UNISON has a long and proud history supporting the LGBT+ community, and ensuring that their voices are heard at all levels of the union. The 31st of March is International Transgender Day of Visibility, and Liv Naylor – co-chair of the region’s LGBT+ Self Organised Group – explains the significance of the occasion, and the avenues of support that UNISON has been able to provide her with:
“For me Trans Day of Visibility is important as at the present time it really feels like there is pressure from transphobes to try and roll-back the protections afforded to trans people. The focus is very much on male to female transition and the transition of under 16’s, which is to the exclusion of female to male transitions. And don’t even get me started on how lacking provisions are if you dare to identify outside of a gender binary! The issues that affect trans people often affect other parts of the LGBT+ community, so to me it feels like trans rights are being attacked with a view to later attacking other parts of hard-won equality legislation, as we have sadly already seen in many other countries.
“For me personally, UNISON has given me the confidence to be a visible non-binary person. This stems from the support I got from my local branch when I initially came out, and with their encouragement I am now delighted to be a part of the LGBT+ committee, who I also represent at regional meetings. The group itself has proven repeatedly to have trans members backs, with local issues receiving getting a regional response, such as trainees at a college being asked to supply their birth gender unnecessarily, the rising transphobia in social media and the issues affecting trans individuals due to the national quarantine to name but a few.
“The solidarity I’ve been shown by colleagues across the union has been humbling to put it simply – there is no doubt in my mind that UNISON is a safe space for trans and non-binary people. Being able to connect with so much support blows any transphobic rhetoric out of the water and has really helped me while I continue my personal transition and help others with their journey as well.”
Kate Marr, the LGBT+ committee secretary, promised that trans rights will continue to be a regional priority.
“It’s important to me as our secretary that the LGBT+ Group gives a platform to our trans members, and a safe space for them to express themselves. UNISON will never stand for intolerance, and we are always here for our members when they need us.”
If you would like to show solidarity with the trans community, then why not consider adding your preferred pro-nouns to your email signature or social media biography, for example ‘she/her’? This simple gesture is an effective way promoting inclusivity, by showing that you will not presume another person’s gender. UNISON also has some fantastic resources to support Trans members, and help you become a good ally.
The South East LGBT+ Self Organised group always welcomes new members. If you are interested in finding out more then please email firstname.lastname@example.org