LGBT+ equality is top priority at health conference

In UNISON’s Year of LGBT+ workers, speakers stress the ongoing need to embed LGBT+ equality in health

Adam Williams moving a motion on UNISON's Yea of LGBT+ workers

The opening debates at UNISON’s health service group conference, which began this morning in Brighton, emphasised the union’s equalities work.

In the conference’s opening motion, the national LGBT+ committee addressed the Year of LGBT+ Workers and its importance in embedding LGBT+ equality in health.

Moving the motion for the committee, Adam Williams (pictured above) took the opportunity to stress the great work that has been done by the union on LGBT+ equality, but pointing out that there is still much needed, given that LGBT+ people experience significantly greater risks of abuse and violence.

He urged delegates to “educate ourselves about making our union and workplaces safer for our LGBT+ colleagues.”

A further speaker highlighted how, when governments attack LGBT+ rights, you can be sure they’ll also be targeting migrants’ rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights.

James Shepherd from the Northern region said that, as a newly-recruited activist, the year is vital. He called on branches to get involved – and particularly to access the union’s trans ally training – given that the Westminster government, and much of the UK’s news media, is demonising and attacking trans people.

Tania Pretswell, speaking on behalf of the national committee, told conference that the service group executive will be taking trans ally training. Ms Pretswell proudly cited the history of supporting lesbian and gay rights as NUPE – one of UNISON’s founding unions – going back to 1981.

Delegates unanimously backed the motion, which, among a range of calls, urged the executive to “encourage and support the development of activism amongst our health LGBT+ members”, and to “promote and encourage participation in equality training and trans ally training”.