An inclusive movement, an inclusive union

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2016 National LGBT Conference
27 July 2016
Carried as Amended

UNISON strives to represent all its members and has led the way in lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members’ self-organisation, not only including LGBT members but putting us at the heart of leading our union.

Conference reiterates its belief that a growing number of people identify with sexual orientations or gender identities outside of or in addition to traditional concepts of LGBT, in particular identifying as “queer” or “non-binary”. A growing number of organisations have sought to include these groups in their structures through name changes, reserved seats or other approaches to inclusion.

Conference believes that queer and non-binary members are not currently explicitly acknowledged by UNISON’s structures and policies, although conference also acknowledges we do not need to change our name to be inclusive, and inclusion means more than simply name checking.

In recent years a number of motions have come to UNISON national LGBT conference seeking improved inclusion around gender and sexual orientation, including for queer and non-binary members.

Conference welcomes the work undertaken by many regions on this issue and the work the national LGBT committee has undertaken in addressing the points raised, as follows:

1. Organised discussion groups within the national LGBT committee, at national women’s conference, national women’s committee and at caucus network days to develop our understanding of these issues;

2. Organised sessions at regional activist training day around queer inclusion and gendered dress codes;

3. Ensured title options in UNISON’s membership database now include Mx as well as Mr and Ms;

4. Involved in drawing up national advice on non-binary or gender fluid members and seats reserved for women;

5. Updated the terminology in our publications and included advice on bargaining issues for non-binary workers;

6. Promoted the de-gendering of workplace policies;

7. Seeking to remove unnecessary gendering from our own policies and practices, including at LGBT conference;

8. Promoted a United Kingdom wide survey on issues for non-binary people

9. Worked with the police and justice service group on Freedom of Information requests to Chief Constables, including asking about provision for gender fluid workers;

10. Produced articles in Out in Unison about non-binary identity;

11. Timetabled a workshop on non-binary inclusion for LGBT conference 2016.

Conference believes the most obvious place for queer and non-binary members to organise is within the LGBT self-organised group because we face many similar and interlinked oppressions which stem from our heteropatriarchal society.

Conference therefore instructs the national LGBT committee to:

A. Continue discussion around whether our existing LGBT structures are inclusive enough of those who experience discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity;

B. Continue consideration of whether the materials we produce are sufficiently inclusive of those who experience discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity;

C. Consult members about ways we can be more inclusive and represent our queer and non-binary members better and seek examples where this is not happening;

D. Explore holding a queer workshop at LGBT conference in 2017;

E. Report back to LGBT conference 2017 on progress.