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2004 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
20 November 2004

Conference believes the UNISON lesbian and gay self-organised group should become a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender self-organised group and that the rules should be changed to facilitate this. Conference is committed to campaigning to win the vote at National Delegate Conference (NDC) in 2005.

Conference is disappointed that its resolution to NDC in 2004 for a rule change to permit creation of a Self-Organised Group to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members did not achieve the required two-thirds majority.

Conference notes:

1.The work to date on making the change from a UNISON lesbian and gay group to a UNISON lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group;

2.That lesbian and gay transgender members have always been part of the group and reiterates its previous decision to address transgender issues in our work (resolution 25 of the 9th conference);

3.That all UNISON meetings should be safe spaces for all members and that disciplinary procedures already exist to take strong action against anyone who endangers this. Conference further notes that regional and branch groups should already be addressing the particular needs of different types of members. For example, there should already be provision of caucuses for lesbians, gay men, black members and disabled members.

Conference further believes that winning the vote will require activists working within the union at all levels to bring the issue to the attention of members, branches and regional committees. Conference believes there is a certain lack of understanding in relation to bisexual and transgender issues and that work is required to educate and advise the wider membership.

Conference welcomes the support for the change pledged by many regional councils and the NEC. However, Conference appreciates that more needs to be done to involve bisexual and transgender members in the move to a new self-organised group, and to explain the reasons for the change to other parts of our union, particularly at branch level.

Conference resolves to:

A.Submit the following amendment to UNISON rules to the 2005 UNISON National Delegate Conference: In Rule D.4.1.4 delete “lesbian and gay members” and substitute “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members”;

BCall on branches to submit the same rule amendment in their own names.

Conference instructs the National Lesbian and Gay Committee (NLGC) to:

I.Draw up practical proposals for the implementation of this change;

II.Continue to build informed support for the change in all national UNISON forums, including the National Executive Council, other self-organised groups and service groups, and via all UNISON publicity and information channels;

III.Base its campaign upon the purposes of self-organisation defined in rule D.4.2;

IV.Produce a brief paper setting out the case for change in the constitution covering the points made in this year’s debate. This paper to be distributed to everyone on the Lesbian and Gay membership list. This case for change should include contributions from other parts of the organisation including the Women’s group;

V.Dedicate an issue of “Out in UNISON” to this issue, with a draft motion for members to raise at local branch level;

VI.Approach the National Women’s Committee with a view to achieving a shared understanding of the distinction between issues based on gender and those based on gender identity and the extent to which the women’s self-organised group takes responsibility for the latter;

VII.Identify bisexual and transgender members of UNISON who support the rule change and seek to facilitate their contribution to the debate;

VIII.Reject vigorously any contention that certain members of UNISON, on account of their gender and/or sexual orientation are automatically a threat to the safety of certain other members of UNISON;

IX.Produce a written report for co-convenors, in advance of the Spring 2005 meeting, to update them on the campaign in advance of the 2005 NDC;

X.Seek to co-ordinate those intending to speak at conference in favour of the proposed rule amendment so that points made in opposition receive appropriate and timely reply.

Conference urges regional and branch lesbian and gay groups to:

a.Take up the organising advice issued by the NLGC on involving bisexual and transgender members in their work;

b.Prepare and seek to deliver a presentation on the proposed rule amendment to each Regional Council and to report back to the NLGC on progress made;

c.Build informed support for the change at regional and branch level, via committees and forums and all publicity and information channels.