The voice of LGBT+ members of the PCS Union

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Festive message from Proud

As we approach the end of 2018, I wanted to take a moment to write to you to thank you for your support of Proud during the past year.

This year has certainly been a challenging one for Proud a year which we have come through successfully and in a much stronger position following our Annual General Meeting and the election of our new National Committee in November.

As the newly elected chair of Proud, I am incredibly excited for the coming year and taking forward the priorities of Proud and our members, as well as working alongside the rest of our union to continue to improve how we represent LGBT+ members within PCS.

On behalf of the Proud National Committee, I would like to pass on our season’s greetings to each of you and our hope that you enjoy a relaxing festive period, however you may be spending it.

Unfortunately we recognise that for many LGBT+ people, this time of year can be incredibly difficult for some within our community for reasons that are often out with their control.

If you, or someone you know, needs someone to talk to over the festive period then please note that the national Switchboard LGBT+ helpline is available from 10am-10pm every day, 365 days a year on 0300 330 0630.

Alternatively, if you are on Twitter you can take part in #JoinIn, a campaign which helps users link up on Christmas Day, whether you’re looking for someone to talk to or if you have a bit of time to offer for someone else.

Again, I’d like to take an opportunity to say a massive thank you for your continued support in 2018, and here is to continuing our work together into 2019 and beyond, from all of us in PCS Proud.


Kris Hendry
Chair of PCS Proud

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Proud Members Survey on GRA Reform

Earlier this month, as part of our considerations for Proud’s recommendations on the Government Gender Recognition Act consultation, our National Committee, in collaboration with PCS Equality Department, undertook a survey of Proud members to understand their views.

A copy of our findings and recommendations are now available below.

Proud – GRA Report

Our recommendations will now be submitted to the next meeting of PCS’ National Executive Committee in September, where our union’s consultation response will be discussed and agreed by the NEC.

Proud would like to record our thanks to all those members who were able to take part in our survey, and for giving us their open and honest feedback regarding the GRA and on trans equality within PCS generally.

Members comments on trans equality in PCS will be considered as part of our ongoing Proud Survey, which is open to all PCS members and will remain open until noon on Friday 14th September 2018.

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to make sure you have your say on how we take forward wider LGBT+ equality issues within PCS by completing the survey using the link above.

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Open Letter to PCS General Secretary, Mark Serwotka

Proud have today written to our Union’s General Secretary, Mark Serwotka, following the publication of an open letter in the Morning Star on Wednesday 4th July regarding reformation of the Gender Recognition Act.

A copy of our letter can be viewed below.

Open Letter from PCS Proud to Mark Serwotka

UPDATE – Following our letter, Mark responded to us on Thursday 12th July. A copy of Mark’s response can be viewed below.

Richard Jones and Saorsa Tweedale.12july

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7th Annual STUC LGBT+ Workers’ Conference

The 7th Annual STUC LGBT+ Workers’ Conference will be taking place on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th June 2018. All Proud members based in Scotland who are interested in being part of this year’s delegation are now invited to submit their nominations.

The Conference will take place in the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, Clydebank, Glasgow, G81 4SA with travel, overnight accommodation and subsistence costs met by PCS. (If you have any additional requirements then please email to advise).

STUC Equality Conferences off an excellent opportunity to develop experience in debating motions in a relaxed, safe environment as well as taking part in workshops as part of the Conference weekend. It also offers a unique chance to network and build friendships with fellow LGBT+ workers’ from across the Trade Union movement.

All members who wish to stand for the Conference delegation should complete a delegate nomination form , available below, and submit to PCS Scotland at using the subject line “STUC LGBT+ Nomination.”

All nominations must be received by no later than 12pm on Wednesday 14th February 2018.

A full delegation meeting will be held prior to Conference to discuss the agenda and agree our Union’s position on the motions put forward. Full support will be available for delegates from Proud National Committee’s Scotland rep, Kris Hendry, as well as full time officers from PCS Scotland.

If you have any questions then please feel free to contact Proud. All contact will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Delegate Nomination Form

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Proud Wales Members write to David Davies MP (Monmouthshire)

The voice of LGBT Members in the PCS Union


Dear Mr Davies MP


PCS Proud has members who work in public service across the United Kingdom. Some of our members work in your constituency in South East Wales.

We are writing to you in respect of your publication in the South Wales Argus today (31/07/2017).

Your update to constituents is, at very least, harmful to those who identify as Trans. We would like to point out the following parts of the article and provide you with our views.

“It is an absolute given that we should show understanding and compassion towards anyone confused about their gender.”

A lot of trans people are not confused about their gender. Some people, quite simply, identify as follows:

  • A gender which is different to that which they were assigned at birth
  • Multiple genders
  • No gender at all

The fact that a trans person may identify as differently to the way you personally would expect, does not mean that they are confused. It would rather seem that you are the one who is confused.

“However, we cannot consider the rights of transgender people without considering the rights of others.”

Trans people are human, therefore trans rights are human rights. The right to use a toilet, use a changing room or services that are linked to your gender identity is nothing new, people have been doing it for many years. Why should it be different for someone who is trans?


“If a man decides to register him/herself as a woman, should he/she have the right to use women’s toilets, changing rooms, hospital wards, etc.? This would clearly have an impact on the rights of women using those facilities.”

A man would not decide to register himself as a woman. This is the fundamental point that you are missing. This paragraph cheapens and insults people. Nobody chooses their gender. Did you choose your gender?

Secondly, where you talk about the impact on the rights of women using facilities, this is offensive. If a trans woman uses a hospital ward, toilet or changing room, it is because she IS a woman, not a man in women’s clothing….

“I would maintain that anyone in possession of male genitalia should be expected to use male facilities regardless of what gender they feel they are.”

Why would you maintain that gender is what is in someone’s pants? Genitalia is not gender identity.

PCS Proud maintains that gender identity is what is inside, not which genitals you have been born with. This kind of narrow mindset brings in a Trans Exclusionary position in society which is not helpful, but rather harmful.

This kind of ‘Trump-esque’ style politics creates division and hatred. Since the vote on Brexit, it is well documented that hate crimes have risen. We need to work to defeat hateful views, not perpetuate myths that all trans people are ‘men in dresses’ or ‘women with beards’.

We note that your report in the Argus is not actually founded on any fact or research but solely what you believe and your opinion, which clearly is not a learned one.

One’s journey with their sexuality or gender identity is not one that needs understanding by the masses, but accepting by the masses. Not everyone is the same, we are all different and it is in our difference that society actually has a lot in common.

It is clear that your view is at odds with that of the Minister, Justine Greening. Whilst the Prime Minister herself has admitted that her viewpoint and opinion on LGBT rights has changed as time has elapsed, I would have hoped that yours would have too, yet it seems as though you remain particularly narrowminded on subjects that you have little knowledge about.

If you wish to meet with a PCS Proud Representative for Wales so we can discuss the matter further, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Yours sincerely


PCS Proud Wales


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National LGBT Survey

Proud’s National Committee welcomes the launch of the Government Equalities Office National LGBT survey.

We recognise and celebrate the many legal advances that have been achieved over the past 50 years following the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. However we are also acutely aware, from feedback from members and many of the stories reported in the press, that many instances of LGBT based hate and discrimination continue to exist today.

Proud believes that the Government’s National LGBT survey offers an excellent opportunity to help shape the future of the LGBT rights movement and encourages all Proud members to consider taking part and making their voices heard through the survey.

Proud Chair, Richard Jones, commented “It is vitally important that we ensure that we are represented and our voice is recorded. Within days of the survey opening, there have already been moves within far right organisations to attack and undermine our legitimate and proper representation in the UK. July 2017 saw fifty years of the first steps towards equality with the partial decriminalisation of love between two men. We still have so far to go before we have full equality and the responses you can make in this survey will show how we can move closer to equality as citizens.

The survey, which should take no more than ten minutes to complete, can be accessed by clicking here.

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Proud honours the victims of the 2016 Pulse Massacre

Let Love Win - Orlando 49

The massacre at the Pulse nightclub that took the lives of 49 people and injured 53 more within the LGBT Community (or allies of the LGBT Community) shook the world to the core.

PCS Proud honours the victims and seeks to strengthen our resolve to fight for Equality for All.

Below is a video filmed by 49 celebrities, for the Human Rights Campaign in the USA, honouring the memory of the 49 victims.

Remember – Love wins.

Proud Orlando 1

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Importance of voting today

For years, public sector workers have had to put up with brutal cuts to pay. In real terms, pay cuts have detrimentally impacted our members’ lives.

PCS (and therefore Proud) is not affiliated to a political party. As such we won’t tell you who to vote for. 

We will say this:

You have a clear choice today. A future that will see pay bargaining at the centre, improved trade union legislation, and much more. A more equal society. 


A future that involves more cuts to services, the vulnerable being forced to live in abject poverty whilst millionaires get tax cuts. 

However you vote today, make it count.

Your life, your future, your vote. 

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International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

On the 17th May the world observes the annual International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBiT), a day that reflects on the continuing oppression and persecution of the global LGBT community and to call for action to tackle the issues faced by the community.

Around the world today there are more than 70 countries that continue to enforce laws that criminalise citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity with penalties including prison and even execution.

In the past few months there have also been troubling reports emanating from Chechnya of men considered to be gay, this likely also includes those identifying as bisexual, being rounded up by local police and being arrested, beaten and in some cases murdered. It has also been reported that concentration camp style areas have been established where these men are being detained.

For the LGBT community here in the UK the situation is thankfully much better, however for all that some within the community think equality has been achieved the fact is that for many it has not.

While legal equality has come on leaps and bounds over the past 50 years following the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967, there continues to be a number of issues, in particular for the UK transgender community.

At the same time many of the rights enjoyed by today’s LGBT community came about thanks to the European Court of Human Rights and, however unlikely, Brexit and the possible introduction of a British Bill of Human Rights means we must remain vigilant against the possible dilution or removal of existing equality legislation.

On a more day to day level, LGBT discrimination and hate continue to be an ever present danger to many in the community. Last year saw a reported 147% increase in LGBT hate crime in the three months following the EU Referendum, this at a time of huge cuts to police budgets as well as the well documented cuts experienced by PCS members at the Equality and Human Rights Commission which will make it increasingly more difficult for victims to gain access to justice if they are the victim of a hate crime.

Proud, who represent LGBT members within PCS, urges all PCS members to continue to stand with LGBT colleagues and to challenge prejudice and hate wherever they witness it. Our National Committee work closely with our NEC to ensure that the voices of LGBT members are heard as part of our own Union’s ongoing work as well as representing PCS within the TUC and its regional structures across the wider Trade Union movement.

And as we look ahead towards June 8th and the General Election it is vital that we continue to put equality at the heart of everything we do as a Union and secure guarantees from all potential candidates that they will not only ensure that existing equality protections remain but that they will fight to build on this to work towards creating a truly equal society here in the UK as well as challenging inequality and discrimination, wherever it may be, around the world.

– Proud represents LGBT members within PCS, membership is open to all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

You can find more information on Proud by emailing, all contact is treated in the strictest confidence.

Our Bi Members Rep, Eddy Nixon, has also written for PCS as part of this year’s IDAHOBiT. You can read his article here.

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Commonwealth day

Commonwealth day. This year’s theme is for a peace building Commonwealth. Sounds good doesn’t it? 

No… just no.

The commonwealth was built on imperialism and colonialism. A system that oppressed people.

For LGBT people there can’t be peace when 39 Commonwealth countries still have anti-LGBT laws, first enacted by the British. The list is as follows.






Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)



Seychelles. Seychelles does not prosecute anyone under their anti-sodomy law, has promised to repeal it, but has not yet done so. A same-sex wedding was conducted in Seychelles on June 13, 2015, on British territory (the British high commissioner’s residence). Seychelles laws currently have no provision for marriage equality.

Sierra Leone





Lesotho was formerly on the list, but it has adopted a new Penal Code that apparently eliminates the nation’s former common-law crime of sodomy.









Sri Lanka


Antigua & Barbuda



Dominica (But see “Dominica leader: No enforcement of anti-gay law.”)




St Kitts & Nevis

St Lucia

St Vincent & the Grenadines

Trinidad & Tobago




Papua New Guinea


Solomon Islands



There can’t be peace when people can be jailed or killed….

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Your Proud National Committee 2017/2018

The below people are serving on the National Committee for 2017/2018.

Where there are vacant posts, the Chair of the National Committee will seek to fill these in the most suitable way possible. If you are interested in becoming involved in the national committee please contact Membership Organiser – Steve Griffiths on

Your 2017/2018 National Committee


Chair Richard Jones
Secretary Eddy Nixon
Treasurer Dean Fisher
Organiser (Membership and Admin) Steve Griffiths
Organiser (Learning and Regional/Devolved Nations) Kris Hendry
Organiser (Campaigns and Comms) VACANT  
Women’s Rep Vacant
Trans Member’s Rep Lyra Dunseith
Black Member’s Rep Vacant
Disabled Member’s Rep Tony Moore Email to be added soon
Bisexual Member’s Rep Eddy Nixon
Young Member’s Rep Dean Davidson
Wales Reps Mark Robinson and Dorion Griffiths

Northern Ireland Reps David Halliday and Gareth Lee

Caretaking the role temporarily
Scotland Rep Kris Hendry
Northern Eddy Nixon
North West David Greenall
Yorkshire and Humberside Vacant
Midlands Dean Davidson
London and South East Paul Gibson
South West Vacant
Eastern Counties Vacant
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LGBT History Month – Blog #4

As part of LGBT History Month our Learning and Regional Organiser, Kris Hendry, will be writing about LGBT history and reflecting on the next steps for LGBT equality in PCS.

You can read his previous blog here.

Proud Future?

Each year LGBT History Month offers an opportunity to reflect on the achievements and progress the LGBT community has made over the years but also to reflect on the battles still to be won. So as we mark the end of this year’s History Month I’m going to look at just some of the inequalities still to be tackled and how you can play your part.

Over the past decade or so we’ve seen the introduction of civil partnership and later same sex marriage, providing legal recognition for same sex couples. Many referring to the latter as “equal marriage” but the fact is it was and to this day is not equal.

By law employers are only required to pay same sex survivor pensions on contributions from 2005 onwards, the year Civil Partnerships came into being. While some employers backdate to 1988 as they would for opposite sex couples, this is discretionary and can mean contributions by LGBT workers will not be paid in full to their surviving partner leaving many older LGBT people struggling in later life.

In education, the teaching of LGBT issues remains inconsistent at best despite the final repeal of Section 28 in 2003 across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – Scotland did so in 2000. Many young LGBT people still experience discrimination and bullying on their way through our education system, leading to higher rates of mental health related issues, self harm and even suicide among young LGBT people.

As a Trade Union these issues should concern all of us as the youth of today are the workers of tomorrow and adequate training on equality issues at a young age will help prepare young people for life after school, protect their wellbeing as well as helping tackle much of the negative attitudes we experience in workplaces and communities today.

Even protection from discrimination is not assured for all LGBT people, despite the Equality Act. Last year the Westminster Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee produced a report with over 30 recommendations the Westminster Government should undertake to help improve equality for the Transgender community, something they are yet to do.

More generally we must all stand up against the rise in LGBT related hate crime reported over the past year, but not only that but the rise in all other forms of hate that have been seen since the EU Referendum and the election of President Trump.

After all many who identify as LGBT will experience multiple discrimination as they may also be black, or disabled, or female or any combination therein as well as of varying ages which can bring its own issues. For those who intersect equality strands we cannot discount one characteristic in favour of another and we must stand against ALL forms of hate and discrimination.

So what can you do?

Well I’m of course going to say join Proud (and PCS if you’re not already a member) and get involved. Proud members set the agenda for our National Committee through our Annual General Meeting which this year is taking place on Saturday 4th March in Birmingham. You could also stand for the Proud National Committee with various roles available for those interested, including equality and regional based roles.

With this also being AGM season, why not submit a motion? If there’s an issue you want PCS as a Union to take action on then submit a motion through your Branch to go to Annual Conference for debate. In addition, make sure to check out the Conference agenda once it is published, attend your Branch mandating meeting and make sure your delegates will be representing you at Conference.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, Conference has previously debated and successfully carried a range of motions in relation to LGBT and all areas of equality and that is only through the action of PCS members raising such motions in the first place.

If you are interested in getting more involved but have any questions then please feel free contact Proud and we will be happy to discuss more with you. Our email address is and all contact will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Proud, PCS’ LGBT members and the wider LGBT community this History Month, we appreciate your continued support and look forward to continuing to work together as we look to the future. Solidarity.

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LGBT History Month – Blog #3

As part of LGBT History Month our Learning and Regional Organiser, Kris Hendry, will be writing about LGBT history and reflecting on the next steps for LGBT equality in PCS.

You can read his previous blog here.

Proud Allies

In my first blog for LGBT History Month I reflected a little on my experiences since getting involved in trade unionism and learning of the importance of solidarity and allies. And it is this aspect that I wanted to focus on this week as without the support of allies to the LGBT community it is doubtful we would have achieved the progress that we have so far for LGBT equality.

The partial decriminalisation of homosexuality itself, which took place 50 years ago, was originally introduced in the Commons by an MP who lost their seat before reform was passed. In his absence the case for reform was taken up by Labour MP Leo Abse.

Leo, who was married, cited his professional experience (a solicitor who witnessed gay/bi men being blackmailed due to their orientation) as well as personal connections (his wife was an artist so he socialised with LGBT individuals) as the reason behind his support for and ultimately achieving decriminalisation across England and Wales(It would take over a decade for Scotland and then Northern Ireland to follow suit).

In 1994, three years before Labour and the introduction of many of the LGBT friendly policies we take for granted today, the age of consent for same sex couples sat at 21 despite being 16 for those of opposite sexes.

An amendment was put forward to have this equalised and although unsuccessful, it was at least able to achieve a part reduction to 18, saving many young individuals from a criminal record until full equalisation took place in 2001. The proposer of the amendment? Married, mother of two and Conservative MP, Edwina Currie who as a Jewish, Scouse woman said “I knew enough about discrimination and could never see the justification for it.”

Of course a few years before, the seeds of solidarity had been sown between the LGBT and Trade Union movements through the support of LGSM for miners who were on strike at the time. This support built bridges between two communities that, although different, recognised that they had a common enemy and cause.

I’m sure everyone is familiar with the story of LGSM (do check out the film Pride if you haven’t already!) but it’s important we remember it as their act of unity ultimately led to the Miners Union using their power to commit the Labour Party to supporting LGBT equality and without it then who knows where we could have been today.

I’ve touched above on a few of the more major examples of allies and their impact on LGBT history and equality but the fact is there are countless allies in our history whose support is no less monumental.

Coming out was, and still is, a terrifying thought and experience for many and just acknowledging and supporting someone, whether it be a family member, a friend or colleague, coming out as LGBT can mean more than anything to that individual. Creating an environment that is supportive of LGBT equality and challenges inappropriate behaviours can have huge benefits to the health and wellbeing of LGBT individuals, whether they are out or not.

There remains much still to be achieved for LGBT equality and it’s still as important as ever that PCS’ LGBT members and our allies stand together as we continue the fight to achieve true equality.

Proud offers both Full Membership for LGBT members of our Union as well as Associate Membership for those who do not identify as LGBT but wish to stand in solidarity with our LGBT members and the wider community.

You can join today, just select the ‘Join Proud” option at the top of this page and sign up to support Proud and stand against LGBT inequality and hate this LGBT History Month.

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LGBT History Month – Blog #2

As part of LGBT History Month our Learning and Regional Organiser, Kris Hendry, will be writing about LGBT history and reflecting on the next steps for LGBT equality in PCS.

You can read his previous blog here.

Proud Hearts

‘People with homosexual tendencies deserve to be treated with the same degree of sympathy and understanding as anyone else with personality or sexual problems… The labour movement would best serve the interests of its homosexual members by providing counselling and the appropriate psychiatric help.’

For this week’s LGBT History Month blog, and in recognition of Heart Unions week, I thought I would reflect on a little bit of history for LGBT equality within PCS, a show of solidarity that helped to set the path to where we are today.

For many years homosexuality was seen as a mental disorder however this theory, thankfully, began to change in the 1970s. You may be surprised then that the quote above in fact comes from the December 1989 letters page of the Inland Revenue Staff Federation Assessment, the IRSF one of PCS’ predecessor Unions.

Back then Thatcher’s Section 28, banning the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality and condemning many LGBT people to lives of misery and despair, had recently been introduced. Fear and mistrust of LGBT people was spread by the mainstream media, portraying us as perverts intent on corrupting society.

So was this the reason for the letter? No. It was in fact an act of solidarity from the IRSF. The previous month’s newsletter reported the Executive Committee decision to remove Scarborough as a potential location for their Annual Conference as the local council had banned any use of their facilities by the Federation Lesbian and Gay Group.

It would be a decision which helped set some of the first steps to what has today become PCS Proud. In September 1990 FLAGG relaunched with a formal action plan to organise and campaign for lesbian and gay members, supported by the National Union. One of their key issues became the prevention of discrimination based on sexual orientation, a major risk at the time as legislation to ban the practice did not come into effect until 2003 meaning they were putting their own livelihoods at risk as well.

By the mid 90’s the merger of the IRSF and National Union of Civil and Public Servants was underway with FLAGG and NUCPS members agreeing on the formation of the new Public Services, Tax and Commerce Union group – PTC Proud, eventually becoming PCS Proud in 1998 following the further merger of PTC and CPSA, that would campaign on behalf of all LGBT members.

Since its formation Proud, our members and allies have continued the tradition of organising and campaigning set out by those who went before us. Our National Committee have organised activities such as the launch of the Proud Charter which has been used during elections to push candidates to pledge their support to LGBT equality.

We’ve also had international success with campaigns such as the #IAmGay campaign, launched in response to LGBT phobia in Russia which reached millions through social media and even drew a response from the Russian Kremlin.

Within PCS there has also been a lot of progress for LGBT equality. Annual Conference has debated and successfully carried motions on a range of issues including supporting same sex marriage, ensuring appropriate support for LGBT victims of domestic violence, austerity and its impact on LGBT homelessness as well as the creation and rollout of trans awareness training, the first of its kind among the Trade Union movement.

Indeed we have seen many great advances for LGBT equality since that letter was published in 1989, yet the fact remains many LGBT people today still face similar attitudes. It may be in their workplace, at home or on the street.

That show of solidarity the IRSF showed in 1989 remains just as important today as it did back then so why not get involved?

Join PCS and Proud and help to support the fight for equality, not just for the LGBT community but for all, so that one day everyone is able to be themselves without having to face discrimination and hate just for being who they are.

*Parts of this piece have previously appeared in OR&CLE, the R&C Group magazine. I’d like to record my thanks to David Eales who carried out the initial research on this subject*

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