Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
1. THE NEW EQUALITY LEGISLATION
Carried as amended by 1.1
Conference welcomes the new Equality legislation following the successful
passing of the Equality Bill prior to the General Election earlier this year. It is
expected that the Equality Act will be phased in from the autumn of 2010.
This new Act now includes protection for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
especially Transgender people in a single piece of legislation. Conference
believes this legislation should be used in meaningful negotiations with
employers, especially with the difficulties that will no doubt affect many of our
members in their jobs.
The Act provides a useful and now wide ranging basis for negotiating in the
workplace and can be used as a bargaining tool, to improve policies and
procedures of employers. It also provides long awaited protection for our
transgender members who have faced discrimination for some time in their
Conference requests the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
1. Formulate guidance for branches and self organised groups on how to
use the new legislation effectively, in organising and negotiating
2. Encourage training on the new Equality Act for all UNISON
representatives - highlighting the importance of the changes in
legislation with regards to transgender members.
2. Equality Reps
Conference notes that equality is the centre of everything UNISON does.
Conference welcomes the new role of Equality Rep within UNISON and the
Conference notes that many of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender
(LGBT) members face discrimination and inequality in the workplace on a
Conference notes the importance of having Equality Reps in every workplace
ensuring our LGBT members are all treated with dignity, fairness and as an
Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Continue to promote the role of Equality Reps within the branches and
2. Develop and promote a bargaining agenda which will see the Equality
Rep gain the same statutory rights for facility time as Health & Safety
3. EQUALITIES THE LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER
DUTY TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE ..... A DETERMINED APPROACH
Carried as amended by 3.1
Conference, we deplore the unprecedented cuts in our vital public services
and lament the shocking disregard for the compliance to the hard won
advances in the Equalities agenda. Whilst the public sector duties apply
primarily to public bodies they also have implications for private and voluntary
sector organisations who deliver services on behalf of public bodies.
Whilst we celebrate the revision of the organising tools available on UNISON's
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) website, which include the
fact sheets on sexual orientation and gender identity, the campaign guide and
the model statement on sexual orientation and gender identity. However,
unless we as activists make use of them and actively work with our
employers, these cuts to services will have a disproportionately negative
effect on both LGBT workers, and service users who may be LGB or T.
It makes sense that these resources only have any value if they are used by
activists and people like us, whether directly in negotiations, or by alerting our
members and our stewards to their existence. Many of us participate in Joint
Consultation Committee meetings (JCC's), and these are ideal opportunities
to engage in meaningful discussion, highlighting the positive long term
financial implications around engagement with the Equality Duties. The
contribution of Equality Officers who sit on Equality Strategy and Reference
Groups is also important and to needs to be encouraged and supported.
Regional council events, pride events, respect festivals, and other equality
celebratory events are ideal opportunities to promote UNISON's excellent
branch guidance on negotiating, as well as our LGBT bargaining fact sheets.
It is imperative that we continue to raise awareness that LGBT rights are
We call on the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Maintain the validity, potency and relevancy of these important
resources by updating regularly;
2. Liaise with the other Self Organised Groups (SOG's), Service Groups,
our Regional and Branch Equality Officers to respond to the challenge
faced by the erosion of the Equalities agenda. The opportunity can be
used as a recruitment tool;
3. Publicise the Equality Reps training to all our members. As well as the
important legislative information, the training highlights the criteria
around fair representation, and the fact that women, low-paid, part-
time, black, disabled and manual LGBT workers are under-
represented in our self organisation, as well as workforces more
generally. Visibility is important, and right now it is these
underrepresented groups that will be the first to be disadvantaged;
4. Conference further asks that the National LGBT Committee continues
to work with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Scottish TUC
to ensure that the Equality agenda is incorporated at all levels of its
affiliations including in Europe through the European Trade Union
Confederation and beyond in the International Trade Union
4. EMPLOYMENT OF TRANS PEOPLE
Conference notes that trans people continue to experience discrimination in
both gaining initial employment and retaining employment once they have
transitioned and although social attitudes have moved on and despite much
positive legislative change in recent years, there is still problems being
encountered in the workplace.
There is concern that Coalition Government may not be fully supportive of
trans people in the workplace despite new legislation coming into play in
October in the form of the new equality act.
Existing legislation provides a degree of protection against discrimination for
trans people as indicated above in the area of employment and their legal
recognition as men and woman in their acquired gender. However, more
needs to be done to support workers in actually gaining employment in the
Public Sector and that covert discrimination should be outlawed and that
practices of getting rid of transgendered workers should not be tolerated
under any circumstances.
Trans people have the right to dignity, sensitivity and respect in the field of
work and equal opportunities must be guaranteed.
We call upon the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Committee to work with the National Executive Council and Regions and
other public sector unions to:
Engage with employers in the Public Sector to eliminate covert discrimination
and to ensure that transgendered people receive an open, equal and
transparent approach when seeking employment and that once in
employment they receive the full support of their employers to retain their jobs
5. USE OF MONITORING INFORMATION - DOMICILE
It has come to the attention of the South West Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and
Trans (LGBT) Committee that the uses to which diversity monitoring
information is being put are arbitrary and dislocated.
Some, such as 'targeting LGBT communities by domicile' are open to, at best
misuse, and at worse, threats and intimidation or unsolicited outing.
We ask the LGBT Committee to act decisively regarding this issue by:
1. Liaising with the Regional Convenors, the Regional Education
Committees and the Regional Branch Equality Officers to keep abreast
of diversity monitoring developments, particularly LGBT domicile
2. Encouraging Regional LGBT groups to familiarise themselves with the
bargaining factsheets on Workforce Monitoring for Sexual Orientation
and Gender Identity - May 2010, and to seek a commitment from these
groups that this excellent tool is disseminated to all the branches in
3. We further instruct the National LGBT Committee to start preparing
guidelines for the appropriate use of LGBT sensitive Diversity
monitoring data that may arise from the 2011 national census.
6. RECRUITMENT - A FRESH APPROACH
Carried as amended by 6.1
Conference recognises the importance that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) Conference has previously placed on recruiting
Regional groups have attended numerous pride events and are involved in
LGBT History Month, International Day Against Homophobia / International
Day Against Homophobia/Biphobia/Transphobia (IDAHO/IDAHOBITS), Black
Pride, BiCon and trans events. Conference celebrates our past work in this
area but recognises we cannot rest on our laurels.
Conference notes UNISON's aim to increase participation of
underrepresented groups. Recruitment and retention of these members are
key to democracy within our union. LGBT members have an important role in
that recruitment work.
Many members have multiple identities which we need to embrace. We need
to step up our recruitment of Black, disabled, migrant and young workers. A
union that fully reflects the diversity of its members is key to an agenda that
addresses the concerns of all. It also ensures that underrepresented groups
do not become marginalised.
Our pay and pensions are under attack and we are facing savage cuts.
Recruitment is more vital than ever. The more members we have, the better
we can organise and defend jobs, pay, pensions and the delivery of public
services. We need to get the message out that people need the protection of
the union, and that only by standing together can we defend our public
Successful recruitment depends on imaginative strategies and using all
opportunities to promote UNISON and the benefits of being a member.
Conference therefore calls for a fresh approach to recruitment, recognising it
as the lifeblood of our work. This will include:
1. Continued attendance and involvement in pride events (and other
community events such as LGBT History Month, IDAHO/IDAHOBITS)
but with an emphasis on 'active recruiting' - finding ways of speaking to
people about the benefits of being in a union and getting them signed
2. Making recruitment activity a high profile aspect of all regional group
3. Engaging with community groups and social venues;
4. Identifying opportunities to promote UNISON - getting posters and Out
in UNISON into workplaces, speaking at events, making people aware
of LGBT conference and network meetings;
5. An LGBT presence at non-LGBT specific events, for instance
promoting the Million Voices campaign and opposing the cuts to public
Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to:
A. Support regional groups in their work in recruiting new members and
share best practice including a comparison of the numbers of new
members and new activists recruited through the different activities in
which we participate;
B. Ensure that the work of campaigns such as Beyond the Barriers
C. Target recruitment at underrepresented workers;
D. Work with the other self-organised groups, Young Members Forum and
service groups as appropriate to share and develop recruitment
7. RECRUITING AND ORGANISING BLACK LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL
AND TRANSGENDER MEMBERS
Carried as amended by 7.1
Conference notes the training on anti-racism held by the LGBT Committee at
its policy weekend in March following resolutions carried by 2009 LGBT
The training allowed us to recognise where we were doing well but also where
we needed to improve in order for our group to become fully representative
and inclusive. We recognised we all have areas where we can and must
improve and that the status-quo isn't good enough.
Conference agrees on the need for all of us to work towards improved levels
of involvement and representation of Black LGBT members within our group
and recognises this is the responsibility of us all. Black LGBT people can be
found in every area of the UK and can be found in significant numbers in
urban areas in every region. Like all workers, Black LGBT people are better
off in a union. The union is better off with more Black LGBT workers recruited
Conference believes this often starts with consistent yet simple steps which
1. Encouraging the Black members in your region to become more
involved (e.g. in your regional group, attending training, getting to
2. Making contact with representatives of the Black members group within
your own region, possibly exploring areas for joint working;
3. Publicising the national network meeting for Black LGBT members;
4. Attendance at events within your region such as Black Pride events,
Black History Month events and other cultural and anti-racism events;
5. Ensure regional groups prioritise work against fascism and the far right
and publicise this to members and the wider union.
Conference calls therefore on all regional LGBT groups to develop an annual
action plan to promote diversity in their group and highlight steps to promote
the improved representation of Black LGBT members within our group.
Conference calls on the national LGBT committee to share best practice for
recruiting Black members.
8. BRANCH TOOLKITS
Conference commends the work of the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) Committee with regards to raising awareness across this
union of issues affecting LGBT members. It also notes the guides and toolkits
It is worrying however that there still remains a lack of awareness of LGBT
issues within branches. Whilst it is recognised that branch LGBT
representatives have a remit to raise awareness with their colleagues (only if
they are out within their branch), it is expected that there will be support from
the National LGBT Committee.
There is regional and national support, with a variety of additional resources
available to assist representatives within the branches and these are valued,
but Conference believes that any branch representative should be able to
deal with LGBT members. To assist, representatives may require a reference
guide by ways of a 'toolkit' when doing so.
This toolkit could include information on the new legislation with the Equality
Act in the autumn, as well as guidance about issues that LGBT members
experience, such as coming out in the workplace.
Conference asks the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Formulate an updated toolkit for use by representatives within
2. Consult with regional self organised groups to research knowledge
gaps of non-LGBT members;
3. Include reference to the new Equality Act in considering the toolkit
9. YOUNG MEMBERS' SEATS ON NATIONAL LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL
AND TRANSGENDER COMMITTEE
Carried as amended by 9.1
Conference is aware that Young Members are the next generation of activists
and leaders. Decisions taken at this and every other UNISON conference will
affect their lives more than any others.
Conference notes that Young Members are recognised and have a seat on
the highest body of this union, the National Executive Council. UNISON
needs more young people to become members to ensure the future of our
great union and this means in every area of employment and in every area of
this union. Therefore it is vital that Young Members are represented at every
level. This will ensure that we continue to be an inclusive, progressive and
representative union of our membership.
Conference further notes that:
a) all regional and branch groups should be considering ways to increase
the participation of young LGBT members
b) while we can request changes, the size and structure of the National
LGBT Committee is decided by the National Executive Council alone.
Conference instructs the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Undertake a review of the 'make-up' of the National LGBT Committee
with a view to allocating 2 seats to Young Members;
2. Review the need for a LGBT Young Members Caucus/Forum similar to
those for Black, Disabled, Bisexual and Trans members that would
elect its own representatives to the National LGBT Committee;
3. Consult Regional LGBT Groups and the National Young Members'
Forum throughout the review and report back to the National LGBT
Insert new third paragraph:
'Conference believes that it is particularly important to encourage and involve
Black, disabled, bi and trans young members in our structures and across the
union. These groups of young members are particularly under-represented.'
Insert new point 1:
1. Carry out a profile analysis of regional representatives on the national
LGBT committee to discover whether they are representative
Renumber existing points.
In new point 2., delete 'with a view to allocating 2 seats to Young Members'
and insert 'and consider ways in which young members can be encouraged to
stand for election to the various seats on the national LGBT committee'.
In new point 4, after 'LGBT groups' insert 'National Young Members Forum
and the national Black, disabled, bisexual and trans members caucuses'.
10. INCLUDING RETIRED LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER
Conference notes that, although this self-organised group's remit includes
retired LGBT members, they may not take part in debates at this conference.
Conference notes in particular that:
1. Rule D4, which defines the self-organised groups, refers throughout to
members without reference to the categories of membership in rule C2;
2. Rule C2.6.2 says retired members may stand for office and vote only
for positions in the retired members organisation unless otherwise
determined by the National Executive Council (NEC) or otherwise
provided for by the rules; so
3. As it stands, a retired LGBT member may propose a motion for this
conference to his/her branch or regional LGBT group, may take part
there in debate upon it and, depending on its subject, may vote but this
conference will debate the motion without the chance to hear from any
retired member or for a delegate elected by any retired members.
A. That, since trades unions are workers' organisations, the determining
say on any issue must rest with members who are at work that is, in
UNISON, with full members defined in Rule C2.3.2; but also,
B. That it is always best to let people speak for themselves and UNISON's
arrangements should do so.
Conference therefore wishes to see delegates elected by and from among
retired LGBT members take part at this conference as retired members
delegates do at National Delegate Conference, that is with the right to speak
but not to vote.
Conference instructs the LGBT Committee to:
I. Seek to agree with the Retired Members' Committee and the NEC how
to bring this about; and,
II. Report to LGBT Conference 2011 with proposals and, if need be,
proposed amendments to this conference's standing orders.
11. ENCOURAGING PARTICIPATION
Conference notes with pride that equality is at the heart of our union and
recognises that self organisation is an integral part of equality.
Conference unfortunately also notes that some lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) and other self organised group members continue to
experience unnecessary hindrances in attending their UNISON self organised
group annual conferences.
Conference believes more can be done to proactively address these issues
and diminish these difficulties. Conference welcomes the fact that attendance
at conferences, including the self-organised group conferences, is one of the
measures in the joint branch assessment process, by which regions work with
branches on UNISON's priority issues.
Conference asks the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Seek information on the outcomes of the joint branch assessment
measure on conference attendance;
2. Continue to request information from regional LGBT groups on
members facing difficulties in attending conference;
3. Encourage regional LGBT groups to work with branches who are slow
to respond to their members' requests to attend self organised group
4. Investigate other appropriate means of reducing the hindrances some
self organised group members have in attending their annual
5. Work with regional and branch self organised groups in order to
develop strategies to increase active participation in self organisation.
12. BASE-LINING IN ORDER TO BUILD OUR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL
AND TRANSGENDER FUTURE
This Conference is PROUD to have so many LGBT members in its
membership. Conference realises that in a number of areas good progress
has been made on organising LGBT members & those areas should be rightly
recognised for their ongoing work & efforts. However, Conference is of the
view that to properly establish where we are in terms of participation &
activism from our LGBT membership, including LGBT organisation at
Regional & Branch level & the challenges for local LGBT organising,
recruitment & retention, it is essential that we have accurate & current data
that will give us a baseline on which to properly resource & build our UNISON
LGBT future & from where we can measure our organising progress.
Therefore, this conference asks that the National LGBT Committee conduct a
national survey of Regions & Branches which asks for the suggested following
1. Whether the Region/Branch has set up an active LGBT Self Organised
Group [SOG] that is adequately resourced?
2. Whether the Branch has a Branch LGBT Officer?
3. How does the Region/Branch communicate with its LGBT members to
ensure that it is inclusive & accessible?
4. Does the Region/Branch have a LGBT mailing list? - if so, how many
LGBT people are on those lists?
5. How does the Region/Branch promote wider LGBT participation at a
local, Regional & National level?
6. Is the Region/Branch LGBT SOG represented on Regional/Branch
structures as per UNISON rules on proportionality & fair
7. Does the Regional/Branch LGBT SOG have access to
Regional/Branch funding in order to exist & function as a SOG? - if so,
how much funding is allocated on an annual basis?
8. Does the Region/Branch allocate funding to a Regional/Branch LGBT
SOG to enable its LGBT SOG work plan to be implemented? If so, how
is that money allocated?
9. Has the branch negotiated any time off with their respective employer
for the Branch LGBT Officer [where such an officer is in place] - if so,
how much time & what that time is actually allocated or used for?
10. Any other relevant data or information that the National LGBT
Committee feels would be relevant to this exercise.
The National LGBT Committee is requested to present a full report of its
findings, including any success stories as indicators for best practice, to the
2011 National LGBT Conference & to bring to that conference any
recommendations it deems appropriate to improving LGBT participation &
activism within Regions & Branches, in order that we can build upon our
LGBT future in UNISON.
13. LOCATION OF CONFERENCE
Conference recognises the complexity of organising conferences but notes
recently they have been held in the same city twice in three years. This
imposes both financial and organisational burdens on the host region.
Conference therefore instructs the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) Committee to work with the conference office to ensure
that the LGBT conference is shared more equitably among the regions.
14. CONFERENCE TIME - A WASTE OF TIME
Conference recognises the importance of 'workshops' to raise awareness,
educate and inform members but not at a cost of conference time.
Conference also understands that it is important for Caucuses to meet but not
at the cost of conference business.
Conference notes that at last year's conference and previous years we have
rushed through business on the Sunday morning, by 'reducing speaking
times' and 'points of order' being put to move business on. This
disenfranchises Branches and Regions who have submitted motions on
important issues and those who are moving motions and wish to speak on
Conference believes that Workshops and Caucus Meetings should take place
outside of main conference business and before the debating of motions that
maybe on the topic or issue of the workshop or the Caucus meeting has
discussed. In previous years, conference has debated motions on a Saturday
morning before a workshop on the issue in the afternoon this is nonsense by
holding workshops on a Saturday morning delegates will gain a better
understanding of any issues and be more informed to take part in debating
these issues on the conference floor.
Conference therefore instructs the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) Committee to work and liaise with the Standing Orders
1. Move Caucus meetings to a Friday evening following Regional
Meetings and/or Saturday mornings prior to workshops to ensure full
2. Organise workshops to be held on a Saturday morning prior to the
opening of Conference as workshops are not conference business;
3. Organise the opening of Conference on the Saturday afternoon
continuing on the Sunday morning;
4. Fringe meetings should take place at lunchtime or following the end of
each day's business.
15. CONFERENCE STRUCTURES
16. CONFERENCE DAYS
17. MOTION RULED OUT OF ORDER
18. INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE AND ARTICLES
19. DON'T CON-DEM YOUNG LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND
TRANSGENDER (LGBT) PEOPLE
Conference believes that young people are amongst those most likely to
suffer as a consequence of the damaging policies being pursued by the Con-
Conference also believes that:
1. The job losses predicted by the Treasury of up to 600,000 jobs in the
public sector and up to 700,000 in the private sector will have a
catastrophic impact on the employment opportunities of young people
who are just entering the world of work, or who have recently taken up
2. The decision to cancel the Future Jobs Fund - a far from perfect
programme, but a step in the right direction - was a serious mistake;
3. The cuts in education at all levels will have a disastrous impact now
and in the long-term;
4. The cuts to services for young people are taking place at a time when
those services are needed more than ever;
5. The limited publicly-funded services that exist for young LGBT people
will face closure or only be able to operate under extreme financial
pressure with less resources.
Taking these issues into account, Conference recognises that the Con-Dem
Government's strategy is to create a high-unemployment economy as a way
to attack crucial legal employment rights and national and local agreements,
and to weaken trade union organisation as a consequence.
Conference therefore welcomes the National Young Members Forum decision
to campaign around the slogan “A million voices for decent and properly-paid
jobs for all”.
Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to:
A. Ensure that the impact of the Con-Dem Government's cuts are
reported to LGBT members and include the impact on young LGBT
B. Encourage LGBT workers to join UNISON in order to make sure we
have the strongest voice possible in campaigning on the above issues;
C. Encourage all LGBT members to participate actively in the union's
Million Voices campaign;
D. Identify key young LGBT groups and organisations which can be
recommended as potential partners for UNISON as the Million Voices
campaign moves into its next phase of reaching out into communities
and building alliances to defend our services, our jobs, and our
20. PROTECTING OUR RIGHTS WHILE FIGHTING THE CUTS
Conference notes the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat
Conference recalls the Conservatives' poor record on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender (LGBT) rights. Conference notes that despite Cameron's
attempts to make his party more electable, he voted against lesbian fertility
rights and same sex couple adoption, and asked for the recording to be
stopped when questioned on the Conservatives' voting record by “Gay
However, Conference acknowledges that 13 years of progressive legislation,
including the repeal of Section 28, the equalisation of the age of consent,
gender recognition, the introduction of civil partnerships, fertility rights for
women in same sex relationships and hate crime laws, has changed British
culture and the lives of LGBT people beyond recognition. In this context,
conference believes that, while we must always be vigilant, it would be difficult
for any government to reverse current equalities legislation.
Nonetheless, while the Government Equalities Office's “Working for Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality”, published June 2010, includes
some positive commitments, there is little detail. Conference rejects any
attempt to give a progressive image to a government committed to
unprecedented cuts and attacks on our terms and conditions.
Conference recognises that LGBT people depend on public services.
Conference condemns the 25% cuts in departmental spending announced as
part of the “Emergency Budget” in June. Conference deplores the fact that low
paid members are paying for the bankers' greed and that LGBT services are
likely to be disproportionately affected.
Conference also deplores the proposals for “free schools”. This will not only
result in more faith schools and the concomitant exemptions to equality laws
allowed them, it will also redirect funding away from the poorest children
towards the most affluent and articulate families.
Conference believes that, as trade unionists, we need to join the whole union
campaign against cuts in vital public services that will hit the lowest paid and
most deprived in society hardest. Conference therefore welcomes the LGBT
committee's updated campaign guide.
Conference underlines the need for:
1. Continued campaigning on the equalities agenda including:
A. The speedy and full implementation of the Equality Act,
including a robust and effective single equality duty;
B. LGBT workplace rights embedded firmly on the bargaining
C. Equal partnership rights, including gender neutral marriage
and civil partnership and full pensions equality;
D. Action on bullying and hate crime;
E. Improved access to healthcare, including gender
reassignment services and removing unfair treatment in
blood donation services;
F. Progress on asylum for LGBT people and LGBT equality
across the world.
2. Effective campaigning against savage cuts in public services;
3. Promoting UNISON's Million Voices campaigns at national,
regional and branch level.
Conference instructs the National Committee to continue to campaign with
UNISON National Executive Council, Labour Link, TUC LGBT Committee and
LGBT Labour to promote LGBT equality and oppose cuts. It calls on branch
and regional LGBT groups to make effective use of UNISON's updated LGBT
21. TARGETING LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT)
COMMUNITY THROUGH PUBLIC SECTOR CUTS
22 PRIDE IN OUR COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTARY LESBIAN, GAY,
BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) SERVICES
23. GLASGAY FUNDING
24. TRANSGENDER HEALTH CUTS
Conference notes with alarm that proposed public sector cuts are expected to
rise from 25 to 40% under the 'coalition administration and is fully aware of the
difficult decisions facing the NHS organisations that are expected to make
these significant financial savings whilst meeting key government targets.
Conference is concerned that services such as those needed to complete
gender reassignment may be drastically cut, with devastating effect on our
Conference recognises the equality duties placed on public sector bodies,
under which tackling inequalities is key to delivering public services. Part of
this is the key role played by equality impact assessments (EIAs) in aiming to
ensure that no groups are disadvantaged on equality grounds.
Conference calls on the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
1. Ensure that activists are aware off the importance of EIAs;
2. Work with other organisations, e.g. Transgender Alliance and the
Equality Network, in monitoring how NHS organisations are
undertaking Equality Impact Assessments.
25. NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (NHS) SERVICES: FAIR AND EQUAL
TREATMENT FOR TRANS PEOPLE
Conference notes that trans people continue to experience discrimination at
the hands of the NHS. The “Postcode Lottery” of Primary Care Trust (PCT)
funding of Gender Reassignment services, with Trans people in some areas
being refused services while others are made to wait years for funding. There
are long waiting lists at NHS Gender Identity Clinics (GIC) for patient's first
and ongoing consultations. There are huge variations of understanding when
dealing with health professionals. Many trans patients endure negative
attitudes and disrespect. This has resulted in unnecessary stress for trans
people when dealing with “care professionals”.
The Coalition Government's plans for sweeping cuts to public services; along
with the Conservatives poor record on legislation on LGBT issues do not bode
well for the future. We also note the Government's plans to abolish PCT and
to transfer funding responsibilities to General Practitioners (GP's).
Research carried out by the Department of Health suggests that a large
number of trans people are refused NHS treatment. The results of a survey
carried out in 2007 show:
1. 17 % of trans patients were refused non-trans related health care by a
doctor or nurse because they did not approve of gender reassignment;
2. 29 % of trans people reported that being trans adversely affected the
way that were treated by health care professionals;
3. 21 % of trans people stated that GPs did not appear to want to help or
refused to help with treatment.
The survey also found that little improvement had been made in funding
gender recognition treatments or in waiting times over the last 15 years.
Trans people have the right to dignity, sensitivity and respect and this stigma
must be eliminated. There is a need for awareness training ranging from the
GP practice, to main stream hospitals and specialist clinics. Organisations
such as the Gender Trust, The Gender Identity Research and Education
Society (GIRES) and Press for Change have undertaken sterling work to
promote awareness but more work is needed.
Conference calls upon National and Regional LGBT Committees, along with
other public sector unions, especially those working in the health sector to:
A. Strongly support UNISON's Million Voices Campaign for better public
services not only within the NHS but across the whole of the public
sector to oppose cuts in public services. In particular, we call for the
NHS funding for Gender Reassignment to be protected, or expanded in
those localities where currently finance is particularly difficult or nearly
impossible to obtain;
B. Engage with the NHS and GP's to develop comprehensive and
thorough LGBT training and awareness and for this to be provided to
all front-line services. The care for trans patients should be free from
discriminatory attitudes and poor practice is not acceptable and should
not be tolerated;
C. Press for treatment and care to be provided to all trans patients in a fair
and equitable manner across the United Kingdom.
26. PROTECTING ACCESS TO OUR HEALTH SERVICES AND THE THREAT
TO SCREENING PROVISION FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND
Conference notes with concern continued lack of visibility of LGBT health
needs within the health service.
As we know massive cuts are planned for front line services and many PCT
are under pressure to make savings as well as being at threat of being
abolished, to be replaced by local GP consortia.
As many LGBT health issues are either invisible until diagnosis (HIV) or
considered to not be necessary (Cervical smear tests) there is a growing
number of people who may be refused access to critical health screening.
Conference is concerned that current budgets for LGBT health care provision
will be reduced first as there may not be any hard data showing evidence of
need, and awareness campaigns and information will reduce, and the health
of our community will worsen potentially putting lives at risk.
We need to ensure that funding is available for LGBT health screening and
treatment, and that it is available as and when we need to access our health
Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Raise the issue of service provision for LGBT people, especially at a
time of cuts to services with the Healthcare Service Group and the
2. Promote screening for LGBT people e.g. HIV and cervical screening
through Out in UNISON and as part of our campaign against cuts to
3. Seek to collaborate with other bodies as appropriate to promote
accessible health screening for LGBT people and to promote take up.
27 THE GOVERNMENT STOPPING RING FENCING OF ACQUIRED IMMUNE
DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS) GRANT MONIES TO LOCAL
28. EQUALITY OF ACCESS TO PUBLICLY FUNDED FERTILITY SERVICES
The introduction of the Human Fertilization and Embryology (HFE) bill in 2008
removed the requirement on staff working in fertility clinics to consider the
need for a father and replaced it with the need for supportive parenting when
considering eligibility for treatment.
This seemingly opened the door for lesbian and bisexual women to access
publicly funded fertility and conception services. Medically assisted
conception services offer a range of benefits to lesbian and bisexual women
and their children such as health screening, counselling and legal protection.
Under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (2006) discrimination
on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services is
illegal. However, lesbian and bisexual women in Northern Ireland are
reporting that they have been refused access to fertility treatment on grounds
that are not "medically infertile".
Currently the HFE bill states that unless a medical infertility is detected or a
couple fail to become pregnant after a minimum two years of sexual
intercourse where no contraceptive has been used publicly funded treatment
will not be granted. This is clearly heterosexist as single lesbian and bisexual
women and women in same-sex relationships can never meet this criterion.
In Scotland 2009 a lesbian couple successfully challenged their local National
Health Service (NHS) branch Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) for
discrimination and had the decision not to allow them publicly funded fertility
treatment over turned setting a precedent for future challenges to be made to
other NHS branches.
Conference calls upon the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
1. Work with the Health Care Service Group and Women's Committee to
highlight the case won in Scotland and raise awareness of the issues
facing lesbian and bisexual women who attempt to access NHS fertility
2. Work with regional groups to campaign for consistent equality of access
to publicly funded (NHS) services for lesbian and bisexual women
across the UK;
3. Request that the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority produce
specific guidance for lesbian and bisexual women on their website;
4. Write a feature article in Out in UNISON detailing the benefits of
assisted conception for lesbian and bisexual women in terms of their
physical and mental health, and the legal protection it provides.
COMPOSITE A ENACTING THE EQUALITY ACT
Conference welcomes the approval of the Equality Act by Parliament in the
last administration. However, conference notes that there are elements of the
Act that have yet to be enacted.
Conference is concerned that the Government may be less than enthusiastic
about enacting the remaining elements. Conference therefore instructs the
National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Committee to
encourage the National Executive Council to lobby the new Government to
recognise the will of Parliament and complete the Statutory Instruments
necessary to ensure that the Equality Act 2010 is enacted in its entirety.
31. RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGE
Conference notes that:
1. The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 were
intended to implement, in part, the European Union (EU) Employment
Equality Framework Directive 2000 but the regulations grant an
exemption where employment is for a religious purpose for which the
directive did not provide and upon which there had been no
2. Responding to a complaint from the National Secular Society, the
European Commission issued a reasoned opinion in 2004 that the
United Kingdom (UK) regulations did not comply with the directive;
3. The UK Government included clauses to achieve compliance in its
Equality Bill enacted in 2010; but,
4. The House of Lords amended the Bill to delete these clauses and
thereby retain the religious exemption to which the Government gave
Conference notes in particular that the Government was defeated in the
House of Lords by five votes and that eight Church of England bishops voted
against the Labour Government.
Conference condemns this form of religious privilege and calls for an end to
the religious exemption in the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation)
Regulations 2003 and successive religious exemption which may appear in
any future Bill.
Conference instructs the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Committee
to campaign for these objectives.
32. THE ENGLISH DEFENCE LEAGUE - NOT IN OUR NAME
Conference notes the increased profile of the English Defence League (EDL)
and its sister organisations the Scottish and Welsh Defence Leagues (SDL
and WDL). Conference is aware that these claim to be non-racist
organisations peacefully protesting against “militant Islam” but are in fact
using this as a cover to whip up racism and hatred against Muslim and other
Conference is particularly concerned at recent reports that the EDL have
established a 'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) section'
numbering over 100 members.
The EDL is using stereotypes of Islam and stoking false fears of “Muslim
intolerance” of LGBT rights to seek to attract the support of LGBT people for
their racist cause. The EDL has taken to the streets to violently attack
freedom of religious and cultural expression, marching against Mosques and
Muslim communities. There have been attacks on Mosques, Gurdwaras
(Sikh Temples), Hindu temples, Jewish, Asian, Black and other communities.
The EDL, alongside the British National Party (BNP), is exploiting the
prejudices being whipped up by parts of the media and some politicians.
At the same time, it is using the fact that it has an 'LGBT section' to try to
present itself as an organisation which is defending LGBT rights.
We say: Not in our name.
As LGBT trade unionists we are no strangers to the divide and rule concept
being adopted by the EDL and we must educate and remind others within our
communities that we cannot - and will not - ever gain equality by denying it to
Conference resolves to do all in its power to resist any attempts to use LGBT
rights as a cover for Islamophobia, racism and hatred. This must include
challenging Islamophobia in the media, including the LGBT media.
Conference notes that the National LGBT Committee's Anti Far Right Strategy
provided a framework for the campaigns by our regional groups against the
BNP in the recent local and national elections. As a result of a broad based
campaign involving, amongst others, trade unions, Hope not Hate and
Searchlight, the BNP failed to make the breakthroughs they were expecting.
This approach must also be used against the so-called 'Defence Leagues'
and conference welcomes the work already being done by the Scottish region
to combat the SDL. Conference therefore calls on regional groups to
incorporate work against the EDL/SDL/WDL and other such groups into their
work on fighting the far right.
Conference also instructs the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Highlight and publicise the real nature of the EDL, SDL and WDL and
continue to challenge the false claims made by the EDL that they are
fighting to protect LGBT rights;
2. Continue to challenge Islamophobia, racism and fascism in all of its
3. Continue to work with the Trades Union Congress LGBT Committee,
Searchlight and Unite Against Fascism to fight the far right.
33. ENGLISH, SCOTTISH AND WELSH DEFENCE LEAGUES
Conference is alarmed at the emergence of the English, Scottish and Welsh
Conference notes that fascists took power early last century by building legal
political parties that engaged in civil society and in constitutional activity like
elections but which also included violent mass movements that broke up
working class organisation, intimidated activists and harassed Jews.
Conference dismisses the leagues' claims to be no more than a protest at
"Islamist Extremism" and to have no links with the British National Party.
Rather, conference believes:
1. They represent a new stage in fascist strategy;
2. Many are hooligans for whom controlling the streets with violence is an
end in itself;
3. Their actions frighten and silence Muslims in particular;
And left unchallenged they will become a threat to:
A. Our safety and visibility as lesbians, gay men, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) people;
B. Our capacity to organise as trades unionists; and,
C. The solidarity of our society and its racial harmony.
Conference considers that:
I. The leagues' demonstrations must never go unchallenged; but,
II. To be effective these challenges must win widespread support so we
outnumber them not they us; to do so they must be safe, legal,
peaceful, democratic leadership, be broad-based and offer visibility and
a voice to all who take part.
Conference instructs the National LGBT Committee
a. Seek to win understanding of the leagues' significance and the need to
b. Raise with the National Executive Council the need to do likewise; and,
c. Promote support for counter-demonstrations subject to the committee's
discretion to qualify its support depending on local circumstances.
Conference calls upon branch and regional LGBT groups and upon members
to work with their branches and regions and with trades union councils to
organise effective opposition to the English, Scottish and Welsh Defence
Leagues and to assert that the best kind of league to defend us all is a trades
34. LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) MEMBERS
STANDING TOGETHER FOR HOPE
Carried as amended by 34.1
Racism is a depressing issue for our community and fascist groups like the
British National Party (BNP) and English Defence League will stop at nothing
to divide us. It’s not that long ago that David Copeland, a former BNP
member, blew up a gay pub in London, it’s not that long ago that gay men
were being and are still being referred to in the same breath as paedophiles.
The LGBT communities consistently come under attack from far right groups.
It isn’t surprising that groups built on hatred and division are also aggressively
homophobic, but we know that essentially these groups are racist.
Last year at LGBT Conference 2009 we heard from a gay member from
Hartlepool, who had suffered particular vilification when he stood as a local
councillor, however comical the attempts to prevent his election were by the
BNP. The underlying issue is extremely serious. We know that the BNP may
be faced with bankruptcy but the English Defence League is drawing support
from disaffected members from the BNP and other far right groups, who are
‘looking to reclaim the streets’, spouting Islamphobia, racism and division.
Even now, not enough LGBT members are actively involved in the work
against the far right in the localities, in their regions. We know that in some
regions and branches, this work is urgent priority, but LGBT members are still
insufficiently engaged. We know that next year we have local council election
happening countrywide and we are bound to see the far right either seek to
get a resurgence in their support or in some cases aim to disrupt communities
and cities with their presence.
We urge UNISON National LGBT Committee to;-
1. Keep their LGBT members informed of any changes in the political
landscape regarding far right activity;
2. Invite articles highlighting particular campaigns and issues from a
branch and regional level;
3. Actively encourage LGBT members to be an integral part of campaigns
against far right groups in their areas;
4. Publicise more widely the Hope Not Hate LGBT pamphlet and other
5. Encourage LGBT members to join Hope not Hate and Searchlight and
also undertake their organiser training.
35. FIGHTING THE FAR RIGHT
Carried as amended by 35.1
Conference is very aware that although the far right political parties did not
win a seat at the recent General Election, their activity has by no means
decreased. These parties and those associated with them continue to
practice their homophobic, biphobic and transphobic ideals not forgetting their
racism, disablism, xenophobia and other hatred including of the trade union
movement and further attempt to win the British public votes.
The General Election may be over, and we have now a Conservative/Liberal
Democrat Coalition Government, but we have the fight to face again next year
with local government elections and within Scotland and Wales, the Welsh
Assembly and Scottish Parliament elections. Conference is concerned that
the Far Right parties will campaign even harder over the next few months and
seek to gain valuable seats across the country.
Conference welcomes the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
(LGBT) Committee national strategy, launched at last year's LGBT conference
in Cardiff, to assist branches and self organised groups with combating the far
right, and fight the fear that the general public have of those who self identify
as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Conference asks the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Work with other under represented groups, National Labour Link
Committee and the National Executive Council in progressing the action
plan the committee and regional LGBT groups may work from;
2. Provide useful resources that activists can easily access and can be
used as a resource during the election campaigns;
3. Ensure awareness is raised throughout the union, that the far right
poses a threat to LGBT people and indeed equality as a whole.
COMPOSITE C LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER ASYLUM
SEEKERS - THE FIGHT GOES ON
Conference welcomes the Supreme Court's unanimous judgement on 7 July
2010, which overturned the Home Office policy and the approach previously
taken by the Courts of returning lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) asylum
seekers to their countries of origin on the basis that they would be safe if they
remain "discreet" about their sexual orientation. The Court ruled that this
constituted a denial of a fundamental right.
The judgment explicitly recognised that persecution for reasons of
homosexuality has dramatically increased, fanned by misguided but vigorous
religious doctrine. Lord Hope gave examples in his judgment (para 2): "The
ultra conservative interpretation of Islamic law that prevails in Iran is one
example. The rampant homophobic teaching that right wing evangelical
Christian churches indulge in throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa is
Lord Hope specifically referred to the Malawian couple Steven Monjeza and
Tiwonge Chimbalanga who were arrested allegedly for holding a traditional
engagement ceremony (Chinkhoswe) in Blantryres township of Chirimba,
Malawi and were convicted of unnatural offences and indecent practices
between males, and sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labour, noting
that, "They were later pardoned in response to international pressure by
President Muthiarika, but he made it clear that he would not otherwise have
done this as they had committed a crime against the country's culture its
religion and its laws."
Conference further notes Lord Hope's observation that "more and more gays
and lesbians are likely to have to seek protection here, as protection is being
denied them by the state in their home countries".
Conference welcomes the Supreme Court's emphatic rejection of the
"reasonable tolerability" test previously applied by the courts in which it was
assumed that persons living in states where there was institutionalised
persecution of homosexuality could avoid it by being "discreet". Lord Rodger
stated (para 77) "it is objectionable to assume that any gay man can be
supposed to find restrictions on his life and happiness reasonably tolerable."
However, LGBT asylum claims will still have to be proven on a case-by-case
basis. Conference notes that the United Kingdom Lesbian and Gay
Immigration Group (UKLGIG) report Failing the Grade: Home Office initial
decisions on lesbian and gay claims for asylum (April 2010) showed that
decisions are being made by Home Office case owners who lack essential
training and access to appropriate guidance on dealing with such claims.
Conference is concerned that although LGBT people often face persecution
because they are identified as "different" by their community, decision-makers
frequently focus instead on the legal position in a country and interpret an
absence of laws, or a lack of evidence that the existing laws are enforced, as
evidence that there is no threat of persecution of LGBT people in that country.
This is compounded by the reliance in many cases on inaccurate information
on the situation for LGBT people in countries of origin.
Further, the Stonewall report No Going Back: Lesbian and Gay people in the
asylum system (May 2010) found 'almost systemic homophobia' in the asylum
system and detailed how LGB people seeking asylum experience significant
and specific disadvantages as a direct consequence of their sexual
orientation. It also showed that officials in the United Kingdom Benefits
Agency (UKBA) rely on inaccurate information and outdated ideas about LGB
people and admit that they don't know how to question them appropriately.
Both reports also identify specific concerns relating to lesbians, including
officials failing to acknowledge that lesbians often encounter harm due to the
inter-relation of their gender and their sexual orientation, and ignoring
elements of gender discrimination altogether. Issues concerning forced
marriage, honour killings and marital rape are not acknowledged to be
relevant to lesbians.
Conference believes that the available evidence strongly indicates a similar
situation with regard to the treatment of people seeking asylum on grounds
related to their gender identity.
Conference recognises the need to campaign for comprehensive steps to be
taken to urgently rectify the fundamental institutional failings highlighted in
these reports, and for these to address issues relating to gender identity and
gender expression as well as sexual orientation.
Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to continue to
work with others such as the Trades Union Congress LGBT Committee and
the UKLGIG to:
1. Lobby the UK Government for action to address the institutional failings
highlighted in the reports, raising the issues with ministers, the Home
Office and the UKBA;
2. Provide information regarding progress to regional groups and publicise
the issues in Out in UNISON;
3. Campaign for a "human rights" framework for asylum seekers which will
give refuge to those fleeing social persecution because of their sexual
orientation, gender identity or gender expression;
4. Work with Liberty and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to
identify and support cases which seek to extend the law to cover those
fleeing such persecution;
5. Seek the widest possible support for appropriate activities in support of
38. LOVE WITHOUT BORDERS
Carried as amended by 38.1 and 38.2
98% of UK lesbian, gay and bisexual Asylum cases are refused at the initial
application stage and the asylum system results in many lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Asylum seekers being returned to countries
where they may face persecution and possible death. It has now become
essential that the national LGBT Committee continue a dialogue with the
Home Office and Borders and Immigration agency on this vital issue.
This is the time to lobby for improved LGBT Asylum rights following a
Supreme Court ruling in July this year that Challenged the Home offices 'Be
Discreet Policy' - The judgment said that 'to compel a Homosexual person to
pretend that that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behavior by
which to manifest itself is to deny their fundamental right to be who they were.
This conference notes that the UK Border and Immigration website defines
asylum as "Protection given by a country to someone who is fleeing
persecution in their own country. To be recognised as a refugee, you must
have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-
founded fear of persecution. The United Kingdom also adheres to the
European Convention on Human Rights, which prevents us sending someone
to a country where there is a real risk they will be exposed to torture, or
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
This conference calls on UNISON's National LGBT Committee to campaign
for the Government to use the following five principles to draw up a new policy
to deal with LGBT Asylum cases.
1. That each case should be assessed on a case by case basis;
2. That LGBT people should not be asked to prove their sexuality or
individual persecution, but only that they have a well founded fear of
persecution, and that the Home Office and Borders and Immigration
Agency respect the right of individuals to self define as LGBT;
3. That the Borders and Immigration Agency ensure that all ''case owners"
have received specific training in handling LGBT asylum cases;
4. That the UK Government should not return LGBT people on the pretext
that they will have to "hide" on return to their home country;
5. The official Home Office country information reports - on which judges
often rely when ruling on asylum applications - must be upgraded and
expanded to reflect the true scale of anti-LGBT persecution. i.e. using
current ILGA data.
This conference mandates the National LGBT Committee to expand on these
principles and explore with the Home Office and Borders and Immigration
agency their implementation at the earliest possible point, and to work with
'Love without Borders' campaign and other organisations as appropriate for
LGBT Asylum rights.
39. UK GOVERNMENT ADVOCACY FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND
TRANSGENDER (LGBT) HUMAN RIGHTS - HOLDING THE COALITION
Carried as amended by 39.1
Conference acknowledges the breakthroughs achieved under the last
government to promote LGBT equality internationally. These included:
1. Support for and representation at Pride events;
2. Support for statements on LGBT equality at the United Nations General
Assembly and Human Rights Council;
3. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) toolkit to promote LGBT
Conference recognises that Government Minister Ian McCartney's attendance
and speech at 2006 UNISON LGBT Conference was a particular
breakthrough. The work he then advanced at the FCO was built on by
Conference notes reference to international LGBT issues in the Government
Equalities Office's "Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Equality" (June 2010).
This included campaigning for decriminalisation of consensual same sex
relationships, especially within the Commonwealth (work already established
by the previous government) and stopping the deportation of people seeking
asylum because their sexual orientation or gender identity puts them at
proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.
Whilst these commitments - if followed through - are welcome, Conference is
concerned they may be used to give a 'progressive' image to a government
committed to unprecedented cuts and attacks on our terms, conditions and
Conference is also concerned that:
A. The Conservatives are part of the same European Parliament grouping
as the Polish Law and Justice party, amongst others with extreme and
B. This right-wing grouping has voted against or abstained on equality
resolutions in the European Parliament;
C. There are indications the Conservatives will veto the 'horizontal'
Directive which would give sexual orientation protection in areas
outside employment across the European Union.
Conference welcomes the July Supreme Court ruling that the 'reasonable
tolerability' test was contrary to the Refugee Convention 1951 and should not
be applied. This ruling covers sexual orientation; gender identity cases are
likely to be governed by the same principles. However LGBT asylum claims
will still have to be proven on a case-by-case basis and there are no specific
guarantees to address the systemic discrimination in the asylum system
detailed in the reports from the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group
(UKLGIG) (April 2010) and Stonewall (May 2010).
Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to:
I. Closely scrutinise the record of the Con-Dem Coalition on international
LGBT equality and human rights, demanding they deliver on their
II. Continue to campaign for concrete action through international
institutions to end the criminalisation of homosexuality and to promote
III. Campaign with UKLGIG to ensure asylum is available to those facing
persecution, imprisonment or the death penalty because of their sexual
orientation, gender identity or gender expression;
IV. Raise these issues with Labour Link and LGBT Labour.
40. BETTER FACILITIES FOR GAY MEN EXPERIENCING DOMESTIC ABUSE
Carried as amended by 40.1
Conference expresses its disgust at all forms of domestic abuse and realises
that all victims deserve the full support of the community and the full
protection of the law.
Conference notes that according to the charity Broken Rainbow, one in four
gay men will experience domestic abuse in their relationships. Domestic
abuse does not just refer to acts of violence, it can also mean emotional or
There are various support mechanisms in place for those victims of domestic
abuse who identify as women, such as safe houses and counselling, which is
fully justified and the work of these organisations should be applauded.
However, very few meet the needs of women in same sex relationships or
trans women and there is often little or no provision available for men.
Having such sparse support in place means it is extremely difficult for gay
male victims of domestic abuse to escape violent, controlling and torturous
relationships. At the time of writing, there is only one national charity (Broken
Rainbow) that works with male victims of domestic abuse in same sex
relationships. The services offered are limited due to the lack of funding and
mainly focus on London. It is clear that something has to be done to increase
the availability of support available to male victims of domestic abuse.
Conference therefore urges the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) Committee to work with the National Executive Council
and colleagues in appropriate service groups to:
1. Raise awareness of domestic abuse situations, particularly within gay
2. Promote and encourage victims of domestic abuse to report any form
of violence to the police;
3. Encourage a more robust support network for all victims of domestic
abuse, and work with LGBT groups and organisations such as Broken
Rainbow to develop better services for gay men.
41. LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) VICTIMS OF
Carried as amended by 41.1
Domestic abuse knows no boundaries of gender, culture, class, age, sexual
orientation, disability, ethnicity or belief. A recent survey showed that 40.1% of
the women surveyed and 35.2% of the men had experienced same sex
domestic abuse with even more experiencing sexual abuse. The survey
showed that there were still barriers to recognising domestic abuse in same
sex relationships and barriers to reporting domestic abuse in same sex
relationships. First same sex relationships were at a higher risk of domestic
abuse and often sexuality was used as a tool of control. Some young people
reported that they had no expectations of their first relationship and that there
was no or little cultural representation of positive ordinary same sex
Few people in same sex relationships, who are experiencing abuse in their
relationship, seek counselling or legal/medical services. It seems even fewer
turn to police, shelters, or distress lines, believing social service workers,
health care officials, and police lack specialist knowledge in order to address
the issue properly and appropriately. Some also felt that they wouldn't get a
sympathetic response when reporting domestic abuse due to perceived
inherent feelings of homophobia. Some felt that services didn't see their plight
as being as serious as "straight" domestic abuse.
There is also a large gap in specialist service provision for LGBT people,
which in turn perpetuates the likelihood of LGBT people remaining isolated,
and lacking access to support, advocacy or information.
Conference is concerned that there is a lack of services available that are set
up to LGBT people seeking support.
Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to campaign for:
1. Increased awareness of the issues facing LGBT people who are
victims of domestic abuse;
2. Increased awareness in the criminal justice system and amongst
domestic abuse services about same sex domestic abuse in an
attempt to address the gap of trust and to encourage reporting of
incidents of domestic abuse;
3. The promotion of the existence of Broken Rainbow and other LGBT
domestic abuse services;
4. A more positive portrayal of LGBT relationships in the media;
5. To ensure any UNISON domestic abuse training includes an element of
LGBT domestic abuse.
42. SUPPORT FOR OLDER LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER
PEOPLE IN RURAL AREAS
In rural areas many older LGBT people can be left feeling isolated and
unsupported. Very often the support networks and access to services and
health provisions enjoyed by older LGBT people living in urban areas is just
non existent in rural areas.
Conference it is vital for the mental and physical well being of our older LGBT
brothers and sisters that they are able to access the support and services that
Conference asks the National LGBT Committee to consult with the Local
Government, Community and Health Service Groups with an aim of:
1. Highlighting the importance of providing appropriate services to older
LGBT people and discuss the provisions and choices available;
2. Conference further instructs the National LGBT Committee to work with
the Regional LGBT groups to provide guidelines and best practice
advice that can be used to lobby Local Authorities to provide vital
services for our rural LGBT older members;
2. Where rural outreach support groups do exist, conference urges that
Regional LGBT groups and committees and branch self organised
groups liaise with older people to offer practical support and raise
awareness about the benefits of belonging to UNISON.
43. POLITICS – A PLACE FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND
TRANSGENDER (LGBT) POLITICIANS
44. PROTECTING SEX WORKERS AND TACKLING PROSTITUTION
Carried as amended by 44.2 and 44.3
Conference notes that this year's National Delegate Conference carried
motion 117 "Demand Change!", submitted by National Women's Conference.
The resolution endorses the "Demand Change!" campaign by calling for the
government to apply the 'Nordic model' to tackle prostitution. This model
decriminalises those who sell sex acts and supports them to exit prostitution,
whilst at the same time criminalising those who purchase sex acts; the aim
being to create a reduction in the demand for prostitution within society.
Conference also notes the April 2010 report from the United Nations (UN)
Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health. The report
argues the need to take a "right to health" approach to the sex industry, and
that all policy initiatives should have sex workers' right to health at their heart.
It concludes that criminalisation of the sex industry (either of sex workers
themselves or of their clients) negatively impacts on sex workers' health and
that decriminalisation of the sex industry is therefore vital to ensuring safer
working conditions for sex workers.
Conference notes evidence of past sexual abuse, risk of violence, rape and
murder, and high levels of drug addiction among those, particularly women,
working in the sex industry. Conference also notes that men and transgender
people (often due to lack of access to affordable gender reassignment
surgery) are also involved in sex work and may face similar forms of
oppression and violence. Conference also notes the conclusions of the UN
Special Rapporteur that criminalization of sex workers or their clients may
only make it more difficult for sex workers to negotiate safe sex and may drive
them to work in more isolated and unsafe areas.
Conference is aware there is a divergence of views within the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group on the issue of criminalising those
who purchase sex acts and acknowledges there is a need for continuing
dialogue, especially where these issues affect men and trans people who are
sex workers. Nonetheless, conference agrees with the UN Special Rapporteur
that the health of sex workers should be our primary concern. Conference
therefore agrees that neither sex workers nor their clients should be
Conference opposes all forms of exploitation, including trafficking of human
beings, and any form of prostitution where those involved are put at risk,
abused or coerced. Conference recognises the inherent sexism within society
where women can be seen as sexual 'objects' for men, including through
prostitution and pornography. However, Conference acknowledges that some
men and women, albeit a minority, may choose to work in the sex industry. As
stated by the UN Special Rapporteur: "It is vital that those designing
interventions to assist victims of trafficking differentiate between those
persons working in the sex sector against their will and those who
consensually participate in sex work.
Conference calls for a clear agenda of putting the health of sex workers at the
heart of our position on the sex industry and of supporting people to exit
prostitution including, but not limited to:
1. Improved provision of drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes;
2. Provision of welfare benefits and affordable housing;
3. Improved asylum and immigration policies;
4. Appropriate policing and community safety;
5. Improved access to gender reassignment surgery;
6. Improved access to healthcare, including mental health provision.
Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to facilitate
continuing dialogue and to raise these issues with the National Executive
Council (NEC), and to seek to work with the NEC, the National Women's
Committee, and other relevant UNISON bodies, with a view to reviewing and
advancing UNISON policy in this area.
In fourth paragraph, delete 'albeit a minority'.
COMPOSITE B REPRESENTATION OF TRANSGENDERED PEOPLE IN
Conference welcomes the three motions passed at Trade Union Congress
(TUC) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Conference 2010* on
the portrayal of LGBT people in the media. Conference also welcomes the
information sheet "Complaining about the media" produced by the National
Union of Journalists distributed at TUC LGBT Conference which encourages
views to be submitted to the Press Complaints Commission on homo, bi and
trans phobic portrayals in popular media.
Conference recognises that there are some, albeit rare examples, of positive
portrayals of trans people in the media, such as the Channel 4 documentaries
The Boy Who Was Born a Girl and Make Me a Man, but also recognises, that
all too often, cruel and damaging reporting takes place for trans people.
Trans people are often door-stepped by the media or indefensibly "outed" by
journalists, who sometimes seek only to write a piece that will appeal to
Conference notes the numerous complaints submitted by the Transgendered
Community to Ofcom on the offensive Nationwide Building Society's adverts
which parody cross dressing men as ridiculous, vacuous and convey the
message that any transgendered expression is humorous and not to be taken
seriously. The advertisers claim that they are mere "characters", "deliberately
wearing a moustache". However this is insensitive and belittles the trauma
suffered by male to female (MtF) individuals suffering from gender dysphoria.
Facial hair removal is not only painful and expensive; it is rarely funded by
Primary Care Trusts thus unaffordable to most as part of the gender-
Conference therefore calls on:
1. The UNISON LGBT Committee to work with TUC LGBT on the media
motions, paying particular attention to transphobic portrayal to raise the
bar of acceptable broadcasting/publishing and to support the important
work carried out by Trans Media Watch in combating prejudiced
sensationalist and inaccurate depictions of trans people;
2. All people to complain about negative homo, bi and transphobic
portrayal in the media to the appropriate watch-dog organisations as
well as the companies behind the campaigns;
3. The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) community and society to be
generally more knowledgeable about the difference between the terms
"cross-dressers", "transvestite", "drag-queen", "transsexual" and
"transgender" (including pre-op and post-op).
* Motions on LGBT representation in the media at the TUC LGBT Conference
A. Motion 1 - Homophobic Violence, Hate Crime and the Media (National
Union of Journalists)
B. Motion 2 - Homophobia in the Media (Prospect)
C. Motion 3 - Development Fund for LGBT Workers and Output in
Broadcast Media (Equity)
47. TRANS MEMORIAL DAY
Conference stands together on Trans Memorial Day 2010 in solemn
remembrance of the terrible number of trans people who have lost their lives
through violent death as a result of hatred due to being who they are. We also
remember those many trans people who have taken their own lives, because
the bigotry and terrible difficulties they faced as trans people became too
We welcome the chance on the annual trans memorial day which is this year
during our conference on 20th November 2010, in order to celebrate the lives
of all the many many trans people who have lost their lives due to the hatred
We deplore the fact that in many countries of the world, trans people as well
as lesbian women, gay men and bisexual people, are still put to death or
imprisoned by the state; and that in some countries where it is not illegal to be
trans, the authorities are sympathetic to the perpetrators of trans violence, are
complicit in allowing violence against trans people to happen, and without any
unbiased investigation. Even in the UK, where we do have some laws to
protect trans people, we note that the authorities do not always take crime
against trans people seriously due to their own prejudice; and that trans
people often continue to face hatred, hurtful prejudice and discrimination from
within the public sector and other organisations.
Conference, trans people in all parts of the world face a daily torment of
discrimination, hatred and violence. What is less documented is the horrific
murders of trans people around the world and just looking at the information
ILGA has collated highlights the plight of many trans people.
Transgender Europe's Trans Murder Monitoring Project reveals that more
than 160 murders of trans people in the last 12 months of which 16 took place
This Conference calls upon the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) Committee to:
1. Consider having a minutes silence in respect of trans memorial day at
future National LGBT Conferences;
2. To work with the National Executive Council, Regions and the Trades
Union Congress LGBT Committee to campaign for better rights and
respect for trans-gendered people in the UK and through international
48. BIO-MEDICAL INTERFERENCE WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF FEMALE
Conference welcomes the:
1. Adoption by UNISON Conference 2010 of the National Executive
Council (NEC) motion on Palestine, reiterating UNISON's commitment
to building the campaign for justice for the Palestinians, and an
emergency motion condemning the attack by Israeli armed forces on
the Gaza Freedom Flotilla;
2. Adoption by 2010 Women's Conference of the National Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Committee's motion on Palestine,
and by the 2010 Trades Union Congress LGBT Conference of the
UNISON motion on Palestine;
3. Launch in April of Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Disinvestment and
Sanctions, a group of Palestinian queer activists, as they call
themselves, who live in the Occupied Territories.
Conference recognises that, as the level of international condemnation and
the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign has grown, the Israeli
government and pro-Israeli lobbyists have increased their efforts to promote
an image of Israel as 'the only democracy in the Middle East' where human
rights in general, and LGBT rights in particular, are respected and upheld.
These seek to use LGBT rights to whitewash - or 'pinkwash' - the image of
Israel's oppression of the Palestinians and obscure the fact that
institutionalized discrimination is enshrined within the state of Israel.
These have included an attempt by Stand With Us, which describes itself as
“an international education organization that ensures that Israel's side of the
story is told”, to run a workshop on “LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, and queer-inquiring) Liberation in the Middle East” at the United
States Social Forum. The workshop was cancelled following protests from
Palestinian and other organisations.
Conference notes with concern that in May 2010 the Toronto Pride Board
decided to ban the expression 'Israeli Apartheid' from being used in the July
Pride parade. This decision - taken in the context of political and corporate
pressures and fears of losing funding from corporate sponsors and the City of
Toronto - was clearly aimed at the Toronto group Queers Against Israeli
It welcomes the consequent withdrawal by the Secretaries General of ILGA as
the 'International Grand Marshals' for Toronto Pride, and the Pride Board's
reversal of its decision in June.
It notes, however, that WorldPride 2012 is in London and that the Toronto
Pride Board's May decision stated:
"That the Co-Presidents of InterPride, owners of the WorldPride brand who
accepted Pride Toronto's bid to host the 2014 WorldPride ….have written to
the Board of Pride Toronto indicating that they would consider the inclusion of
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid …in our [WorldPride] event inappropriate
and somewhat alarming".
It therefore instructs the National Committee to continue to work with the NEC
and International Department to raise LGBT human rights issues as part of
UNISON's work on Palestine and to:
A. Publicise the work of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), and
encourage LGBT members to join PSC;
B. Develop links with Palestinian LGBT organisations and assist PSC to
develop its LGBT network;
C. Explore possible initiatives relating to Palestine at 2012 WorldPride.
50. LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER EQUALITY ALL OVER
THE WORLD - THE ROLE OF THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT
This Conference celebrates how the trade union movement is working
towards LGBT equality all over the world.
Over recent years this has included:
1. Raising issues of sexual orientation and gender identity/gender
expression discrimination in the International Labour Organisation;
2. Supporting the work of ILGA and ILGA-Europe;
3. Protesting against laws and proposed laws against LGBT people;
4. Campaigning for freedom of assembly so LGBT Pride events can take
Recent actions have included an LGBT equality programme by the European
Trades Union Congress (ETUC), trade union support for Europride in Warsaw,
the development of LGBT work by The All Poland Alliance of Trade Unions
OPZZ, who held a groundbreaking LGBT conference at Europride, and the
continuing joint LGBT programme of Education International and Public
Conference endorses the commitment of ILGA-Europe to work with Central
and Eastern European and non European Union countries to work with their
trade unions. We believe that UNISON can contribute to this to develop
effective organisation of LGBT members and other self organised groups.
Conference notes that trade union equality work is bringing visible results,
making a real difference to the struggle for equality and human rights the
world over. Conference urges the National LGBT Committee to continue its
international work, in particular:
A. Continuing to work with ILGA and ILGA-Europe and encouraging
branch and regional LGBT groups to affiliate;
B. Working closely with UNISON's international department and in liaison
with the TUC's international department;
C. Raising awareness of international issues through Out in UNISON and
activities at our LGBT conference.
51. STEPPING UP GLOBAL AWARENESS FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL,
AND TRANSGENDER SOLIDARITY INITIATIVES
Most of us take it for granted that we can organise and meet to discuss work
problems, engage in political debate and challenge poor employer practices.
Trade unionists in many other countries risk intimidation and even death for
active membership in a union. This is all the more dangerous for our LGBT
brothers and sisters, who risk intimidation, abuse and death just for being who
Solidarity, joining together with others who share a common interest is the
very basis of trade unionism, and should not stop at national borders. It is
vital then that we continue to support our brothers and sisters around the
globe. The updated 2010 ILGA world map depicting LGBT rights illustrates
graphically which countries still have draconian sentences, including the death
penalty, on the statutes for identifying as LGBT, and although it is
encouraging to see that full protections and recognitions have grown in
number, it is quite shocking to see how far we still have to go to ensure full
equality for LGBT people.
Britain's economy and political system are interdependent with Europe and
the rest of the world. It is hugely important therefore that UNISON, and we as
activists, continue our work with sister trade unions and key international
organisations to promote and protect its members' interests and concerns.
Conference instructs the national committee to:
1. Continue to promote membership of ILGA through its Regional and
2. Liaise with UNISON's National International Committee to promote
awareness of LGBT specific atrocities in countries that fall within the
international work programme, and to further encourage UNISON's
Regional International Committees to include an LGBT element to their
3. Make every effort to work with the International Committee in
solidarity with other trade unions to eradicate the inequality of LGBT
rights in the world - ie: The International Trade Union Congress (ITUC),
the Trade Union Congress (TUC), European Federation of Public
Services (EPSU) Public Services International (PSI), Education
International (EI) Workers Out etc;
4. That the National LGBT Committee continues to alert its members for
opportunities to support our LGBT brothers and sisters abroad and to
engage in dialogue showing our solidarity. This can be a message for
support for those whose prides are being banned.
COMPOSITE D RECOGNITION OF CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS - AN
INTERNATIONAL ISSUE, A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE
Conference notes that the introduction of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was
both a milestone piece of equality legislation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) people and since its introduction has brought to
thousands of LGBT couples who have formed a civil partnership, both legal
and public recognition of their relationships.
Conference also welcomes the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 part of
which will bring the opportunity for willing religions to be able to offer civil
partnerships in religious buildings.
UNISON is also committed to campaigning for the introduction of marriage for
same sex couples both within the United Kingdom and internationally,
recognising that despite the benefits of forming a civil partnership, the many
differences between a civil partnership and a marriage are still both a barrier
and a weapon to full equality for LGBT people. Similar is not the same as
Conference is also appalled that a civil partnership formed in the United
Kingdom is not legally recognised outside of the United Kingdom, including
Europe and the Commonwealth of which we are both members. Similarly a
civil partnership formed outside of the United Kingdom is not recognised
within the United Kingdom and this is not compatible or acceptable in a
modern world of fluent and global workforce where one or both partners in a
relationship may relocate to and from a different country.
Furthermore the introduction of civil partnerships or equivalent legal
recognition sends out a powerful message within and outside of a country that
LGBT people and their relationships are visible and valued citizens.
In the modern world of a fluent and global workforce and community this is not
Therefore Conference instructs the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Continue to campaign for gender neutral marriage and civil partnerships
as well as for the recognition in the UK of same sex marriages and
opposite sex civil unions/partnerships contracted abroad and to enable
couples to remain in marriages or civil partnerships where one partner
when seeks gender recognition;
2. Campaign and lobby utilising its partnership with ILGA and our own
Labour Link structures, MP's, MEP's and LGBT Labour for international
recognition of civil partnerships and same sex marriages;
3. Campaign and lobby utilising its partnership with ILGA and our own
Labour Link, for the legal recognition of same sex relationships ie.
marriage or a civil partnership in all European states.
53. SUPPORTING LESBIAN. GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER
Carried as amended by 53.1
The 4th Asian Regional International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and
Intersex Association conference scheduled to be held on March 26-29, 2010
in Surabaya, Indonesia, ended before it could start.
Conference participants were threatened by religious fundamentalist groups in
Surabaya led by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI). The International Lesbian.
Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) organisers were forced
to cancel the conference. The participants had to evacuate the Oval Hotel
where the conference was to be held. (This was the second venue as the
participants were earlier forced to leave The Mercure, the original conference
venue). Participants were evacuated as they could not rely on the hotel
management and the police to secure and ensure their safety. Local LGBT
groups who sponsored the conference continue to be harassed by
A statement released on April 3 by ILGA-ASIA Board said, "This incident has
not weakened our movement but has only made us stronger. For we know our
work is important and what we do changes the lives of so many people
around Asia and the world. Our determination is that much stronger and our
belief is that much more,"
Such threats and harassment are unacceptable in our global society and we
would ask the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Write a letter of support to ILGA Asia;
2. Work with the International Committee on supporting LGBTI human
rights defenders where they are under attack;
3. Write to Regions and Branches asking them to support ILGA.
54. REGIONAL SELF-ORGANISED GROUPS WORKING TOGETHER
Conference celebrates how self organisation is fundamental and central to the
structures and function of UNISON since the creation of the union. However,
each year only a small number of branches send members to self organised
group (SOG) conferences.
A recent survey found that the majority of the 92 branches in the South West
region do not send any members to SOG Conferences. In 2009, only 11
branches from the region were represented at Black Members' Conference,
10 represented at Disabled Members' Conference, 17 represented at LGBT
Members' Conference and 25 at Women's Conference. 54 South West
branches did not send members to any SOG Conference in 2009; this figure
was 58 in 2008 and 62 in 2007. Conference suspects that the South West
region is not unusual and most branches in other regions do not send
members to SOG Conferences.
There are LGBT members in many branches who are not encouraged to
attend LGBT Conference and if they are women, Black or Disabled it is likely
that they are not encouraged to attend other SOG Conferences.
Conference believes it is important for the LGBT Members', Black Members',
Disabled Members and Women's SOGs to work together in each region to
promote self organised group activity.
Conference calls on all regional LGBT groups to:
1. Approach the other SOGs in their regions and discuss how to improve
2. Raise the issue at Regional Council and request that each region use
the branch assessment process to identify branches that do not send
members to SOG conferences and develop a work programme to
address the issue.
55. INVIGORATING LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT)
Conference notes that whilst National Delegate Conference did not debate
Motion 9, which called for a review of self organisation, the National Executive
Council (NEC) has included this in their work programme and set up a
working party of members of the NEC's Development and Organisation
Committee and chairs (or their nominees) of the national self organised
committees, to co-ordinate this review.
Motion 9 called for increasing participation in self organisation and re-
invigorating self-organisation. We note that the amendments will not be
considered as part of this review.
Conference believes that this review provides the opportunity for the LGBT
self organised group to showcase the excellent bargaining, organising and
campaigning work we have done at a national, regional and branch level and
the contributions that we have made to the mainstream UNISON agenda.
Whether it be recruiting new UNISON members at Pride events, bargaining
for the hidden workforce, organising against cuts and job losses or
campaigning on international issues, the LGBT self organised group plays a
crucial role in UNISON.
Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to:
1. Participate fully in the review;
2. Showcase our work and achievements, reflecting UNISON's objectives;
3. Include the national LGBT committee caucuses fully in discussions on
the response to the review;
4. Brief regional and branch LGBT groups on how to frame responses to
Conference also strongly recommends regional LGBT groups:
A. Proactively engage in the review at regional level;
B. Include discussion about the review at a regional group meeting;
C. Try to engage as many LGBT members as possible in the review.
56. OUR RIGHT TO BE HEARD
Carried as amended by 56.1
Conference is proud of our transparent and democratic structures. We note
the way in which we organise is not always reflected in other areas of the
Conference welcomes the opportunity to meet annually to determine LGBT
policy, elect our delegates to represent us at National Delegate and Service
Group Conferences and to select motions to submit to those conferences.
Conference further welcomes the structures we have in place to ensure that
under-represented members and those who face barriers to organising in the
wider LGBT self organised group and the union, are able to elect
representatives to the national LGBT committee, submit motions to LGBT
conference and speak at conference.
Conference believes that this is a fair and democratic process.
Conference notes that delegates elected by LGBT conference are
accountable to LGBT conference and responsible for supporting LGBT policy
as agreed at past conferences. They are also responsible for taking into
account new issues that may have implications for the LGBT self organised
group that have arisen since the last conference.
Conference also notes that caucus representatives are accountable to the
caucus and whilst they may also be members of the national LGBT
committee, they are there as representatives of the caucus. Caucus
representatives on the national LGBT committee may therefore have a remit
to speak from the caucus or the national committee. Conference notes that
the national LGBT committee has recently revised its policy and procedure on
how national committee collective responsibility works at conference. This
includes guidance on caucus representatives speaking on behalf of their
Conference therefore adopts the above as formal clarification of the roles and
accountability of National Delegate Conference delegates elected by LGBT
conference and of caucus representatives to the national LGBT committee.
57. UNITED NATION'S CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF DISABLED
Conference applauds the National LGBT Committee's work on human rights
which has greatly improved the understanding of human rights based
approaches to the delivery of public services within the mainstream union
membership as well as amongst LGBT members.
Conference welcomes the previous government's signing of the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons (UNCRDP) which sets
out disabled people's basic rights in one place, covering health, education,
employment, access to justice, personal security, independent living and
access to information.
The Convention describes the steps which governments must take to ensure
disabled people enjoy their human rights to:
1. Equality before the law without discrimination;
2. Make their own decisions;
3. Have their family life respected;
4. Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse;
5. An inclusive education;
6. A decent standard of living;
7. Support to participate in society and live in the community;
8. Accessible physical environments and information.
The UK has until next July to report back to the United Nations on its progress
in making these rights real.
Conference notes that the Convention is based on the 'social model' of
disability which recognises that disabled people are excluded by barriers
created by society, and so are disabled by inaccessible services, barriers in
the built environment or prejudice and stigma. It also recognises that these
barriers change over time for the individual.
Conference welcomes the fact that the Convention requires that 'civil society'
and disabled people and their organisations, in particular, must be closely
involved in monitoring how well it is being put into practice. 'Civil society'
A. Those people directly affected by human rights violations;
B. Voluntary organisations such as faith groups, youth groups, older
people's groups, women's groups and groups for lesbian, gay and
bisexual and trans people;
C. Parents of disabled children and families of disabled people;
D. Human rights organisations;
E. Trade unions, and
F. Professional groups.
The Convention specifically protects disabled women and disabled children
and talks about how governments must recognise the wide diversity of
Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance on the Convention refers to
the rights of disabled people to have gay relationships. It gives an example
that sometimes disabled people need support to go out and meet people,
which should be provided regardless of the beliefs of the support worker (for
example, the support worker may have beliefs in no sex before marriage, or
that people should not have same-sex relationships).
Conference is concerned that there are already suggestions that the current
Government will abandon annual reporting on human rights.
Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee, working with
appropriate UNISON structures, to:
I. Raise awareness of the Convention and EHRC guidance;
II. Develop a human rights based approaches toolkit that branches can
use in bargaining with local public bodies and employers.
58. CAMPAIGNING AGAINST CUTS
Conference expresses concern over the Government's proposals to address
the deficit by their slash and cut approach to public services, in particularly
local government and health. Conference believes the attacks on jobs and
services will have a disproportionate effect on disabled, Black and other
sectors of the community who are both public service workers and users.
Cuts in pay, decreases in benefits, increased taxes, job losses, rising poverty,
coupled with services being axed and privatised, will have a detrimental effect
on disabled people. The services hardest hit, such as children's services,
social care, health and medical care, education, support and advocacy
groups, are the very services that disabled people use and work in.
Conference instructs the National LGBT Committee, working with relevant
structures of the union, to:
1. Be a visible presence in UNISON's million voices campaign against the
attacks on our jobs, pay and services;
2. Actively campaign to support LGBT members who may suffer multiple
discrimination and may be affected disproportionately by the decimation
of our public services, such as disabled, black and low paid members;
3. Urge our regional and branch LGBT groups and LGBT members to be
visible in such campaigns at national, regional and local levels.
59. BLUDGEONING THE BENEFITS SYSTEM
Conference believes that the Government's proposed reforms of the benefits
system will have a disproportionate effect on disabled people pushing them
further into poverty and notes that many disabled workers are amongst the
lowest paid members of the workforce and may rely on benefits to supplement
their income and ensure that they have a decent weekly living income.
Conference believes it is disgraceful that the cuts and changes to housing
benefit may result in disabled people being forced to give up their homes and
move into cheaper, smaller and poor quality accommodation which may be
owned or managed by unscrupulous landlords and does not believe that the
allowance for an additional room for a carer will be applied fairly and
Conference is appalled that the Government intends to introduce medical
assessments for Disability Living Allowance claimants and renewals, further
demonising Disabled people. Many disabled people rely on Disability Living
Allowance to enable them to continue to work and use the additional income
to help with the cost of getting to and from work and equipment they may
need for work.
Conference notes that application process for Disability Living Allowance and
the threshold for entitlement is already extremely difficult to satisfy without the
additional burden of undergoing a medical assessment.
Conference condemns the fact that disabled people and other low paid
workers who need to claim benefits are being penalised and made to pay for
a deficit caused predominantly by the irresponsibility of bankers and financial
Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee, working with all
relevant structures of the union, to:
1. Support campaigns against cuts to the benefits system that affect
disabled members and other low paid workers that are consistent with
2. Raise awareness of the attacks on benefits and the disproportionate effect
such cuts and proposals will have on low paid sectors of the LGBT self
organised group, in particular disabled members.
60. DISABLED BUT NOT DEPRIVED
ND1. DEFENDING LGBT RIGHTS WHILE FIGHTING THE CUTS
Conference is concerned by attempts by the current government to foster a
progressive image on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality,
while carrying out an unprecedented attack on the rights of LGBT workers and
provision for LGBT service users.
Conference notes that the devastating impact of this Government's public
sector cuts on women, Black communities, disabled people and those on the
lowest incomes is already well documented. The lack of national data on
LGBT people makes the impact on them less easy to quantify in snap-shot
analyses, but is well known to us in UNISON.
We in UNISON know that:
1. Anti-LGBT workplace discrimination remains widespread. In the fear
and uncertainty of reorganisation and cuts, homophobia, biphobia and
transphobia can run rampant. Bullying increases and LGBT workers
fear to complain while their jobs are threatened;
2. Services for LGBT people don't win popularity contests and are among
the first to be cut in a downturn;
3. But when times are hard, LGBT people need public services more than
ever, for example, appropriate youth and housing services for young
LGBT people and care services for older LGBT people. Decent
services change lives - and in some cases, save lives.
Conference affirms that there has never been a more important time for LGBT
workers to be part of a strong, organising union. There has never been a
greater need for trade unions to be loudly and publicly demanding LGBT
Conference calls on the NEC, working with the LGBT self-organised group to:
A. Highlight attacks on LGBT workers and services, not allowing the
government, employers or public service providers to hide behind lack
of statistical data;
B. Maintain the high profile of UNISON's commitment to LGBT equality in
all our negotiating, organising and campaigning work;
C. Campaign against the erosion of the equalities agenda in the climate of
public sector cuts;
D. To continue to defend the vital importance of public services that meet
the needs of all.
ND2. EQUALITY IN MARRIAGE AND CIVIL PARTNERSHIP
Conference welcomes the progress in equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) people under the last Labour government. Notable
achievements include the introduction of civil partnership for same sex
couples and the Gender Recognition Act, which gives trans people the
opportunity to gain legal recognition of their acquired gender.
Conference notes that in the UK, marriage is only open to mixed sex couples
and civil partnership is only open to same sex couples. While civil partnership
gives virtually the same rights and responsibilities as marriage, the problems
of having two systems are becoming increasingly obvious. Separate is not
1. The fact that same sex couples cannot marry and that civil partnership
is for same sex couples perpetuates homophobia, reinforcing the
notion that same sex couples are not a real family;
2. Informing an employer or service provider of civil partnership is
effectively a declaration of sexual orientation;
3. Trans people applying for gender recognition are forced to end any
current marriage or civil partnership;
4. The process to register the same relationship as a 'new' marriage or
civil partnership - essential for pension benefits, for example - is
bureaucratic and humiliating;
5. Same sex spouses from the ten plus countries where they can legally
marry are not recognised as married in the UK;
6. UK civil partnerships are not recognised in the vast majority of other
countries, impacting on the free movement of labour;
7. Mixed sex couples who would prefer a civil partnership are denied this
Conference calls on the NEC to campaign for:
A. Marriage and civil partnerships to be available without discrimination
based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
B. Automatic recognition in the UK of same-sex marriages registered in
C. Increased recognition of same sex marriage and civil partnerships
across the European Union and internationally.
ND3. AMENDMENT TO RULE D.4.5.1
In Rule D.4.5.1 after “level,” add:
“representatives of relevant retired members who shall have the right to speak
but not to vote,”
ND4. AMENDMENT TO RULE D.4.6.1
In Rule D.4.6.1 at the end add:
“and of relevant retired members who shall have the right to speak but not to
SO1. Amendment to Standing Order 6.1
EM1 TIME TO ACT ON MEDIA TRANSPHOBIA