Moving the first motion in a group debate that spanned the weekend at UNISON’s national LGBT conference in Harrogate, Eileen Best for the national committee explained that, after research, an organising subcommittee had decided to begin the process of changing the group’s name to LGBT+.
“We believe it is time to change and will make us more welcoming to future members,” she said.
Adding the ‘+’ sign to LGBT would take into account the way in which people identify in different ways – such as viewing themselves as ‘queer’ rather than LG or B – but “it does not change the remit of this group”.
Bev Miller, on behalf of the Black LGBT caucus, said that adding the ‘+’ will help to make the group more inclusive to people who do not identity with words that are predominantly white western.
James Anthony told delegates that “a name is what we say to ourselves and what we are. It’s also something that helps show the rest of the union and the rest of the world what we are.
Michael Daniel form Devon County described the motion was “vital”, adding that, “if it helps even one person have an easier path” then it is worth the effort.
Pointing out that definitions have changed down the years, Judy Richards from the national Black members’ committee recalled the fights for equality, including the struggle to change the group from being LG to LGBT.
The motions were passed unanimously. The name change will require a rule change, which needs a 2.3 majority vote to back it at national delegate conference.