The voice of LGBT members of the PCS Union

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 proud@pcs.org.uk, 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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