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Union formalizes pride committee

Lyndsay Herman
Northern News Services
Published Monday, July 2, 2012

A community of Public Service Alliance of Canada North (PSAC North) members who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) who have been working to increase awareness about GLBT resources and issues will now be formally recognized within the union.

"One of the things that we needed to do was get a charter for our area," said Steve Peterson, regional representative of health and safety for PSAC North and the member spearheading the foundation of the Pride Committee. "It gives us standing on other committees within the PSAC structure so we would have in our area council a rep that represents the GLTB group. He said then that person from that committee goes on to the regional committee and then they're represented at the national committee.

"Without the formal structure in place, that person wasn't able to avail themselves of those other communities, but now that we have it, they can be an active part of the whole process, he said."

In order for the GLBT group to secure a charter, they needed three presidents of public service components to sign on. Peterson said the Union of Northern Works, a component of the Treasury Board and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development signed on in support. The GLBT committee will now take its formal position among other committees and will receive approximately $1,500 from PSAC for committee-run programs and activities.

"It's mostly about awareness and giving ourselves some sort of presence," said Peterson. "Last year we had activities in Hay River, Fort Simpson, Inuvik, Yellowknife and, I believe, Fort Smith. This year we're trying to enlarge it even more.

"The founding meeting that's coming up in July is to brainstorm activities that may be happening in the latter part of July, August, when we're trying to plug into activities that will be sort of simultaneous throughout the North."

Peterson said there will be a call for nominations for the committee's representative at the founding meeting and he expects the representative will also be elected at the meeting. Peterson said he estimates about 12 people will attend, but added the number could fluctuate due to people's summer holidays. Some members who know they will be on holidays during the meeting but would like to attend, have requested to have meeting minutes sent to them, he said.

The Pride Committee's founding meeting will take place July 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the PSAC boardroom in Yellowknife located at 4916-49th Street.

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