Gender Identity – A Workplace Issue

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2007 National LGBT Conference
26 July 2007

Conference welcomes the progress made – with the active involvement of trans members – in raising the profile of trans issues in UNISON.

This has included the establishment of an inclusive LGBT group, the setting up of a growing trans caucus with representation on the National Committee and the production of specific organising and bargaining materials relating to trans issues.

Conference notes that the Gender Equality Duty requires public bodies to take steps to end discrimination and harassment on grounds of gender reassignment in employment and training and that the Government is legislating to outlaw discrimination in goods and services on grounds of gender reassignment in order to comply with the EU Gender Directive.

Conference welcomes all of the progress to date but believes there is much more to be done to raise the issues of trans members within the union. In particular, awareness needs to be raised throughout the union that, as well as protecting members from discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment, we should also oppose discrimination, harassment and prejudice on the wider grounds of gender identity and expression. This is vitally important in order to support the human rights and equality of people such as:

1.Those who may be mistakenly perceived to be trans when they do not actually self-identify as such;

2.Those who do not intend to undergo gender reassignment but never-the-less have a gender identity and expression which is different to that of societal norms or the expectations of their gender assigned at birth;

3.Those born with physical intersex medical conditions;

4.Those who express their lesbian, gay or bisexual identity partly through non-conformance to gender stereotypes.

Conference is particularly disappointed with the proposals in the Discrimination Law Review Green Paper in preparation for a Single Equality Act (A Framework for Fairness), which fails to propose adequate equality protections for trans people. The Discrimination Law Review Green Paper fails to acknowledge the need for protection from discrimination on the grounds of actual or perceived gender identity or expression (referring to these as ‘lifestyle choices’). It also fails to protect trans or gender variant young people in school from transphobic and gender-stereotyped harassment and discrimination.

Conference calls therefore for the National LGBT Committee to:

A.Continue to give priority to the development of the trans caucus and ensure that trans issues continue to be a key focus of the Committee’s work;

B.Seek opportunities to work with UNISON Labour Link, TUC LGBT Committee, LGBT Labour, Press for Change and the Scottish Transgender Alliance to campaign for recognition of gender identity and expression within discrimination law;

C.Work with the National Executive Council (NEC) to ensure that UNISON’s structures and resources are inclusive of the needs of trans members;

D.Seek opportunities to raise awareness of these issues within the wider union at national, regional and branch level;

E.Work with sister unions through the TUC LGBT Committee to share best practice.