16 June, 2023 6:00 AM

Unite with Pride: One Injury, One Fight!

Brothers, Sisters, and all our Siblings in the Movement,

We write to you today as members of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council (TYRLC) Equity Committee with a message of deep and urgent solidarity with 2SLGBTQI+ students, families, and workers within the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB). On May 29th, 2023, trustees with the YCDSB defeated a motion to raise the Progress Pride flag by a vote of 4-6. As our comrades in the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) have made clear, now is the time to come together and unite against the homophobic and transphobic position taken by trustees against raising the Progress Pride flag during Pride Month.

As members of the Labour Movement, we are aware that 2SLGBTQI+ organizations and events across the country have been experiencing a rise in targeted acts of hate and violence motivated by homophobia and transphobia. We also know that these attacks are fundamentally connected to larger, global efforts of alt-right and white supremacist organizing. The recent incident involving the YCDSB serves as another example of this disturbing trend.

In addition to these challenges, we acknowledge the systemic discrimination faced by queer and gender-diverse individuals, who experience high rates of violence, suicide and barriers to essential resources. The trustees of the YCDSB had a crucial moment to show their support and solidarity with their students, families, and union members in the face of hate and bigotry. This was an opportunity to stand up against the challenges and discrimination that all 2SLGBTQI+ individuals and marginalized communities face on a daily basis. They failed to signal to the student population, teachers, parents and workers that hate and discrimination towards queer and gender-diverse persons will not be tolerated at school, in the classroom, or any event in the YCDSB. This is especially the case given the publicly-funded nature of the institution in question.

By aligning themselves with the growing forces of homophobia and transphobia, these trustees have neglected their fundamental responsibility to foster a secure and inclusive environment for workers, students and their families, as well as the overall community they are meant to serve. 

Thus, we call upon all union members in Toronto and York Region to raise their voices and take action in support of 2SLGBTQI+ rights and the demands made by union locals under the YCDSB:

  • Reach out to YCDSB trustees and urge them to fly the Progress Pride flag in support of 2SLGBTQI+ rights! (See below)
  • We invite our partners and allies to join the York Region Pride Parade on Saturday, June 17th, as well as to support local Pride initiatives and events 

We also call on our Locals to create more 2SLGBTQI+ safe spaces, prioritize inclusive bargaining language, as well as cross-border and International Solidarity initiatives, particularly for trans and nonbinary workers. 

This Pride month, let’s make clear that Labour in Toronto and York Region stand united against all forms of discrimination and violence targeting the 2SLGBTQI+ community! We firmly believe that the actions of YCSB trustees are against the inclusive and progressive values the Labour Movement upholds in our cities and towns. So let’s join together and push back against the hate! We unite with Pride: One Injury, One Fight!

Camlin Vinayagamoorthy
Keith Menezes
Equity Committee Chairs
Toronto and York Region Labour Council


Below is the list of names and emails for the York Catholic District School Board of Trustees and how they voted: 

May 29th, Motion to raise the Progress Pride flag at the York Region Catholic District School Board

York Catholic District School Board Trustees

Trustee District Email Address    Vote  

Frank Alexander (Chair)


Markham Area 2:
Wards 4,5,7 & 8 - Milliken/Markham/Unionville
[email protected] NO

Maria Iafrate
(Vice Chair)


Richmond Hill [email protected] NO

Elizabeth Crowe


Aurora / King / Whitchurch-Stouffville [email protected] YES
Theresa McNicol East Gwillimbury / Georgina / Newmarket [email protected]


Carol Cotton


Markham Area 1: Wards 1,2,3, 6 - Thornhill/Unionville [email protected] YES

Joseph DiMeo


Richmond Hill [email protected] NO

Angela Saggese


Vaughan Area 1: Ward 1 [email protected] NO

Michaela Barbieri


Vaughan Area 2: Ward 2 [email protected] NO

Angela Grella


Vaughan Area 3: Ward 3, 4, 5 [email protected] YES

Jennifer Wigston


Vaughan Area 3: Ward 3, 4, 5 [email protected] YES

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