In celebration of Pride month, the nonprofit organization Pride@Work honored AFSCME President Lee Saunders with the 2019 Solidarity Award. Pride@Work, an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO that represents LGBTQ union members and their allies, recognized Saunders and AFSCME for fighting to build power for LGBTQ working people.
Fifty years after Stonewall and 25 years after its founding, Pride@Work hosted a “Celebrating Solidarity” event at the AFL-CIO on Thursday. In his acceptance remarks, which he delivered via video, Saunders said, “We believe that workers’ rights and LGBTQ rights are one and the same. It’s not just a shared struggle; it’s the same struggle – for freedom and equality, for dignity and humanity.”
While many LGBTQ workers continue to struggle for a voice on the job in 2019, Saunders emphasized that, “Civil rights is a part of AFSCME’s DNA.”
AFSCME supports the Equality Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives last month, and passed resolutions at its International Convention last summer in support of LGBTQ rights, affirming the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people. AFSCME has also called for a ban on conversion therapy.
“Being LGBTQ is not a disease or a deficiency – any so-called treatment saying so ought to be treated with contempt,” Saunders said.
He concluded by acknowledging the progress that has occurred over the past 50 years, and the need to continually fight for respect through collective action.