The conference opened with a personal message from Dave Prentis Unison General Secretary welcoming all to the conference. Dave pledged…
“Your union stands behind you against discrimination no matter what form it takes. We will continue to fight it alongside all of you until the stain of prejudice is finally eradicated from our society, and the equal rights of legislation are borne out through real equality across our country.”
His full message can be read here https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2016/11/unison-pledges-continued-support-to-fight-discrimination-of-lgbt-members/
(I have highlighted particular interesting issues that were brought up at the conference)
Negotiating LGBT Equality
Discussions around UNISONS views on end of life care for LGBT people, Zero tolerance of Biphobia, UNISONS work on intersex equality, transitioning information, including private contractors members into national forum, and scrutiny in the commissioning process.
Recruiting and organising
A healthy debate took place around the use of Inappropriate language used within UNISON specifically to the use of the word “queer” within UNISON, many delegates put their views forward and it was decided to continue to use the word as to remove it would potentially isolate the younger generation and those who are now reclaiming “queer” as their identity and in turn removing the negative connotations, you can read more about this debate by clicking on the image below.
Other motions discussed in this area were the commitment to pride events, recruiting and organising LGBT members, having an inclusive movement and union, discrimination in the LGBT community, LGBT self organisation, increasing strength and involvements, the next step in Transgender inclusion, equality and securing Black LGBT members perspectives and participation.
Discussions around PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) raising future awareness and access to the drug, Dementia care for the LGBT community including Information about the current situation and how People are treated suffering with dementia and what can be done in the future to improve care services and understanding in the future (insert save care now link). Further motions were discussed on homelessness in the LGBT community, and protecting human rights of sex workers – decriminalisation for safety.
Carol Sewell UNISON Senior Vice President gave an In depth speech covering world affairs which have affected the LGBT community over the last year. Carol discussed the release of the NatCen social research on implications of reductions to public services for LGBT people and services.
“The report, commissioned by UNISON from NatCen Social Research, presents a damning picture of how the needs of the LGBT community in Britain are not being met especially around health, gender identity and mental well-being. Not enough staff are available who are trained to give advice around LGBT issues, despite increasing demand for treatment and counseling, according to the report.” Click on the image to read the full report and Click here to read the full press release
Carol also reiterated that “together we are stronger”, and talked about the UNISONs presidents charity for 2017, MIND Blue Light Programme. Click on the image for more information.
Overall the conference was very informative, thought provoking, and useful. I have now made contacts with other branches and support networks that will ensure that Derby UNISON LGBT Members get the support and assistance they need.
If anyone would like any more information/support please don’t hesitate to contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
or send a message on facebook https://www.facebook.com/UnisonDerbyCityBranch/
Richard Platt – LGBT Officer