June is Pride month. Though not many of us are in central London to see it, the UNISON Centre is rainbow-lit in celebration.
It’s a time for joy. LGBT+ people and communities face layers of discrimination. I’ll come to that. But it’s right to start with the pride.
There have always been LGBT+ people, right across the globe. They may not always be visible, but the way in which LGBT+ people enrich society is clear to anyone who looks.
We can see it in our own union, with LGBT+ activists – and staff – everywhere. Local reps, equality leads, branch secretaries, regional convenor teams, service group executives, on the NEC and in our presidential team.
Those of us who are not LGBT+ pay tribute to this. Those of us who are LGBT+ deserve a big party!
We have marked many victories in LGB and trans rights over the decades. Not so much, recently. The pandemic has seen a devastating increase in hate crime, domestic abuse, homelessness and mental health issues for LGBT+ people.
LGBT+ rights – and particularly trans rights – are being tossed around in so-called culture wars, doing real damage to people’s lives. I have never thought my rights as a woman were harmed by giving rights to others or by fighting for equality and justice for all.
It’s more important than ever that UNISON is strong in our commitment to trans rights and to broader LGBT+ equality, defending our members and organising in the workplace.
We have the benefit of our dynamic LGBT+ self-organised group. Those of us who are not LGBT+ must be allies. We have a wealth of resources, from introductory guides to detailed organising and bargaining advice.
Join me in marking this year’s Pride with a commitment to take action for LGBT+ equality.