Looking out for LGBTQ in the labour movement

Sebastian Trujillo recently became the first official representative of the LGBTQ community on the executive board of SEIU Healthcare, the healthcare union representing 55,000 working in Ontario's hospitals, long-term care homes, and homecare agencies.

Seb, as they like to be called for short, was born in Mexico and came to Canada in 2001.

"It feels awesome," says Seb about representing the LGBTQ community with the union. "I became a member steward four years ago...they gave me training. One thing led to another."

Seb tells us a bit about coming out...twice, Seb laughs.

Sebastian and Premier Wynne

"I was open as a lesbian. Almost a year ago I decided to come out of the closet for the second time as I call it, because one was not enough."

Seb recently came out as a proud trans man.

"At Mount Sinai [where Seb works as a mail room clerk] I felt confident talking to my co-workers but I needed supervisors and HR to be trained on what trans means and which pronouns I want them to use. They were very respectful of everything."

Before, Mount Sinai didn't have any bathrooms, lockers, or showers for trans people. Seb is happy to reveal that they recently made that change - it took them just two months. In total, 5 people are using the new facilities.

At the Convention where Sebastian was recently elected LGBTQ rep, they presented Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne with a thank-you gift for coming to speak to the 500 attendees.

The Premier spoke about the need to transform the healthcare system and praised the healthcare workers that make it all possible - cooking, cleaning, caring, and holding the hands of our family and friends during some of the most difficult times in our lives. It was the second time Seb had met her.

"We usually do the 5k run for pride and she's always there. Having people in the LGBT community in these positions where they can help our community is amazing. People can see she's a normal person and part of the community."

Seb's position as mail room clerk at Mount Sinai requires them to interact with everyone. "I talk to everyone in this hospital, I deliver their mail and lab reports, I go in and out of every single department. It gives me a chance to talk to all our members."

Seb has a 2-year-old, Gavriel, and took time off last year to spend with their wife and son before returning to work at Mount Sinai.

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