Reclaiming Pride

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Conference
2009 National LGBT Conference
Date
4 July 2009
Decision

In light of the current economic crisis, threats to jobs and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) services due to lack of funding, the rise of the far right and an increase in homophobic hate crime, there can be no doubt that the need for a strong, political movement to promote and defend the LGBT community’s interests is as clear today as it has ever been. Pride events have always been, and must remain, key to driving forward social progress and effectively defending the interests of the LGBT community at home and abroad.

Conference deplores recent moves towards increasingly commercialised Pride events where business sponsorship often predominates to the detriment of prides as inclusive, accessible, political events. Conference notes the key role that can be played by member-led organisations such as trade unions and student unions in reclaiming prides as political events belonging to the whole LGBT community.

Conference notes that:

1.UNISON has long campaigned for all Pride events to have a political focus, pushing our particular trade union perspective in this;

2.That the National Union of Students (NUS) passed policy on ‘pride is a protest’ similar to ours at its last annual LGBT conference;

3.That co-operation and joint working between UNISON and the NUS in Manchester around ‘pride is a protest’ this year highlights the potential viability of working closely together in the future on a national level.

4.Responsibility for UNISON participation in regional pride events lies primarily with regional LGBT groups.

Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to:

AWork jointly with sister trade unions, the TUC LGBT Committee and the NUS wherever possible to oppose the commercialisation of pride events and promote events that are political as well as being inclusive and accessible;

BHelp facilitate contact, in conjunction with our colleagues working at a national level within the NUS, between local student unions and UNISON regional groups with the aims set out in the previous point;

CRaise our concerns regarding the inclusion of commercial organisations which disregard or undermine LGBT rights at home or abroad in UK pride parades or events. This should include considering requesting the withdrawal of UNISON sponsorship (not including fees paid for parade entries or stalls) from pride events where organisers disregard our concerns with a view to actively supporting events which are genuinely community based;

DEncourage each region to continue to make an entry into their local Pride march(es), where resources allow, highlighting political issues which affect LGBT workers and the struggle for LGBT liberation, both nationally and internationally.