Day 1: a fantabulous start


The head table at the CUPE Caucus (from left to right: Kathy Macdonald, Kevin Hicks, Claude Genereaux holding our beloved ugly doll, and Michael Butler). The focus of this caucus, as well as an opportunity to get to meet our other CUPE delegates, was to discuss the Action Plan that will be included in the Montreal Declaration. The Action Plan is a broad statement on LGBT workers rights around the world. Prior to this caucus, the National Pink Triangle Committee had discussed the Action Plan in depth and formulated three possible additions for the conference participants’ consideration. These included asserting sex work is work, promoting human rights legislation and broadening language from same-sex partners to also include family members of LGBT workers. These additions were then discussed at the first Workers Out plenary. First time conference participant, Tara, confidently spoke on the inclusion of sex work in front of the crowd. Faced with the current global situations of conflict and war, the delegates passionately insisted that the Action Plan also include statements of working towards peace on this fragile planet. True signs of solidarity for all people were continually expressed at this Human Rights Conference.

svend-day2 Tara, looking absolutely stunned to see one of my favourite politicians, Svend Robinson at the Workers Out plenary. We were reminded at the opening dinner that we are participating in the largest LGBT Human Rights conference ever! The Mayor of Montreal, The Quebec Minister of Justice, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, among others, spoke eloquently and passionately about LGBT human rights. The 1,500 people present were humbled by the scope of the work that we’ve been charged to address in our daily lives. Tears were readily shed as we heard of horrific conditions of some of the GLBT people in other countries:

  • in over 80 countries homosexual acts are still illegal
  • 7 countries still kill people simple for their sexual identity
  • many countries forbid sex reassignment surgery for transexuals and/or force intersex people to have surgeries that they do not want.

Tears of joy were shed when hearing of human rights victories. Equity, Equality, Justice, Peace, Love, Fraternity, Dignity, these words and emotions filled us through the day and the evening.

We tumbled into bed, exhausted, after 11 pm. A marathon day, inspiring us to go forward.

tweks-day2 Peter can cross off taking his picture with Mark Tewksberry, gold medal Olympic swimmer and co-president of the Out Games. He’s still working on the dinner plans with Liza and has about 327 temporary tattoos left to flog. So far we have met queer activists from: Indonesia, Barbados, Canada, the Netherlands, Turkey, Sweden, Macedonia, Denmark, United States, Australia, Belgium, and New Zealand. So far, there are over 108 countries represented. We are so excited to meet more people today as the second day gets into high gear and workshops begin.

Posted by tara