A Genuinely Inclusive LGBT Group

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2007 National LGBT Conference
26 July 2007
Carried as Amended

Conference celebrates the fact we have now been a LGBT Self Organised Group for over two years. We have faced many challenges relating to how we organise and become a truly inclusive group.

We have had much success but there is still more work to do to include, involve and organise transgender and bisexual members in particular but also other groups of members under represented in our group – women, black members, disabled members, young members and low paid, part time and manual workers.

Conference believes that all current and potential UNISON members deserve the right to participate and be represented in union structures free from excluding behaviour, harassment, or negative stereotypes, and to be treated in a manner that respects their human rights and dignity regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Conference reiterates that increasing the participation of under-represented groups is the responsibility of everyone in the union.

Whilst recognising the commitment from branch and regional groups to tackle issues relating to fair representation and proportionality Conference recognises that many have trouble turning this commitment into results.

Conference would like to commend the many examples of good practice that have occurred this year, including:

1.A national women only event on International Women’s Day which involved some members for the first time;

2.Scotland and Northern Ireland Regional LGBT groups collaborating on a joint education weekend which included a session led by a trans speaker on how best to support trans members in UNISON;

3.Yorkshire & Humberside inviting a local community group to address one if its meetings on issues relating to challenging biphobia;

4.The East Midlands group looking at the format of its meetings to make it more attractive to newer activists, with consideration of discussion topics to attract a wider range of members.

Conference recognises that the under-representation of certain groups is endemic within UNISON, the trade union movement and wider society and this can only be addressed by a rolling programme of initiatives. While there is no “magic answer”, branch and regional groups can learn from each other’s experiences and build on each other’s successes.

Conference, while aware of the need to develop opportunities for participation for all delegates and visitors, also believes there is a need to consider the value of the provision of networking and social opportunities for particular members of the self organised group which may be under represented at Conference and as part of a strategy towards building confidence and increased participation from such groups of members (e.g. women, low paid members, young and older members in addition to the needs of black and disabled LGBT members).

Without wishing in any way to be prescriptive, Conference believes the National Committee and/or host region should have the flexibility to be able to arrange such events, where appropriate, in order to build confidence and progress towards proportionality and fair representation.

Conference calls therefore on the National Committee to give active consideration, consulting with regional LGBT groups and caucuses as appropriate, to the need for such provision in its preparations for the annual LGBT Conference as well as considering other events that may be able to be organised throughout the year to meet any areas of need identified.

Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to work with regions and identify further examples of good practice and to produce ‘Handy Hints’ on different ways a regional or branch group can promote the inclusivity that should be the heart of our self organisation.

Conference encourages all elements of our self organised group to be as resolute in our belief in our ability to effect change and continue the good work!