- 2016 National LGBT Conference
- 26 July 2016
- Carried as Amended
Equality law in the United Kingdom (UK) has continued to update itself as time has passed in view of better knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing people, including those of transgender individuals. Although these laws ensure protection for transgender people the particulars of language are always changing. People working in the public service and those tasked with compiling policies, training programmes and strategic plans are often left confused as to what is considered acceptable terminology at the current time.
Conference, it is a well recognised fact that for unions and indeed UNISON, equality is at the forefront of how we champion for best practice across the UK. We are all aware of being on the receiving end of sighs and accusation of ‘pc gone mad’ but we as a union need to work together as always to improve things for our members and indeed the public. Awareness of transgender people is at the highest it has ever been but there continues to be instances of misgendering – the act of using the incorrect pronoun to refer to someone based on gender assumptions – in everyday life for transgender people.
Conference, in light of the distress the act of misgendering can cause a transgender individual we ask that conference try to tackle the issue with new guidance. This guidance should revolve around encouraging our work colleagues, and through them the public, to treat the question ‘what are your pronouns?’ as standard as asking someone their name.
As part of these new guidelines we ask that the national LGBT committee tackle the following areas:
1. Guidance on creating new work policies that make asking service users, co-workers, etc their pronouns a standard procedure;
2. UNISON’s support and influence in this campaign so our members feel able to challenge those who might resist this change to everyday communication;
3. Encourage and back all members in asking everyone they communicate with their pronouns.