- 2013 National Disabled Members' Conference
- 7 June 2013
Conference notes that that there are about 1.5 million people in the UK with a learning disability and that approximately 8%-10% of the UK population are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT).
Disability discrimination and discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity still occurs in the workplace and UNISON has persistently campaigned for more protection for Disabled and LGBT employees and this has been a factor in the development of the protections contained with the Equality Act 2010
• Many people still don’t consider people having a learning disability as “capable” of being LGBT
• Many people with a learning disability who express gender variant behaviour are often viewed as confused and a behaviour to be changed rather than supported to express their identity
• Many people don’t recognise that people with a Learning Disability may be in happy and successful same sex relationships and respected the same as a different gender relationship
• Often workplace LGBT networks and employer led campaigns fail to recognise the diversity of the workforce and that some LGBT people are also disabled which may include a learning disability
• Many people with a Learning Disability are unable to access or are not encouraged to participate within workplace LGBT campaigns and groups
• When Discrimination occurs in the workplace, dual protected characteristics recognising that someone may be suffering discrimination because they are both disabled and a LGBT person is often not considered
• People who do not feel empowered to be themselves and bring their whole selves to work will experience higher levels of stress and have their personal well being significantly impaired.
Conference calls on the National Disabled Members’ Committee to:
1)Work with the UNISON National LGBT Committee to campaign and recognise that disabled people can be LGBT, highlighting in particular that people with a learning disability have the same diverse sexualities and gender identities as everyone else.
2)Contact the Minister for Women and Equalities and the minister for disabled people to highlight the issue of dual discrimination not being protected under the equality act and the impact this has on disabled LGBT people particularly those with a learning disability.
3)Highlight via any communication means available to them to all branches the importance of people being able to bring their whole self to work regardless of their disability, sexuality or gender identity. This should include calling on branches to work with their local employers to make sure this takes place.