It’s international day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (IDAHOBIT) – a day to commemorate the removal of homosexuality from the World Health Organisation’s list of mental disorders, and is a call to action as LGBT+ people are faced with new and increasing attacks.
As a proud ally to the LGBT+ community, I’m concerned about the rise of LGBT+ hate crime and hate speech. The lack of progress in protecting LGBT+ people against abhorrent practices like conversion therapy is deeply troubling.
The UK’s reputation on LGBT+ equality has taken a dive since the Tories took power in 2010. Each year, ILGA Europe releases the Rainbow Map which ranks countries from 0 to 100% on different criteria from discrimination and harassment, family rights, hate crime and hate speech. Up until 2015, the UK topped the list. Last year, UK’s position plummeted to 14th, dropping 11% in the index. Our position has worsened again this year – we’ve dropped to 17th position and it’s shameful.
According to ILGA Europe, the UK’s position continues to decline because of the rise of hate crime against LGBT+ people, the failure to ban conversion therapy, the lack of progress on modernising the gender recognition act and the rise of anti-trans rhetoric in mainstream news and politics.
For our LGBT+ members, it is truly terrifying and that’s why UNISON is taking action. Equality is at the heart of everything we do and I’m proud of what UNISON has achieved on progressing LGBT+ rights. And there are lots of exciting LGBT+ campaign activities you can get involved in.
Our trans equality campaign has been really successful, with over one thousand UNISON members taking part in our trans ally training. We’ve grown our trans, non-binary and gender diverse activist base and we’re now training more trans, non-binary and gender diverse members to be able to deliver trans ally training sessions. With these tools, UNISON members are negotiating more inclusive policies that protect and support trans workers, non-binary and gender diverse members in workplaces up and down the country.
We are also building up our group of young LGBT+ activists, so that young LGBT+ people can get involved in UNISON and feel supported as they grow the union in their workplaces.
In our daily conversations with workers, LGBT+ rights at work come up over and over again. Joining a union is the best way for LGBT+ workers to defend and expand their rights at work. If you want to get involved, please contact the national LGBT+ team email@example.com.
If you’re an LGBT+ member and not part of your regional LGBT+ group, get involved! Here is a list of UNISON staff you can contact for more information in your region.