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International Day of Pink – April 10th

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

April 10, 2019 marks the International Day of Pink.  This day is representative of communities across the world that remain united in celebrating diversity while raising greater awareness in stopping homophobic, transphobic and all forms of bullying.  Day of Pink is an annual event celebrated on every second Wednesday in April.

OPSEU President Warren ‘Smokey’ Thomas says we need to come together to ensure that supports are in place for people who are susceptible to many forms of bullying and harassment.

“Funding public services that not only intervene when there is bullying but also prevent it from happening is a step in the right direction” said Thomas.  “However the biggest bully of them all, Doug Ford, doesn’t think twice about cutting social programs.  He and his government are more interested in ripping apart our health and education systems without properly consulting those who will be most affected.”

Society has come so far in achieving rights and acceptance for people within gender and sexually diverse populations but there are still forces that aim to threaten this progress.  The sexual health curriculum in Ontario has been used as a political chess piece to remove rights and recognition away from trans and gender diverse people.  Bullies come in many forms, and communities must continue to show solidarity.

Statistics continue to show that children in the TBLGIAPQQ2S (trans, bisexual, lesbian, gay, intersex, asexual, pansexual, queer, questioning, two spirited) community continue to have higher rates of depression, mental health struggles, poverty and suicide.  As a result, it is incredibly important to tackle bullying.  “As a society, we must proactively work to develop solutions that pave the way towards better health and well-being especially for our youth,” said Tina Ouellette, Co-Chair of OPSEU’s Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel.

The Day of Pink started in 2007 at a Nova Scotia high school. On that fateful day, a young student was being bullied, among other things, for wearing a pink-shirt. Two weeks later, and in a sign of solidarity, four students decided to buy over 200 for distribution at the school, one of which was also given to the bully. This event inspired a nation because soon after, anti-bullying days were proclaimed by a variety of governments.

In Nova Scotia in 2007, Premier Rodney MacDonald proclaimed the second Thursday at the start of each school year as Stand Up Against Bullying Day. In 2008, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell declared it as the last Wednesday in February. Later that same year, the original students from Nova Scotia went on to help start the DayOfPink.org website. They worked tirelessly to promote the Day of Pink national campaign, which included endorsements, support and educational based programming.

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