IFJ Backs World Conference of Lesbian and Gay Trade Unionists

The International Federation of Journalists today called on journalists' unions around the world to support the 2nd world conference of lesbian and gay trades unionists, which is to be held in Sydney, Australia from October 31 - November 2.

Every day, all over the world, lesbians and gay men face discrimination, homophobia and violence in their workplace. Many are denied employment or promotion, and many do not receive the same workplace rights and entitlements as their heterosexual colleagues.

However, in recent years there has been a growing recognition that the industrial rights of gay men and lesbians should be an integral part of the work of all trade unions.

Workers Out! 2nd World Conference of Lesbian and Gay Trade Unionists will be held in conjunction with the Sydney 2002 Gay Games. It will bring together lesbian and gay workers, trade unionists, activists and key rights organisations from around the world to develop strategies over sexuality discrimination and homophobia in the workplace.

"I urge all unions to support this important conference by encouraging and supporting delegates to attend," said Chris Warren, President, International Federation of Journalists. "These are issues which need to be discussed not just within journalism and through media, but within our unions."

The conference will open on October 31 2002, and winds up on November 2 in time for the Sydney Gay Games Opening Ceremony. The venue is available on November 3 for regional or industry caucuses and other conference activities, including a day-long screening of gay and lesbian work-related documentaries and shorts. It is to be held at Sydney University, situated five minutes from the centre of the city.

Workers Out! will continue the work done at the 1998 Conference on Trade Unions, Homosexuality and Work, which was held prior to the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam. It was endorsed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress in June 2000, and has since been endorsed by several international affiliate bodies, including the IFJ.

Workers Out! aims to:

integrate defence of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers' rights into the human rights programs of national and international trade union structures;

achieve representation of lesbian and gay workers' rights in union and labour conventions at an international level, and in legislative and policy change at a local level;

facilitate the development of workplace policies on HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases in which the rights of people with HIV/AIDS and other affected workers are protected.

You can register for the conference, and obtain more information on our activities at the website - www.workersout.com. You can also contact IFJ Oceania regional delegate Ruth Pollard for more information on ruth_pollard@hotmail.com.