To mark the 18th year of LGBT+ History Month, UNISON Greater London LGBT+ committee celebrated by hosting a networking reception at the Queer Britain Museum in Kings Cross, a museum that honours British LGBT+ history and culture and is the first ever LGBT+ museum in the UK.
Co-Chairs Anu Prashar and Terry Eastham introduced the event by highlighting the important work UNISON does for the LGBT+ community and its members in the workplaces, specifically around trans equality. The evening honoured Brianna Grey, a young trans woman who was recently brutally murdered, and gave homage to the vital work our union does on this issue and how equality is at the heart of everything we do.
There was a fantastic line up of speakers:
- Richard Angell – CEO of the UKS leading HIV and sexual health charity – Terrence Higgins Trust. Richard gave a passionate inspiring speech on the positive impact LGBT+ activism has had on the statistics for HIV testing and HIV diagnosis. The Terrence Higgins Trust is working to end new transmissions of HIV in the UK by 2030 and will continue to challenge the stigma associated with HIV.
- Sem Moema – London Assembly member – spoke about the unprecedented affordable housing and renting crisis in London and the ways in which she is campaigning for rent controls and supporting tenants and leaseholders. UNISON members are facing these issues living within London, so it is important for us to support those fighting for change.
- Jo Galloway – UNISON Greater London Regional Secretary – expressed how equal rights for the LGBT+ community has long been an important cause for the trade union movement and how UNISON has been on the frontline of every battle, being the first union to join Labour’s campaign for Lesbian and Gay Rights. UNISON continues to fight for equality and to end discrimination, and since 2005 each region has had its own LGBT+ Self Organised Group. Greater London’s own LGBT+ SOG has a tremendous reputation within UNISON, supporting Prides and campaigning on a range of issues. The SOG welcomes new members and has open meetings for LGBT+ members in the region. You don’t need to be ‘out’ in your branch to get involved.
Before the guests took a tour of the museum, they grouped together to take a picture to celebrate Heart Unions Week, the week that showcases the work all trade unions do and why they are vital for everyone at work.
The Queer Britain’s inaugural exhibition ‘We Are Queer Britain’, marks the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride March. It is a riot of voices, objects, and images from the worlds of activism, art, culture, and social history covering over 100 years of queer life. The guests were able to end their evening taking a tour of the exhibition, which was able to give a tangible meaning to the Queer Britain’s values of ‘Feel Seen, Live Free and Speak Your Truth’.