Rosie Sammut, LGBT+ Committee Secretary

UNISON Greater London
Congress House
Great Russell Street
London, WC1B 3LS

r.sammut@unison.co.uk

2024 will mark UNISON’s Year of LGBT+ Workers, launched at both the National LGBT+ Conference and at our Regional Council AGM on 8 February.

At our Regional Council AGM, it was unanimously agreed for the Year of LGBT+ Workers campaign to be made a regional priority, whereby branches are asked to promote the campaign as widely as possible, and to consider local bargaining, events and initiatives they could organise to participate. Your Regional Council Officers will be working in partnership with the Regional LGBT+ Committee to support this project and branches will be given regular updates throughout the year.

This dedicated campaign page on the website is designed to give you the tools to consider how you and your branch could organise around Year of LGBT+ Workers. Some of the key priorities are;

  • Increase recruitment and representation of LGBT+ members in our union
  • Challenging homophobia, transphobia and biphobia across all of our workplaces
  • Negotiating trans equality policies across employers in the region
  • Raising awareness around HIV and challenging the stigma
  • Encouraging LGBT+ participation in the GLA, mayoral and general elections

What can your branch do?

  • Add Year of LGBT+ Workers as a standing agenda item at branch committee meetings to give a place to discuss possible initiatives, activities and events your branch could do.
  • Go through the Year of LGBT+ Workers checklist to identify some branch priorities for the year
  • Elect a LGBT+ Officer and consider setting up a branch LGBT+ Self Organised Group (SOG)
  • Survey your members as an opportunity to identify any barriers and to find out more about the experiences of LGBT+ members
  • Participate in the regional delegations to pride events throughout London- email outinlondon@unison.co.uk to find out more
  • Encourage LGBT+ members to attend the regional LGBT+ open meetings – find out more on our events page
  • Digital organising for LGBT+ equality guide
Regional Council AGM delegates holding placards and a banner to celebrate 2024: Year of LGBT+ Workers.

Take action

Let us know what you're doing in your branch to celebrate Year LGBT+ Workers!

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    Events

    LGBT+ Open Committee Meeting

    5 September 2024 6:00pm–7:30pm

    Online MS Teams

    UNISON LGBT+ Greater London Committee welcomes UNISON LGBT+ members to attend their open date committee meetings in 2024, being held both face to face and virtually. Register here Outcome

    LGBT+ Committee AGM

    12 October 2024 10:30am–2:00pm

    UNISON Centre, Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY.

    Outcome

    LGBT+ Open Committee Meeting

    7 December 2024 1:30pm–3:00pm

    Online MS Teams

    UNISON LGBT+ Greater London Committee welcomes UNISON LGBT+ members to attend their open date committee meetings in 2024, being held both face to face and virtually. Register here Outcome

    Latest

    Let’s get organised – Year of LGBT+ Workers

    The regional LGBT+ Committee hosted a training and organising day on Friday 23 February

    Proud to be out in UNISON – London Pride 2023

    UNISON were proud to march in the London Pride parade this Saturday (1 July 23), with many members from across Greater London region taking part. Whilst the world of work has changed immeasurably for LGBT+ people, the fight is not over and we must remember – Pride is a Protest. LGBT+ people are still fighting […]

    LGBT+ History Month Event @ Queer Britain 16th February 2023

    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 […]

    UNISON out in force at London Pride

    50 years of pride in London celebrated on Saturday

    LGBT+ Parliamentary Event

    On 25 February the Regional LGBT+ Committee were hosted by Wes Streeting MP in the Old Shadow Cabinet Room at the Palace of Westminster. This event was to celebrate LGBT History Month, and the committee were joined by Labour MPs who used the opportunity to show their support to the LGBT+ community. Wes Streeting MP […]

    Recruiting and retaining LGBT+ members

    • Organise events and activities for members and staff in your workplace around Year of LGBT+ Workers. You could coincide the events with significant dates in the LGBT+ calendar;

    LGBT+ Calendar

    • Host a lunch and learn on LGBT+ history and trade unions – we have a presentation on our predecessor unions (COHSE, NALGO and NUPE) and how they started working for LGBT+ equality
    • Host a ‘How to be a good trans ally’ workshop, contact your Regional Organiser or outinlondon@unison.co.uk for support arranging this
    • Have dedicated LGBT+ recruitment stalls to publicise UNISON’s commitment to LGBT+ equality
    • Publicise the work you are doing to support LGBT+ members in the branch – whether that’s in your branch newsletter or email updates. We would also love to hear what you’re doing! Tell us at outinlondon@unison.co.uk
    • Host a film screening of an LGBT+ film, Queer Britain has collated a library of short free films; https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/collection/queer-britain

    Glossary of terms

    Often, people shy away from certain LGBT+ terminology, fearing they might inadvertently cause offense. This glossary is here to empower you with the vocabulary and understanding to navigate conversations with greater ease and confidence. It’s crucial to recognise that everyone has the autonomy to define themselves, and it’s impossible to encompass every individual expression within this glossary.

    Always prioritise listening and honouring a person’s chosen terms for themselves.

    Ally

    A term used to describe someone who supports and advocates for the equal rights of the LGBT+ community. It encompasses straight and cisgender allies, as well as those within the LGBT+ community who support each other e.g., a bisexual, cisgender man, advocating for the rights of a heterosexual, transgender woman.

    Asexual

    A person who does not feel sexual attraction or desire for other people.

    Aromantic

    A person who does not feel a romantic connection with other people.

    Biphobia

    The fear, hatred, or discomfort of those who are sexually or romantically attracted to more than one gender. Can often be displayed through words, actions, or behaviours such as negative stereotypes about bisexuality, denial that bisexuality is a genuine orientation, and/or bisexual erasure.

    Biromantic

    A person who feels a romantic connection to two or more genders.

    Bisexual

    A person who feels sexual attraction to two or more genders. Bisexual can mean attracted to men and women in the binary view of gender. Bisexual can also mean being attracted to your own and other genders.

    Cisgender

    A person whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.

    Coming out

    A phrase used to describe the act of sharing one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity with others. For the LGBT+ community, this does not just happen once. This is a continual process that occurs throughout all areas of a person’s life, both personally and professionally.

    Gay

    A person who is sexually attracted to another person of the same gender.

    Heterosexual

    A person who is sexually attracted to another person of the opposite gender.

    Heteroromantic

    A person who feels a romantic connection to the opposite gender.

    Homophobia

    The fear, hatred, or discomfort of those who are sexually or romantically attracted to the same gender. Can often be displayed through negative words, actions, or behaviours such as prejudice, stereotypes, insults, discrimination, and violence. All of the LGBT+ community can experience this in some way, no matter orientation or gender identity.

    Homoromantic

    A person who feels a romantic connection to only the same gender.

    Intersex

    Intersex is an umbrella term for differences in sex traits or reproductive anatomy. Intersex people are born with these differences or develop them in childhood. There are many possible differences in genitalia, hormones, internal anatomy, or chromosomes, compared to the usual two ways that human bodies develop.

    Some intersex traits are noticed at birth. Others don’t show up until puberty or later in life. Intersex people often face shame – or are forced or coerced into changing their bodies, usually at a very young age. Most surgeries to change intersex traits happen in infancy. The intersex community is slowly becoming more visible but is still and overlooked part of the LGBT+ community.

    Gender binary

    The classification of gender and gender expression being two distinct and strict categories of male/female and masculine/feminine. In most Western cultures, gender is seen as being an either/or choice. In this way of seeing gender, you can either be man or woman, boy or girl, nothing else. A big part of LGBT+ activism focuses on challenging this limiting view and being more inclusive of the full gender spectrum.

    Gender expression

    How an individual chooses to express their gender identity through their appearance, behaviour, demeanour, or characteristics.

    Gender fluid

    A person who does not identify with a single fixed gender or has a fluid or unfixed gender identity.

    Gender identity

    A person’s innate sense of their own gender which may or may not correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth. Note: a person’s gender identity is independent of their sexual/romantic orientation.

    Genderqueer

    A person whose gender identity does not fit the constraints of the gender binary, but instead views gender as something which is fluid and identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.

    Lesbian

    A woman who is emotionally, romantically and/or sexually attracted to other women. Women and those who identify as non-binary may use this term to describe themselves.

    Non-binary

    A non-binary person is someone whose gender identity does not fit the constraints of the gender binary, but instead views gender as a spectrum and may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside of these categories.

    Outing

    Exposing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity to others, without their permission. This could potentially lead to a harassment claim under the Equality Act 2010.

    Queer

    An umbrella term used by the LGBT+ community who may not identify or associate with the labels used to describe orientation or gender identity. It is often used as an all-encompassing term for identities within the community, also taking into account culture, politics and worldview. Once a derogatory term, this has recently been reclaimed by the community – however, some may still find it an offensive word.

    Questioning

    A person who may be unsure of or exploring their orientation or gender identity.

    Pansexual

    A person who feels sexual attraction to any gender. Attraction is not necessarily simultaneous, equal, in the same way, or to the same degree. Some pansexual people may describe themselves as being attracted to people based on personality, not gender.

    Panromantic

    A person who feels a romantic connection to any gender.

    Pronouns

    Used when referring to another person, linked to a person’s gender identity. These include but are not limited to male (he/him), female (she/her), non-binary/gender neutral (they/them) or (ze/zir). A person may use a mix of pronouns depending on their gender identity.

    Romantic Orientation

    Who we are romantically/emotionally attracted to based on the gender identity of ourselves and others. Note: a person’s romantic orientation is independent of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Sexual Orientation

    Who we are sexually attracted to. Note: a person’s sexual orientation is independent of their romantic orientation and gender identity.

    Transgender / Trans

    An umbrella term for people whose innate gender identity and/or expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

    A trans person is someone whose gender differs from the one they were assigned at birth. At birth, we are assigned a gender (boy or girl). For cisgender people, this gender feels right. The gender assigned to trans people at birth (boy or girl) is not right for them. Transgender people may identify as male or female, a trans man or trans woman, or they may use a different term such as agender, non-binary, or a term specific to their language, generation or culture.

    Transphobia

    The fear, hatred, or discomfort towards those whose gender identity or expression does not conform to the gender binary view. Can often be displayed through words, actions, or behaviours such as negative stereotypes, outing, and the deliberate misuse of pronouns.

    Transitioning

    The journey and process of changing an aspect of a person’s identity or presentation to ensure the individual can live more fully as the innate gender in which they identify as opposed to the gender they have been assigned at birth.

    This may include, but is not limited to medical transition, such as hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries; legal transition, which may include changing legal name and sex on government identity documents; and social transition, such as changing appearance, expression, name, and pronouns. This is a very personal and individual journey, as a Transgender person may choose to undergo some, all, or none of these processes.

    Recruiting an LGBT+ officer

    The branch LGBT+ Officer offers the important opportunity to bring about important changes for LGBT+ workers in the workplace. They work collaboratively with the rest of the Branch Committee and can also become involved in the regional LGBT+ open group. Some of the responsibilities include;

    Signposting members to supporting information and useful organisations
    Ensuring the branch has a wide range of resources for LGBT+ members, such as books, videos, leaflets, and making these resources accessible to all members within the branch
    Assisting in negotiations and bargaining on employer policies relevant to LGBT+ members
    Being a focal point for LGBT+ issues for members and raising issues affecting LGBT+ members, particularly those with service conditions implications with the branch committee
    Supporting LGBT+ members with issues generally and campaigning on issues important to LGBT+ members

    Becoming a UNISON Branch LGBT+ Officer fact sheet

    The next LGBT+ Officer training is:

    (online) 17 October 2024 | 10:00 – 16:00

    Register here

    LGBT+ open meetings

    UNISON holds a variety of open meetings for LGBT+ members to attend. Please see details below of upcoming meetings.

    Regional Meetings

    Greater London Region LGBT+ Open Meeting | Saturday 13 April | 12:30pm – 3:00pm

    Find out more 

    Greater London Region LGBT+ Open Meeting | Thursday 5 September | 6:00pm – 7:30pm

    Find out more

    Greater London Region LGBT+ Annual General Meeting (AGM) | Saturday 12 October | 12:30pm – 3:00pm

    Find out more

    Greater London Region LGBT+ Open Meeting | Saturday 7 December | 1:30pm – 3:00pm

    Find out more

    National Meetings

    Disabled LGBT+ Members Network Meeting | Thursday 27 June | 11:00am – 1:30pm

    Find out more

    Black LGBT+ Members Network Meeting | Thursday 11 July | 10:30am – 1:00pm

    Find out more

    Disabled LGBT+ Members Network Meeting | Thursday 11 July | 2:00pm – 4:30pm

    Find out more

    Transgender, Non-Binary and Gender Diverse Members Network Meeting | Friday 12 July | 10:30am – 1:00pm

    Find out more

    Bi+ Members Network Meeting | Friday 12 July | 2:00pm – 4:30pm

    Find out more