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American Labor Movement Calls for Full Inclusion of LGBT Workers

AFL-CIO Convention Passes Historic Resolution on Diversity

 

 

PITTSBURGH, PA -- If there were any doubts that the American labor movement stands strongly in favor of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) rights, they were set to rest the minute former United Mine Workers president Richard L. Trumka took the podium last Wednesday as the newly elected President of the AFL-CIO. Speaking at the labor federation's quadrennial national convention, the feisty third-generation coal miner issued a clear call for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voices in the labor movement and American life.

"What does labor want?" Trumka asked the 3,000 elected delegates and guests gathered in Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center. "We want a nation where it doesn't matter what the color of your skin is...or what sex or religion you are...or whether you're gay or straight or what country your family's from because here, in America, we believe everyone ought to have their chance to step into the winner's circle."

 

Trumka's election, along with the selection of 39 year old Liz Shuler as the AFL-CIO's new Secretary-Treasurer and the return of Arlene Holt Baker as the labor federation's Executive Vice President, capped a week that LGBT activists called historic. Delegates to the convention, elected to represent 11.5 million members across the country, repeatedly included issues of concern to the LGBT community during debates and speeches, including marriage equality and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ( ENDA ) . President Barack Obama, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Caroline Kennedy were among the guest speakers at the convention, which marked a high point in the labor movement's commitment to LGBT equality.

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Unemployed straight guys attend transgender job fair

"Oh...now we're friends, eh?"

Maybe that's what the staff at a Transgender Job Fair were thinking when several seemingly cis-gendered people showed up looking for interviews.  Is this an indictment of hard times or open minds?  Perhaps, it merely indicates how arbitrary and flimsy the value judgments of other people's sex, gender, body - really are. 

By Ashley Harrell

(via SF Weekly)

When the man who had always been a man walked in, well, that was a little strange. After all, this was registration for the fifth annual Transgender Job Fair at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center last week. The point was to help connect transgender folks — who have a difficult time finding work, even in a thriving economy — with savvy, sensitive employers.

And although there were no hard and fast rules about attendees being gender-bending, it seemed pretty ballsy for a man who had always been a man and who identified as one to show up at the fair. He was in jeans and a buzz cut, and exuded regular-guyness. "What do I have to do?" he asked volunteer Sherilyn Connelly.

Connelly was also there to find work, as she was recently laid off from her job as a Web producer at Cubik Media. She made her male-to-female transition in 1999, and is fabulously distinctive with her darkly lined eyes and orange-, purple-, and platinum-dreadlocked hairdo, which she has affectionately dubbed "the Squid."

"Just have a seat at the computer and we'll get you registered," she told him.

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