Working globally for LGBT rights

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2016 National LGBT Conference
28 July 2016

Conference welcomes the establishment in June 2015 of the All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights, which “aims to support and enhance LGBT rights around the world and to ensure that the UK, other governments and civil society collectively adopt the most effective policies to champion and protect such rights”.

It notes that the APPG’s first major initiative was to conduct an inquiry entitled “The UK’s stance on international breaches of LGBT rights” and that it published a report on the findings of that inquiry in April 2016. The inquiry found that:

1. There is a pressing need for the development and implementation of a coherent, co-ordinated cross-departmental government strategy for promoting equality for LGBT people around the world;

2. Departmental commitments to support the rights of LGBT people need to receive meaningful investment and political support to ensure effective implementation, including in the Department for International Development (DFID), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and the Home Office.

Conference further notes that the recommendations in the report included:

3. The development of a cross-departmental strategy for promoting equality for LGBT people globally across the FCO, DFID, Government Equalities Office and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (as it was then called);

4. The establishment of a stakeholder steering group, drawn from civil society, business and other stakeholders, to help guide the development and implementation of this strategy;

5. The APPG should work with civil society organisations in the United Kingdom (UK) and internationally and utilise its convening power to highlight issues and agree effective responses.

Conference welcomes these recommendations, and the recognition in the report that “we need to ensure that the stances taken in the UK, whether by the government, politicians, civil society or businesses are effective, and also that interventions are not counter-productive” and that “it is vital for stakeholders in parliament, government, the private sector and civil society to take their lead from local LGBT communities”.

Conference notes that the report only has a brief reference to trade unions, which recognises that “there is a particular role” for the trade union movement in relation to workplace discrimination, and that there is a need for further research to “understand better the role of trade unions in establishing good practice regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, disseminating that good practice and building international consensus on anti-discrimination and anti-homophobia in global trade union forums.”

Conference therefore instructs the national LGBT committee, working with the Trades Union Congress and other organisations as appropriate, to seek:

A. Discussions with the APPG about the role of trade unions and the work of UNISON to promote LGBT equality internationally;

B. Implementation of the recommendations relating to the development of a coherent, co-ordinated cross-departmental government strategy for promoting equality for LGBT people globally, and to the allocation of the resources needed to ensure effective implementation of departmental commitments;

C. Representation in the stakeholder group.