Tuesday, November 20th, we mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance by celebrating victories in the advancement of trans rights and by recognizing how vigilant we must remain in the face of increasingly vocal hate and intolerance.
This year, for the first time in Ontario’s history, CUPE Ontario’s own Susan Gapka, a long-time social activist in Toronto, became the first trans person ever to be presented with the key to the city. Her work on the advancement of trans rights and as a prominent housing advocate have made a significant difference in the lives of so many.
History was also made this fall, when a young, openly transgendered woman was elected as a school board trustee in Ottawa. With the election of Lyra Evans, the lived experience of a trans woman will now help shape the debate on school policy at a leadership level. As CUPE Ontario members, we can take pride in knowing that CUPE activists played an active role in getting Lyra elected.
While the recognition of Susan’s work is so important and the election of Lyra is a great victory, there is still so much more to do to ensure transgender people are safe and free from harassment, violence and hate.