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2019 National Women's Conference
25 October 2018

Conference notes that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) self organised group (SOG) has always sought to be fully representative of its diverse membership, in line with UNISON’s rules. It notes that the LGBT group works with inclusive, umbrella definitions of bisexual and transgender. It’s bi network is for all members who feel attraction to more than one gender, and it’s trans network is for all types of self-identifying trans people; for people with trans backgrounds and members whose gender identity does not fit into the gender binary i.e. non-binary members.

However, despite these inclusive definitions some members, including women members, who the LGBT group considers to be part of the group are put off. The LGBT group hears repeatedly that when women members attend its meetings, they feel welcomed and included, but before they attend they had been unsure. This is particularly the case for members who do not personally use the label LGBT about themselves, for example women who identify as queer or pansexual. It is clear that there must be many other women who are put off and never get over that barrier.

Conference notes that the national LGBT committee has undertaken consultation during 2018 on making the LGBT SOG fully inclusive. This followed a motion from the national young members’ forum to 2017 LGBT conference highlighting the growth in the number of people, and young people in particular, identifying their sexual orientation and gender identity in many different ways beyond a binary definition, and expressing their preference to see the LGBT group move to organise on an LGBT+ (plus) basis.

The overwhelming majority of the consultation responses, and all the regional group responses, were in favour of the proposal to change the group’s name to LGBT+, and the national LGBT committee therefore submitted a motion to 2018 national LGBT conference proposing changing the name.

The consultation also sought views on what the LGBT group should be doing to make the group fully inclusive. The responses will be considered as part of the national LGBT committee’s on-going work to improve its policies and practices.

Putting the + in the group’s name would not change its existing remit of being a self-organised group for all members who experience prejudice because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, but would demonstrate an inclusiveness beyond that conveyed by our current name so that women who we consider to be members are not put off from participating.

Conference therefore calls on the national women’s committee to :

1)Work with the National LGBT committee to circulate information to branch and regional women’s groups on what the name change would mean;

2)Encourage regional and branch women’s groups to campaign for support for any rule change proposal from LGBT Conference to National Delegate Conference regarding changing the name of the group to LGBT+;