Delegates back call to improve representation

Under-representation – particularly among young members – cited as a problem that needs to be tackled

UNISON LGBT members pledged to work to tackle the under-representation – particularly of young members – at conference in Llandudno this afternoon.

Opening the session, EG Kingsley Grace for the national committee urged delegates to work to “empower a new generation of activists – young people are our future”.

Another delegate explained how their branch had created mentoring and buddying schemes to help and support new reps.

In other debates, the Black LGBT caucus stressed the need to stand together for equality and called on the national committee to help “reclaim and reframe the national conversation … to replace the politics of hate” in the wake of an EU referendum vote that had emboldened racists.

Also for the Black LGBT caucus, Bev Miller stressed the need to ensure that information about the group’s activities needs to be better advertised for Black LGBT members.

Further motions in a busy afternoon included HIV prevention – particularly in relation to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which has been shown to vastly reduce infection rates.

On dementia care and the LGBT community, Louise Ashworth stressed the importance of all disabled people being treated with a human rights-based approach – and this includes dementia.

Janet Royston for the retired members pointed out that dementia has taken over from cancer as the medical world that causes most dread today.

Noting that she lives alone, she explained her own fears about how, as an LGBT person, she would be treated if she were to be diagnosed with dementia.

Other visitors to the rostrum also pointed delegates to UNISON’s Save Care Now campaign as a way of getting involved in campaigning around the issue.

Conference also discussed the issue of end-of-life care for LGBT people, with Lynn Sheridan from Scotland thanking Marie Curie for research that that charity has carried out into the issues, showing how discrimination can even impact on an individual’s final days.

Delegates also welcomed the union’s new private contractor’s forum and stressed the need to continue organising in private companies, and of defending and fighting for rights for LGBT people.