Combating right-wing threats key theme at Pride@Work convention

Minneapolis (PAI)—Combating threats to their freedoms to marry who they want, to accept jobs without fear of being fired for being gay, or of being the target of “social issue” campaigns around such schemes as “Don’t say gay” laws were one of several key issues at the AFL-CIO’s Pride@Work convention in downtown Minneapolis last month.

Delegates represented the AFL-CIO’s constituency group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer+ workers.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond and News Guild President Jon Schleuss received Solidarity Awards for their championship of LGBTQ+ workers. Both spoke, too.

Pride@Work delegates tackled two big problems in the runup to this fall’s election:
• How to combat the radical right.
• Gathering allies for such defenseof their rights and workers’ rights.

Those threats hit home for the LGBTQ+ community when the Republican-named right-wing U.S. Supreme Court majority deliberately destroyed the constitutional right to abortion in the recent case pitting Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic against the Magnolia State’s restrictive abortion statute. The clinic lost. It has since closed permanently.

Not only did the justices, 5-4, toss out the 49-year-old Roe v Wade ruling which said abortion was constitutional, but the senior justice in that majority, Clarence Thomas, called for a review of the constitutionality of same-sex marriage and even of contraception. In so many words, P@W Executive Director Davis asked: “Who’s next?”

That, plus actions in the states, notably Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, gleefully pushed through the Republican-gerrymandered legislature by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Donald Trump clone and potential 2024 presidential hopeful, rang alarm bells for Pride@Work.

“We chose our theme this year, Out for Democracy, to highlight how much democratic values underpin both the LGBTQ+ equality movement and the Labor Movement alike. Like the Labor Movement, Pride@ Work believes in every person’s right to a voice in their workplace and their government. But those core democratic values are under attack from all sides,” the group’s convention call said.

“Despite our gains, LGBTQ+ people still face extraordinary challenges, and the attacks aren’t stopping.

“Just this year, we’ve seen more than a dozen Republican-led states, like Florida, propose – and at least in Florida’s case, pass–discriminatory ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation. These laws ban even mentioning a historical figure is LGBTQ+, let alone discussion of any other age-appropriate material that touches on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“There have also been a rash of laws, like in Texas, that seek to punish families for providing appropriate, gender-affirming care to their children. These unconscionable attacks on kids – in some cases imposing mandatory reporting requirements on union educators and others – are heinous and must be stopped.

“Pride at Work is engaging the entire Labor Movement to fight these horrendous attacks on our community.”


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