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Sunday, May 1 is the annual celebration of International Workers’ Day – also known as May Day – which honors the struggle of workers all around the world. 

While the LGBTQ movement typically focuses on nondiscrimination and healthcare insurance as issues in the workplace, the concerns of LGBTQ workers also include those not related to their sexuality or gender identity. 

In fact, the Black Futures Lab found that low wages are the biggest concern facing Black LGB people, and many trans people – especially transgender people of color – report living on very low or no incomes. Fighting for legal protections for jobs that don’t pay LGBTQ workers enough to live on does little to improve the daily conditions of low-wage LGBTQ workers and their families. 

Addressing low wages and other work-related concerns requires a range of policy solutions as noted in the first national LGBTQ anti-poverty agenda and The National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network’s memo to the Biden Administration. Solutions include raising the minimum wage, strengthening labor union laws, providing paid leave, and improving workforce conditions.

In addition to policy work, the LGBTQ movement must address the ongoing exploitation of workers by corporations. Many companies that brand their logos with rainbow colors during Pride Month also engage in efforts that harm LGBTQ workers, such as stealing wages from workers, fighting against raising the minimum wage and strengthening labor laws, opposing the Build Back Better bill, destroying the environment, and supporting massive corporate tax cuts. To support LGBTQ people means treating our community with dignity – including at work – and not perpetuating a world that actively causes harm to LGBTQ workers and their families and communities.

In order for us to create a better and more just world, workers of all backgrounds must come together and challenge a system that threatens the well-being of all workers, including LGBTQ workers. To help build this movement, join the LGBTQ delegation at the Poor People’s Campaign’s Moral March on Washington on June 18, 2022, in D.C. 

Happy International Workers’ Day. Solidarity forever!

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