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2016 National LGBT Conference
1 January 2016

Conference welcomes the increase in the numbers of trans people participating in UNISON lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activities and events, both at a regional and national level, with more trans members than ever before attending both conference and the trans network meeting.

Conference we celebrate the achievements made around transgender issues over the last few years. There are several people who have a high profile and many more trans workers who do not have a high profile but nevertheless have a big impact on those around them by being such positive role models and go a long way to helping society change their views and become more accepting of anyone who is transgender. There have been very visible examples of ‘coming out’ which have attracted lots of press coverage which has escalated the person to a celebrity status and portrayed them in a very positive manner.

Society appears to be more accepting and we know by past experience exposure to a group along with education and information can be very productive in establishing more acceptance and tolerance.

There appears to be a perception however that all transgender people fit into two distinct types, male to female and female to male. We know there is a wide spectrum of transgender people and must take the opportunity of the current positive attitude from society to educate further, raising awareness of the various possibilities such as gender fluid or non-binary. This will help others to be themselves and hopefully comfortable to let others know they are transgender.

Conference believes we must work to ensure that all trans members are made to feel welcome, and that this includes members who are non-binary – those who do not identify as either male or female, or who identify as both male and female, or who identify as something entirely different.

Conference notes the 2014 LGBT conference resolution which called on the national LGBT committee to look into issues around language inclusivity in regard to the trans community, work towards publishing guidance on making sure that the language used is inclusive and ensure that all future publications from the national LGBT committee are inclusive in the language used.

Conference welcomes the work done by the national LGBT committee, for instance in updating the Transgender Workers Rights factsheet and the Gender Identity booklet to ensure that the language is up-to-date and inclusive of non-binary people.

However, conference acknowledges that there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that language used is inclusive, as language continues to evolve. People often lack the knowledge to realise when language used is not inclusive, and may also lack the tools to challenge this, particularly in the face of hostile or transphobic colleagues or managers.

Conference calls on the national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) committee to:

1. Promote UNISON “trans equality bargaining advice” and “guide for reps supporting trans members”, both of which include information on the diversity of people who fall within the transgender spectrum;

2. Facilitate non-binary members to be more active and more ‘visible’ should they choose to be;

3. Make it explicit in materials and publicity that non-binary people are welcome and included in the group, including the trans network;

4. Seek volunteers who are willing to put themselves forward as role models/ contacts to provide support and advice to other similar transgender members;

5. Produce information to empower trans people and allies to challenge inappropriate language, including when dealing with customers and clients;

6. Continue to promote and build our trans activist network, strengthening our LGBT group, and developing our knowledge-base of best practice in trans workplace equality;

7. Seek training on trans issues for stewards and branch officers as part of the union equality training and education programme;

8. Work with the national executive council for fully trans inclusive UNISON services, whether directly provided or provided via UNISON suppliers.