate over this and other terms continues.)