LGBT Conference Report 2017

COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION

LGBT CONFERENCE

21st NOVEMBER 2017 – CITY HALL, BRISTOL

 

Theresa Clark, LGBT Advisory Committee Chairperson

Theresa gave thanks to the Advisory Committee for the diligence and efforts throughout the past year. She wished all the delegates a successful conference and welcomed the two guest speakers Sarah Buckle from Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide) and Deborah Gold from the National Aids Trust, and not forgetting our General Secretary, Dave Ward. She emphasised how the advertisement of LGBT rights is paramount in this day and age.

Linda Roy, CWU Equality Officer

Linda said that this was the last of the four Equality Conferences this year. She thanked Bristol for their hospitality and the SW Regional Committee for the assistance in running the events. Linda said the CWU punches well above its weight in leading the way in LGBT rights. She felt privileged in attending the Pride events throughout the year – Plymouth, Bristol and Cardiff. Each of these events celebrated life, love and liberty, and not forgetting hope and emphasising that getting the message out there to the populist is the principal aim. Since 1990 mammoth steps have been taken for equal rights, there has been battles won but unfortunately lives lost. She reiterated the fight is not over, homophobia etc still exists and the struggle must continue not only here but throughout the world.

Dave Ward, General Secretary

Dave welcomed all to the Conference. He stated that he recognises the Trade Union movement stands for bridging every divide, and that we stand up for everybody. He praised all the LGBT reps in all the workplaces in all the unions around the world, and he said how he appreciates the struggles and difficulties they have in their attempts to reach out to the masses. However, the work must continue and progress in accomplishing even greater steps in the future for equality in every department.

Standing Orders were agreed. Conference were reminded that only delegates were allowed to speak at the rostrum.

Section 1 – Industry Issues.

There were no motions submitted.

Section 2 – National Issues

MOTION 1 – Mover Bristol & District Amal, seconded Formerly

The motion covered the Northern Ireland law, where same sex marriages are still outlawed. The mover reported on the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) and their continuing vetoing of the democratic will of the Northern Ireland Assembly. On the 1st July this year there was a 3,000-strong march of people supporting the bill. Northern Ireland is the only country in the UK to ban such marriages. The motion instructed the LGBT Advisory Committee to work with the NEC in its continuing defence of equality legislation across the UK, to support all campaigns that seek to expand same sex marriage legislation in Northern Ireland, and finally oppose the alliance between the Conservative Party and the DUP.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

MOTION 2 – Mover LGBT Advisory Committee, seconded formerly.

The mover reported that it has not been a great year for Trans Women. Exclusion from events, attacks from certain people in the media and 12 murdered! The mover added that there is still a huge fight to be had, as we are socially at the bottom of the pile and that vulnerable people are self-harming and committing suicide. The motion called for the LGBT Advisory Committee (LGBTAC) to campaign to try to ensure that Trans Women are not discriminated against, both in their daily lives and political activity.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

MOTION 3 – Mover London Regional Equality Committee, seconded formerly.

This motion covered the issue of homophobic intimidation. The alleged intimidation is down from 5 years ago, but it still continues. The level still needs to be reduced dramatically in schools and by family members through indirect bullying. The motion instructs the LGBTAC along with the NEC to work with other unions that are involved in education, the TUC and other like-minded groups to do whatever possible to reduce this level.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

MOTION 4 – Mover Greater London Combined, seconded formerly.

Maria Exall disseminated information on discrimination, prejudice, hate crimes and in many cases violence on transgender people in our society. Scotland have just passed a gender recognition act which will help in combating this issue. The motion asks to support a social model of gender reassignment so that trans people are not reliant on medical diagnosis of illness. To support the right of people to be acknowledged as gender non-binary at work and in wider society. Also, to maintain monitoring at work and in society which could then help identify discrimination against women and men. Finally, to allow women and trans women to continue accessing safe spaces such as domestic violence agencies and rape crisis centres.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

MOTION 5 – Mover Plymouth and Cornwall, seconded formerly.

The mover brought the conference’s attention to the fact that the LGBT Rainbow marches were poorly attended by CWU activists and members. This was blamed on the lack of promotion and advertisement through the media. The motion instructs the LGBTAC to work with the Equality Department, NEC and Communications Department to develop a LGBT awareness week across all social media platforms for a consecutive 7-day period during the summer of 2018.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

MOTION 6 – Mover Great Mersey & SW Lancs Amal, seconded formerly.

The motion covered the plight of homeless people. It is estimated that 1 in 4 homeless youth identifies as LGBT+. It is a fact that 85% of LGBT + young people face some level of rejection by family members. No young person should have to choose from a safe place and who they are. There was a case in Manchester, during 1999, where a 16-year-old boy died. He was demonised by the press for being a ‘rent boy’ and died by ‘misadventure’. In fact, it unfolded that he was brutally beaten up because of who he was. The Albert Kennedy Trust mission’s statement of intent is that “to ensure all lesbian, gay, bisexual and Trans young people are able to live in accepting, supportive and caring homes, by providing a range of services to meet the individual needs of those who would otherwise be homeless or living in a hostile environment. The motion calls for the LGBT+AC to contact the Albert Kennedy Trust to find ways in which the CWU can promote their charity and offer any support that we can.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

Sarah Blackie, PAPYRUS

Sarah opened by stating that suicide is the leading cause of young deaths in the UK. We believe that many young suicides can be prevented. She explained what PAPYRUS does:

  • Provide confidential help and advice to young people and anyone worried about a young person
  • Help others to prevent young suicide by working with and training professionals
  • Campaign and influence national policy

 

She added that over 200 schoolchildren in the UK are lost every year to suicide. In 2015, 1,659 young people took their own lives. That equates to over four per day. Every year many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

We are the national charity for the prevention of young suicide.

We draw from the experience of many who have been touched personally by young suicide across the UK and speak on their behalf in our campaigns and in our endeavours to save young lives. Together we believe that with appropriate support and education, many young suicides can be prevented.

We deliver awareness and prevention training, provide confidential support and suicide intervention through HOPELineUK, campaign and influence national policy, and empower young people to lead suicide prevention activities in their own communities.

 

DEBORAH GOLD, Chief Executive of NAT

NAT (National Aids Trust) is the UK’s HIV policy and campaigning organisation. Deborah joined the organisation in 2014, and led it through a successful legal challenge which resulted in England launching a large-scale PrEP trial, which forced NHS England to fund a PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) trial for HIV prevention. It is anticipated that the trial will include at least 10,000 participants over the three years. Previous to this she worked for Galop, a LGBT anti-violence group, Shelter and Stonewall Housing.

She said that their vision is a world in which people living with HIV are treated as equal citizens with respect, dignity and justice, are diagnosed early and receive the highest standards of care, and in which everyone knows how and is able to protect themselves from HIV infection. She added that Promoting public health through effective HIV prevention and early diagnosis of HIV infection is paramount along with the promotion of the rights, dignity, health and wellbeing of people affected by HIV, or at risk of HIV infection, in the UK.

It is also extremely important that advancing the education of the public in general (and in particular policy makers, opinion formers and decision-makers) is principal in order to increase awareness and understanding of HIV and AIDS and eradicate HIV-related stigma, discrimination and inequality.

 

MOTION 7 – Mover LGBTAC, seconded formerly

The motion called for the LGBTAC to build on the work that has already been done in attendance at UK Gay Pride Events across the land. It also states that this work should continue in conjunction with the regional equality committees, the NEC and other trade unions and community bodies to continue to increase the CWU visibility at Pride festivals.

The mover stated that it is very important that we ‘fly the flag around the UK’ and attend as many of these events as possible.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

 

MOTION 8 – Mover North West Regional Equality, seconded formerly

The motion outlined the problem of transition and the process of changing, which can cause specific issues and therefore more assistance and guidance to individuals in understanding the issues of transition is needed. Therefore, a fact sheet needs to be produced within the Equality Toolkit. The fact sheet, must however, be distributed to all branch secretaries to enable the widest circulation. The LGBTAC are instructed accordingly.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

MOTION 9 – Mover London SW Postal, seconded formerly.

The motion explained the issue of homosexuality in sport. An example of this is Adam Harrison and his ‘highs and lows’ of attempting to play rugby, a sport which he is passionate about, and his fears of never finding a team. The IGR (International Gay Rugby) now has Adam as a coach/player and an inspiration to the young and a new generation of LGBT players. The motion also instructed the LGBTAC to work with the NEC and other organisations such as mentioned and arrange a day of support on a match day in Bradford.

There was opposition from the LGBTAC. John Monk stated that the club (Bradford) has dealt with this issue in the past and the abusive ‘supporter/s’ have been banned indefinitely from all games. The motion does not tackle, sorry for the pun! The real issue of homophobia in sports. He asked conference to oppose the motion.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried………just.

 

MOTION 10 – Mover LGBTAC, seconded formerly

This motion followed the wording on motion 6. There was technical opposition from the floor stating what we already have, will not make it onto the General Conference Pad so there is no point voting for it!

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried.

 

Motion 11 – Mover London and West, seconded formerly.

The motion embraced the issue of guidance for representatives. Although the publication of ‘The Cost of Being Out Of Work’ by the TUC in 2017, a better understanding of the experience of harassment and discrimination of LGBT workers in Britain. These workers still experience discrimination by colleagues, managers and clients. Development of guidance for reps is imperative. A complete re-training review needs to be completed on transgender and other sexual gender identities. Lastly, the extension of training needs to also cover the Equality Act 2010.

Your Branch Delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

Motions to Annual Conference

Branch Voted For: General 4 and 10

Motions Agreed on: General 4 and 10

 

There were 94 delegates from 61 branches in attendance. 60 branches not in attendance.

 

CCTV Delegates

Steve Phillips & Heather Mason

Observer & Author

Gordon Mason

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