International Day of Pink 2022: Stand up to homophobic bullying

Illustration of a group of women arranged in the shape of a heart.

April 13 is the International Day of Pink, a day to show solidarity with the TLGBTIAPQQ2S+ community in the stand against homophobic and transphobic bullying and ask for more from our workplaces and educators.

Day of Pink takes place on the second Wednesday of April.  Its purpose is to create a diverse and inclusive world by challenging harmful social norms.

The tradition was started in Nova Scotia when two high school students intervened after witnessing a gay student in their school being bullied for wearing pink. Wanting to do more, they purchased pink shirts and distributed them throughout the school to show solidarity with the TLGBTIAPQQ2S+ (Trans, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited) community.

OPSEU/SEFPO’s Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel (RAA) honours this day as an opportunity to stand up for young people and to be the voice for those who cannot defend themselves.  The RAA, now celebrating provincial committee status following OPSEU/SEFPO’s 2022 Convention, can now be a stronger voice for driving change within the union and across the province.

It’s great to see many school boards around Ontario recognizing this important day.  It’s vital to make it clear that these negative attitudes and actions will not be tolerated.  It’s a step in the right direction for future generations to not oppress but instead celebrate the TLGBTIAPQQ2S+ community.

Day of Pink is especially significant today because bullying doesn’t end when we return home from school or work.

The world witnessed an increase in children, teens and adults using digital platforms for personal use and for educational purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the increased usage of smart phones and social media, people who are prone to bullying are likely to cyberbully.

That’s why it’s important to educate youth and older generations about using social media in a healthy way because social media posts and photos can have profound impacts on the receiving end.

Remember: it’s more than a pink shirt. It’s a symbol of acceptance and allows for a safe space.

Get involved!  You can show solidarity by wearing a pink shirt during a virtual meeting, starting a conversation about this issue, or sharing this message with a friend.  Let us all continue to fight for equality and acceptance.

Use the hashtags #DayofPink and #LoveOverHate on social media to show support!

In Solidarity,

JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Laurie Nancekivell, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer
Morgen Veres, OPSEU/SEFPO Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel Co-Chair