Message from the Champion for LGBTQ2+ Communities on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
May 16, 2022 - Defence Stories
On May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. Subsequently, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia was established on May 17, 2004. This day is to remind society and decision makers that the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit people – and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sexual characteristics – continue to exist, and we should never stop working to eradicate this behaviour.
As Defence Team Champion for the LGBTQ2+ communities, I am pleased to highlight this important day and to reflect on the progress made since 1990. The world has changed and evolved a great deal over the past 30 years, as has the Defence Team, but we still have a long way to go, and we must continue to evolve our community support, diversity, and inclusion strategies to reflect today's challenges.
Within our Defence Team, we must continue to work together to build a more inclusive workplace where everyone feels that they belong and are able to contribute to the workplace to the best of their abilities as their authentic selves. We are working hard to eliminate discriminatory policies and practices but we know that changing the actual behaviours of intolerance and discrimination is challenging and takes time. Despite our best efforts, some community members continue to face discrimination and in some cases, even hostility. Every negative act towards LGBTQ2+ community members – whether microagressions, exclusion, harassment, verbal threats, or physical violence – harms our people, erodes our work environment, and is contrary to our ethics. We must correct these inequalities, break down barriers and respect and include everyone.
On this day, I ask you to renew your commitment to a workplace free of discrimination, harassment and violence, and to demonstrating respect for the dignity of all persons. Let’s use tools such as Gender Based Analysis Plus to help us improve regulations, orders, programs, or projects so that we can achieve better outcomes for all. Learn about and become involved with the Defence Team Pride Advisory Organisation (DTPAO) (accessible only on the National Defence network), watch the webinar “How to Become an Ally of the LGBTQ2+ Communities,” (newly posted on the DTPAO web page) or connect with a Positive Space (accessible only on the National Defence network) ambassador to learn more about what you can do to foster a safe and inclusive workplace for all.
Each member of the LGBTQ2+ communities brings valued perspectives and contributions in their roles, which support our Defence mission. I encourage you to engage with our LGBTQ2+ members: have open conversations, ask questions, hear their concerns, and better understand their lived experiences. Humanity is what unites us all. Recognizing that is the path to achieving a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace for all Defence Team members.
RAdm Luc Cassivi CMM, CD
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