SOGs – “Hands off they are ours and we need them”

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2007 National LGBT Conference
26 July 2007
Carried as Amended

This Conference welcomes the campaigning and hard work over the years, which has resulted in increased understanding between the separate self organised groups (SOGs), caucuses and strands within our diverse communities and workforces.

Conference further welcomes the various legal changes leading to better protection against discrimination for different groups, and the potential to bring these strands together under a single “Equalities Act”.

Conference also welcomes any and every development that will lead to closer working with, and more understanding between, the various SOGs and caucuses.

However Conference is concerned that we are moving towards greater equality at the expense of less diversity. There appears to be a growing movement that is of the opinion that, with the bringing together of the agenda under one umbrella of “equality” there is less need for separate organising by the diverse strands under that umbrella.

This Conference is adamant that as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) members we have issues and concerns that are separate from the issues and concerns of other groups. This Conference is further adamant that because of the continued specific prejudices and discrimination faced by lesbians, gay men, bisexual people and transgendered people we need to retain the absolute right to self organise within the structures of the Union at every level.

Conference therefore instructs the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Committee to:

1.Lead a pro-active campaign to emphasise our right to self organise as LGBT people at every level.

2.Ensure that if there are any moves within the Union to curtail the current levels of self organisations of LGBT strands that they are vigorously opposed.

3.Liaise and work with the other SOGs; Black Members, Disabled Members and Women Members and recommend to them they too vigorously oppose any move in this direction.

Conference believes the best way to defend LGBT self-organisation in UNISON is to ensure an LGBT group is established in every single branch. Conference therefore urges regional LGBT groups to give consistent attention to organising and to seek to ensure LGBT activists in the branches get the training and support they need.