At our CUPE BC Convention 2022, delegates passed a resolution encouraging locals and district councils to transition from using the term “Brothers/Sisters” to more gender-inclusive terms including, but not limited to, “fellow-workers, siblings, kin, members, unionists, folk, friends or cousins.”
The labour movement’s practice of calling one another “sister” or “brother” clashes with a growing consciousness about the perils of classifying people into a strict gender binary.
Members who do not align with the gender binary often feel invisible and misgendered by this practice. It is important that all our members feel seen in our union and labour movement.
Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender diverse members who are fighting for visibility, rights, and belonging should no longer be erased and marginalized when a union meeting chairperson does not acknowledge them at a microphone, or worse, misgenders them.
Gender inclusive language is a way of communicating that strives to treat people of all genders and gender diverse people with respect and dignity — and with the goal of creating the most inclusive union possible. It is language that honours the fact that we all have unique lived experiences of gender. It consists of communicating with words or phrases without prejudice and discrimination. Additionally, gender inclusive language looks to challenge gender stereotypes and the frequent assumptions that we make about people’s identities, often based solely on appearance. By using gender inclusive language, we are not only showing that we value inclusion, but we are also promoting gender equity for all.
We hope you will be able to embrace this transition and commit to building a more inclusive union. Together, we can move towards a future where no one is left behind.
Your CUPE BC Pink Triangle Committee
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