Isn’t it Time for Gender Free Union Solidarity?

gender freeDear Friends & Comrades:

For years, the terms Brother and Sister have been used by unionists to call together our community. Through the work of many trans activists and the push by YEU/PSAC to include trans members in all aspects of our organization, we’ve begun to recognize the inherent exclusivity of our gendered terms of community. Unions work together for the advancement of rights for all people – we try to be inclusive, but our language excludes.

We don’t all find ties with the traditional binary of male and female or brother and sister. Some of us identify somewhere outside that space.  We also want to be included in the motions brought forward and to be represented when we step to the podium, calling on our comrades & friends to stand in solidarity for the gains we strive to attain.

I’ve been thinking about the intentional use of Sister and Brother. I’ve been thinking about how to begin my own non-gendered call for support in a more caring, compassionate and inclusive way. I think about these things as the traditional use of brother and sister falls from my mouth and I now know I’m leaving people out. That doesn’t feel right – I don’t feel right because I am being exclusive. Instead I’ll use the words Comrade and Friend.

Where do you stand? How will you refer to members of our community?

Lisa Vollans
YEU Executive,
PSAC Yukon Pride Committee
& Northern Region Representative to the
PSAC National Human Rights Committee

One thought on “Isn’t it Time for Gender Free Union Solidarity?

  1. I have always been pro-union and although I firmly believe solidarity=strength, the whole brother-sister mantra has always made me uncomfortable. I have brothers and sisters by birth, and never felt the need to expand that community. I prefer friends, allies and colleagues. That about sums it up for me in terms of my professional associations;always has and will continue to be should I be blessed with such good fortune!


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