As the annual summer of Pride events begins, there is good news… and very frightening news. On the positive side, public support remains solidly in favour of full equality rights for the entire 2S/LGBTiQ+ community (Two-Spirit / Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender / Intersex / Queer). But a small minority of far-right groups have escalated their “culture war”, focused on transgender people in particular. Physical assaults, violent threats and book bannings are on the rise. Their broader goal is to roll back generations of hard-won gains towards social and economic justice, reproductive rights, gender equality and diversity.
The Communist Party of Canada extends our full solidarity to all those who are under attack at this crucial moment. Make no mistake: while the most vicious hatred today is directed against trans people, other targets include racialized and Indigenous people, women, immigrants, as well as trade unionists, environmentalists, anti-racists and anti-fascists, socialists, Communists and other left-wing activists. The so-called freedom convoy and anti-vax movements provided a “big tent” for white supremacists, homophobes and transphobes, fascists, nazis, anti-semites, misogynists, who all use scapegoating tactics as a key element of the drive to take political power and impose their dangerous agenda. Increasingly, these forces openly back the anti-working class parties which aim to win a majority in the next Parliament, especially the Conservatives and the so-called “People’s Party.”
The real impetus behind this danger is the deepening instability of the capitalist system. Working people today face runaway inflation and unaffordable housing prices. Many are turning to political and economic action, organizing into unions and going on strike to demand wage increases. But the big corporations are determined to maintain their record high profits. It’s no surprise that far-right groups which demonize and divide working people also receive huge donations. These are the forces behind the skyrocketing number of hate crimes against the queer community, just as anti-Asian and anti-Black racism jumped during the early part of the Covid pandemic.
Unity is crucial to counter the far-right strategy, and to build powerful broad-based campaigns to demand progressive social and economic reforms. To succeed, such campaigns must involve the labour movement which represents millions of organized workers, as well as Indigenous and racialized peoples, environmentalists, women, 2S/LGBTiQ+ people and other exploited and oppressed groups.
We always need to remember: scapegoating is a weapon for the capitalist class, which exploits workers of all backgrounds and gender identities. At least 40% of 2S/LGBTiQ+ people over 15 years of age make only $20,000 a year. 2S/LGBTiQ+ people are about 10% of the population, but are an estimated 20–40% of unhoused people, and experience higher rates of mental, physical, and sexual abuse. For all these reasons, Pride has always been more than a festival and parades. Pride has always been political, born in protest and struggle for liberation. United we stand, divided we fall, an injury to one is an injury to all!
The Communist Party of Canada demands immediate steps to end homophobia and transphobia, and a comprehensive PEOPLE’S RECOVERY.
- Full legal and political protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, gender expression, and the bodily integrity of intersex people.
- Employment equity legislation for Indigenous people, women, disabled people, racialized, and 2S/LGBTIQ people.
- Housing and shelters for homeless 2S/LGBTIQ youth, along with increased social assistance and action for full employment.
- Safe haven for refugees fleeing state-sponsored homo-, trans-, and biphobia.
- Strengthen enforcement and penalties for hate crimes, and a ban on hate groups.
- 2S/LGBTIQ-straight alliances in public schools and inclusive 2S/LGBTIQ-positive sex-ed curricula.
- Increase funding for anti-oppression and equity-seeking programs.
- Enforcement of trans rights.
- A federal ban on all forms of “conversion therapy”.
- Regulate social housing and care facilities to end elder abuse and the “re-closeting” of retired 2S/LGBTIQ workers.
- Remove the blood donation ban against gay men and trans women.
- Stop evictions, foreclosures and utility cut-offs due to unemployment, strike or lockout. Roll back prices on food, fuel and rent! Raise wages!
- Build a comprehensive social housing program that treats housing as a public utility and delivers it according to need.
- Convert Canada’s $26 billion-plus military budget to civilian purposes, and for protection of workers’ jobs, wages and incomes, the sick, the elderly, and the poor.
- Stop the privatization of health care. Fund and expand Medicare to include pharmacare, dental and eye care, and home care.
- Immediate action to recognize Indigenous sovereignty, and to implement the calls from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Murdered and Missing Women and Girls Inquiry.
- End public funding of religious and private schools. Create a single, secular public education system.