The Courier

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It has been 20 years since May 17th was named the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. This day was chosen to honour May 17, 1990, the date the World Health Organization made the landmark decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. It is a day to recognize hard-earned progress, while also addressing the pursuit of equality, both in Canada, and within our Defence Team.

Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and additional sexually and gender diverse communities continue to face adversity and challenges in our pursuit of rights and inclusion. A disproportionate percentage of these communities continue to report experiencing discrimination and harassment.

According to the 2020/2021 Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan Survey, 26% of 2SLGBTQI+ respondents reported workplace harassment associated with their sexual orientation, and 22% reported experiencing harassment due to their gender identity, over the previous five years of their employment. Furthermore, 28% of the above respondents reported that they experienced workplace harassment in the form of sexual harassment. The 2SLGBTQI+ communities represent a significant portion of Canadian society, so these effects likely impact those in your personal circles, whether or not they choose to share their experiences.

In the face of these statistics, we must honour and acknowledge the resilience and strength members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities bring to the workplace as we continue on our path to equality.

Diversity, respect, and inclusion are fundamental ethical principles of the Defence Team. As Defence Team members, we must remember these crucial ethical principles and challenge our unconscious biases. By actively listening to those with lived experience, enhancing our collective understanding, and participating in your local Defence Team Pride Advisory Organization (DTPAO) (accessible only on the National Defence network) or Positive Space (accessible only on the National Defence network) programming, we will attain the Defence Team for all.

As the newly appointed 2SLGBTQI+ Champions, we will advocate for 2SLGBTQI+ voices within the Defence Team and further the important conversations that support the critical mission of ensuring inclusivity is at the core of our business. Together, we will foster workplaces where we can all feel comfortable being our authentic selves.

Associated links

Brigadier-General James Hawthorne and Lara Rooke
2SLGBTQI+ Defence Team Champions

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