UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

LGBT members, Stronger Together in UNISON

#ulgbt12 UNISON is the only union that brings together such a large gathering of LGBT activists, Roger McKenzie, Assistant General Secretary pointed out in his address to UNISON's LGBT conference in Brighton this weekend. His impassioned speech captured the mood of conference, which has spend much of the time discussing the devastating impact of the Tory led Government's austerity and attacks on workers. Roger highlighted not only where UNISON is fighting but where we are winning such as Edinburgh, Southampton and Cornwall.

UNISON President Chris Tansley addressed the conference and spoke movingly about his experience working with LGBT care leavers and how the cuts have stripped away the vital support needed. Chris also talked about his Presidential Project supporting Hope Not Hate, with conference debating important motions on the far right and the English, Welsh and Scottish Defence Leagues.

Some of the most moving speeches of the conference related to people's experiences of discrimination and especially hate crimes. Disturbingly one of our delegates was subject to a Transphobic attack in Brighton, and the perpetrators arrested.

UNISON's LGBT group has a proud history of international work, and the Conference had an important first as our guest speaker via Skype from Palestine Haneen Maikey who is the director of the Palestinian LGBT organisation ALQaws and conference passed a timely motion on Palestine given the onslaught against Gaza. The LGBT campaign particularly supports the No to Pinkwashing campaign which stop the Israeli Government using LGBT rights as a smoke screen.

Overall it was clear that UNISON's LGBT members concerns are the concerns of all our members who are seeing their services decimated and their living standard falling.

James Anthony