“Far from being pro-worker, these anti-trans groups are aggressively hostile toward unions and labour rights”
In response to the upsurge in transphobic attacks across the country, the Communist Party of Canada is calling for a broad, coordinated mobilization by progressive movements to defend trans rights.
Right-wing groups have been mobilizing against SOGI 123 (sexual orientation and gender identity) policies and other initiatives which promote diversity and to extend solidarity for 2SLGBTIQ+ communities.
The attacks – which include protests against “Drag Storytime” events at public libraries, vicious online harassment against 2SLGBTIQ+ activists and allies, and boycotts of products which feature trans or non-binary people – took a more overtly threatening turn with the “Million Families” marches on September 20. While far fewer than one million people participated, over a hundred similar events are planned for October 21.
“Cloaked in slogans about ‘free speech,’ ‘protecting the rights of families’ and ‘saving the children,’ these actions are part of a highly organized hate campaign involving white supremacists, Christian nationalists, racists, fascists and anti-choice groups, as well as operatives from far-right political forces including Conservatives, the so-called ‘People’s Party’ and others,” warns the Communist Party. “These movements are linked by shared opposition to gender equality, reproductive rights, trade unions, electoral democracy, and secular institutions such as public schools and healthcare.”
The labour movement has responded to this campaign by building solidarity and mobilizing counter-protests. Unions and other progressive and anti-fascist movements brought thousands of people into the streets to oppose the anti-trans marches on September 20. An even bigger callout can shut down the right-wing events planned for October 21.
Anti-SOGI groups and other right-wing forces have used a number of “wedge” issues recently, as a dog whistle to rally reactionary forces and also to divide the working class. These issues include carbon taxes, COVID vaccines, drag performances and others, and they are often couched in a “little guy against the establishment” narrative.
“Despite their rhetoric about ‘the elites,’ these campaigns are backed by some of the most reactionary sections of big capital including the fossil fuel industry and billionaires who want to privatize public education and healthcare,” said Communist Party leader Elizabeth Rowley. “Far from being pro-worker, these anti-trans groups are aggressively hostile toward unions and labour rights, and many of the key organizers of their recent actions also hold deeply racist and Islamophobic views.”
These groups are currently demanding the elimination of SOGI 123 policies and are calling on schools to “out” trans, queer and non-binary students, putting those students at serious risk of harassment, assault, homelessness and even death. They also want public libraries and school curricula to remove any reference to human sexuality.
To push their hateful views, they are using a range of tactics including invading school board meetings and sending death threats to journalists, elected representatives or unions which defend 2SLGBTIQ+ rights.
In calling for broader mobilizations, the Communist Party notes that “the immediate struggle is to defend public, secular, culturally diverse, non-profit, union-organized schools which protect the human rights of trans and non-binary students. In the longer term, we must block the dangerous political forces behind the anti-SOGI marches.
“The good news is that millions of people across Canada are deeply alarmed by the racist and fascist forces, and by their attacks on public education and universal health care. This progressive sentiment needs to be mobilized in huge numbers on October 21 and beyond, to give a decisive rebuff to the attempt to drive politics in a far-right direction.”
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