ITUC statement: International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

On 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, workers demand equal, inclusive and safe workplaces for all, free from any form of discrimination.

In many countries around the world same sex relationships are illegal and in five countries they are punished with the death penalty.

As the authoritarian extreme right continue to gain traction in many countries; racism, xenophobia and discrimination targeting LGBTQI+ people, women, migrants and racialised people is on the rise.

Despite progress and many achievements, homophobia and transphobia persist in the world of work and in society. LGBTQI+ workers frequently experience violence, bullying and harassment, discrimination and exclusion because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Across the world, workers’ unions have a long history of solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community, driving an agenda through bargaining to ensure that LGBTQI+ workers are protected in the world of work.

Trade unions stand firm to build respect and dignity and fight for the full protection of LGBTQI+ workers by:

  • Collective bargaining and social dialogue, for example the CLC Canada Workers in Transition.
  • Advocacy, education and awareness-raising campaigns, for example the CUT Brasil de Todas as Cores program and Pride Programme.
  • Training, for example the TUC UK LGBTQI+ Leadership School.

Trade Unions are working in to ensure LGBTQI+ workers have the same rights as all workers throughout the whole employment cycle by:

  • Preventing discrimination in recruitment.
  • Ensuring there are complaint mechanisms in place in case of discrimination, violence and harassment.
  • The inclusion of specific clauses in collective bargaining agreements.
  • Guaranteeing occupational safety and health measures at the workplace.

Unions around the world know very well that if we do not stand up for our members in vulnerable groups, we will easily be divided and all working people will lose out.

The ITUC will continue working to ensure all workplaces are free from discrimination and harassment. We call for the ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on violence and harassment in the world of work (C190), which is vital to protect the rights of LGBTQI+ workers – and all workers.

For more information on the work of Trade Unions to protect and promote the rights of LGBTQI+ workers, see this Equal Times article here.