With the passage of legislation creating civil unions in Hawaii and the signing of a law making employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression illegal in the State, LGBT workers have achieved important steps toward equality recently. However, LGBT working people continue to suffer the effects of homophobia and transphobia across the United States.
In a 2010 national survey, transgender workers reported unemployment levels at twice the rate of the general population, while 90 percent of those who are working reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job. A 2009 survey found the national poverty rate for lesbians and bisexual women to be 24 percent (compared to 19 percent for heterosexual women and 13 to 15 percent for men), while the poverty rate for families led by lesbian couples was 9.4 percent (compared to 6.7 percent for families with opposite-sex couples).
75 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT people reported facing harassment or discrimination based on their sexual orientation in a nationwide 2007 survey.
Recent attacks on the most basic rights of workers to collectively bargain put at risk many gains LGBT workers have made through their union contracts, including domestic partnership health coverage and family leave, mandated anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, and transgender health care.
It is the mission of Pride At Work Hawaii ([email protected]) to mobilize support between the labor movement and the LGBT communities. To enable that mission on Kauai, [email protected] will be presenting a three-hour interactive LGBT labor leadership workshop.
In August, [email protected] is inviting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersex, Transgender, Mahu and Queer labor activists and Straight allies on Kauai to learn how to organize for their rights on the job and in their union.
Through the support of a grant from the Ah Quon McElrath Fund for Economic and Social Justice, [email protected] will be training participants in developing organizational and leadership skills to effectively raise and address LGBT issues in the workplace and labor unions.
The workshop will be held in Lihue on Saturday, August 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and costs $15 (scholarships are available).
Topics to be covered include:
* The union difference for LGBT workers.
* Tools for confronting homophobia and transphobia in unions and workplaces.
* Talking with union leaders and messaging with other workers about LGBT issues.
* Key national and local issues affecting LGBT workers.
For more information, or applications for the workshop, visit www.hawaflcio.org/PAWHI. The application deadline is August 15.
LGBT Labor Leadership Training Workshop
Saturday, August 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
$15 (scholarships are available)
Contact [email protected] or (808) 543-6054 for more details