The voice of LGBT members of the PCS Union

Black History Month 2016

Past, Present and Future – Black History Month 2016

By Kris Hendry

[The Proud Black History Month leaflet can be downloaded here]

Held in October, Black History Month is the annual celebration of contributions that those in the black community have made to our history, society and culture. Something often overlooked in more mainstream discussions on such issues.

Proud welcomes this opportunity to reflect on the impact that those from the black community who also identified as LGBT have made to both movements in the struggle for equality. Too often these important individuals are forgotten about, or worse deliberately sidelined to be more palatable for a mainstream audience.

Such was the case with last year’s film adaptation of Stonewall which told the tale of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, considered the catalyst for the modern day LGBT movement.

The film used a white male character to depict the throwing of the first brick when in fact, based on the testimony of many there, the first brick was thrown by a trans person of colour. Marsha P. Johnson. Marsha, along with close friend Sylvia Rivera, co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries dedicated to helping homeless young trans women of colour and others. Sylvia was also a well known black transgender activist and founding member of the US Gay Liberation Front. Both continued their activism throughout the 1970s and 80s before Martha’s tragic passing in 1992.

Here in the UK we have individuals such as Waheed Alli (Baron Alli), who in July 1998 became the youngest as well as first openly gay peer in Parliament. Waheed has used his position to campaign on a range of issues in relation to LGBT equality. He helped lead the campaign to repeal the cruel and damaging Section 28, advocated for lowering the age of consent from, then, 18 to 16 in line with the age for heterosexual individuals as well as calling for the removal of religious institutions being prohibited from conducting civil partnerships before same sex marriage was even considered.

As we look ahead, the rise in race related incidents and right wing rhetoric both before and after the EU Referendum earlier this year it has never been more important that we stand together in order to confront and challenge this insidious behaviour. It is only by recognising our joint histories and intersectionality that we can truly achieve equality.

Proud will continue to do this and we invite all PCS members to join us. Membership is open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, with dedicated officers on our National Committee for other equality strands to ensure all voices are heard and that we represent all LGBT members equally.

For more information on Black History Month including events taking place across the UK, visit http://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/.

The Proud Black History Month leaflet can be downloaded here

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Cuts at the Equality Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, an organisation derided by some as the enforcer of political correctness in the UK. In truth a vital organisation which helps to hold the UK Government to account on issues surrounding equality and human rights and helps other work to improve the lives of citizens across the UK.

And it is currently under attack. Already it’s seen its budget slashed from £70m to £22m since 2010 with further cuts of 25% announced and redundancies on the way. We’re told it’s necessary under the auspices of austerity, the ideological approach of the current Tory Government which has impacted immensely on many of the UK’s minority communities. Could there be a connection one wonders?

And why should the LGBT community care? Well here’s two recent examples of their work to support LGBT equality that could disappear if the department is stripped to the bare bones by the Government.

In 2008 a gay couple were looking to book a hotel in Cornwall for some time away. At that time the couple had had a civil partnership, same sex marriage still a few years away. However they found themselves blocked from staying in the hotel they had chosen based on their sexual orientation.

The EHRC supported the couple in pursuing a discrimination claim which resulted in a successful outcome for the couple in 2013, sending a clear message that discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation is not permitted when providing goods and services in the UK.

More recently the EHRC has provided funding to the LGBT Consortium in England and Wales, as well as the Equality Network and LGBT Youth Scotland north of the border. To what end? To tackle LGBT hate crime and to improve reporting across the UK, in particular in rural communities where many in our community remain more isolated from the mainstream LGBT hubs that exist in larger city locations.

To allow these cuts in the EHRC to go ahead puts this, and all of their other, good work at risk and could lead to increases in discrimination against LGBT people with the lack of funding and resource at the EHRC coupled with tribunal fees and the removal of legal aid blocking those struggling financially from being able to pursue justice for themselves and others.

We all have to stand together and call for an end to these damaging cuts. Visit the PCS website to email your MP and call on their support for the campaign. You can do this by clicking here http://www.bit.ly/29JZaoc

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Proud visits Orlando

Pulse

On 12 June 2016, Omar Mateen entered Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killed 49 people by gunshot and injured 53 more. This is widely known as the largest mass shooting in USA history and has been labelled the most appalling LGBT-phobic attacks ever seen.

Dorion Griffiths and Ste Heyward, two of Proud’s officers went to Orlando on 14 June 2016 for a pre-arranged holiday. Whilst on their break they twice attended the memorial site at the Dr Phillips Center for Performing Arts and laid flowers on behalf of PCS Proud. They also attended City Hall in Orlando and wrote in the condolences book which was surrounded by 49 wreaths with the pictures of the victims who were killed.

Dorion, who is Chair of PCS Proud, said “Whilst this was intended to be a holiday, a bit of R&R, it was important to us to go and pay tribute to the victims of such a horrific attack and stand shoulder to shoulder with a community that is in a state of grief. In these times we must remain united. We were truly honoured to be able to take a message of love, support and solidarity from PCS Proud to the memorial site.”

 

Dorion Writing Message

Whilst memorials and funerals began to take place, the Westboro Baptist Church attempted to picket the funerals with the usual “God hates fags” placards. In order to maintain a modicum of dignity, compassion, privacy and respect for those grieving for their loved ones, members of the public dressed as angels and blocked Westboro from spreading their hate at this heart-breaking time.Angels

Whilst this incident may have happened in the United States of America, PCS Proud believes that an injury to one part of the worldwide LGBT community is an injury to all of the community. PCS also has members that work for organisations such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and other departments with a worldwide presence.

“Regardless of where this incident took place, any attack on the LGBT community is unacceptable. This incident has been truly horrific and traumatic for many people and we must continue to show our love and support.” Says Ste Heyward, Proud’s Communications Organiser, “The One Orlando fund has been set up to help the victims and their families. I urge everyone to donate what they can. With issues such as travel, medical bills and more, this is an extremely difficult time for them.”

One Orlando

The One Orlando Fund was formally announced by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, people can make donations to this fund and receive updates by going to http://oneorlando.org.

PCS Proud has formally written to Mayor Dyer to express our condolences, support and solidarity.

It is more important than ever that we recognise and respect each other’s differences, allow each other to be our whole selves and stand together in the face of adversity.

In closing, Dorion says “We must take the saying that equality is at the heart of everything we do and put it in to practice every day. Attacks such as this dreadful one must not be allowed to take place. I encourage everyone to take part in activities to raise awareness of equality issues with politicians and the public alike. Whether this is being a part of community groups fighting for gun control in the USA or becoming involved in the work against prejudice in the UK, we must all continue to fight to make the world a better, safer place.”

If you have any questions about the work of PCS Proud, please email Proud@pcs.org.uk or tweet us on @PCS_Proud.

Pulse names of victims killed

This post is in memory of:

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

 

 

****Notes****

PCS Proud is a part of the Public and Commercial Services Union in the UK which has members carrying out work for the UK Government in one form or another. Proud is the LGBT Network within PCS. The Chair of Proud is Dorion Griffiths (@DorionGriffiths). Proud can be contacted on Proud@pcs.org.uk

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Orlando

Many people woke up on Sunday to the harrowing news that a person had entered Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and killed 50 people by gunshot, injuring a further 53.

Pulse is a nightclub that serves the LGBTQ community in Orlando, a community that has been shaken to the core by such an abysmal act.

It is our understanding that a state of emergency has been declared by officials.

PCS Proud condemns the attacks upon the LGBT community in any part of the world and recommends that any of our members stationed overseas in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and other Government departments take care and follow safety advice.

We share the attached statement from the Human Rights Campaign – http://www.hrc.org/blog/human-rights-campaign-statement-on-tragic-shooting-at-orlando-nightclub-ser

Our thoughts go to all those affected by this utterly appalling slaughter.

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PCS Proud Advocates

The role of the PCS Proud Advocate is one that individuals can put in as much work as they like. Quite often, PCS Proud members aren’t aware of the things happening in their areas and don’t know that PCS Proud is there to support them.

Kris Hendry, Proud’s Learning Organiser has put together this presentation which will allow you to find out more about the role.

If you would like more information, please email Proud@pcs.org.uk

Access the Powerpoint Presentation by clicking the following link.

Advocates – http://pcsproud.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Advocates.pptx

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TUC LGBT Conference vacancies

TUC LGBT DELEGATION VACANCIES – Invitation to Nominate

Dear PCS Proud Member,

PCS Proud members represent PCS at the TUC LGBT Conference each year. The conference is being held on 23rd and 24th June 2016 this year. PCS also has a stall at London Pride (25th June) and UK Black Pride (26th June). Due to last minute changes, we have two vacancies on the delegation.

The TUC LGBT conference involves a mixture of keynote speeches, election to the TUC LGBT Committee and the debating of motions. There is a delegation meeting prior to the conference to discuss motions etc. This is usually the day before conference begins.

This is a very good opportunity to participate in TUC union work and to observe other unions’ contribution to matters that particularly impact on LGBT people. We would welcome nominations from members from under-represented groups so that we can attempt to make the delegation as representative of our members as possible.

 Delegates that represent PCS are expected to participate fully in the Conference by:

  1. taking part in delegation discussions
  2. observing and speaking on Congress debates regarding LGBT issues
  3. attending optional fringe meetings
  4. producing a short written report for PCS and Proud for publication.
  5. using the experience to advance LGBT equality further in the union and workplace.

If you would like to attend the conference, please complete the attached form and send it to Proud@pcs.org.uk by 25 May 2016.

The nomination form can be accessed here: TUC LGBT Conference EOI

Yours in solidarity 


Dorion Griffiths                                                                    

Chair, PCS Proud

 

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Proud condemns abuse of National Museums Wales workers

NMWStrike

Members at the National Museum Wales have been in a dispute with the employer over attacks upon their weekend pay.

The stunning history of Wales is something that must be preserved and protected. Our members at the National Museum Wales, therefore, deserve to be treated with decency.

The head of National Museum Wales currently earns £100,000 but is asking members who earn the lowest salaries to accept a cut of £3000 and has threatened (on live TV) to sack them if they don’t sign new contracts.

Shavanah Taj, PCS Wales interviewed earlier this month –

“The majority of front-of-house staff are PCS members and are on low salaries. Until this month, several of them have been earning less than the Living Wage. They have not chosen to work in the Museum for the money but because they love the kind of work they do, conserving Wales’ historic treasures and cultural artefacts, and making them available to the public.

They would never have chosen to take industrial action but have been forced to do so, again and again, by management’s intransigence. Every time they strike, they lose money, but they are prepared to make that short-term sacrifice in order to secure justice in the longer term. Support for the action has remained very strong in recent weeks. 

Anderson parades his progressive credentials in public – talking about bringing culture to the masses – but shows little sympathy for the wellbeing of his own staff. He blames PCS for the Museum’s financial crisis as a convenient scapegoat for his own lack of ideas and imagination. Even with a reduced budget, a management team worthy of the name would surely not rely exclusively on cutting the wage bill in order to balance their books….Anderson and the senior management team have brought the culture sector into disrepute by introducing industrial strife where there should be a shared commitment to delivering a high quality public service. He, and they, should consider their position.” 

When people are on strike they lose pay. In order to maintain the strike therefore Museum workers urgently need donations for their hardship strike fund, donate here:
Bank: Unity Trust Bank
Account name: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch Hardship Fund
Account number: 20364700
Sort code: 60-83-01
Or via PayPal: http://bit.ly/26eNhvq

You can also visit their picket line outside local Museums from Thursday onwards to show support.

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Political Concern – CARE

Political concerns

The media has recently reported/exposed the links between Stephen Crabb MP, the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and CARE, a Christian group that has actively campaigned against same sex marriage and has campaigned for the definition of marriage to between a man and a woman.

Whilst PCS Proud has contacted Mr Crabb to confirm whether or not the alleged links to ‘gay cure’ groups will impact our members, we are yet to receive a response. However, the purpose of this briefing is to set out our position quite clearly.

Marriage equality?

PCS Proud do not believe that equal marriage has been achieved. People of the same sex are not allowed to marry in the Church of England or Church in Wales. In Northern Ireland same sex couples are not allowed to marry at all. In addition to this, there are still massive pension inequalities for surviving partners/spouses. There have also been implications for trans members and gender recognition that have seen people forced conform to a convoluted system that does not cater for people who should have their true gender legally recognised.

Definition of marriage:

Whilst CARE believe that the definition of marriage should specify one man and one woman, we believe it is grossly unfair. Why is it unfair? Gender is not binary. People do not necessarily identify as male or female. We believe that marriage should be between two people that are prepared to formalise their relationship. Love does not have a gender, love does not have a religion or belief, a race or any other protected characteristic.

The way forward:

Regardless of the way that our new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions thinks about marriage, sexual orientation or gender identity, equality legislation is in place to protect people with certain characteristics. It is of incredible importance that any instruction, concern or issue that contradicts this equality legislation is raised with PCS immediately.

PCS Proud continues to campaign with members and community groups around the UK to raise awareness of LGBT issues. For more information about Proud, contact Proud@pcs.org.uk or follow @PCS_Proud on twitter.

 

Dorion Griffiths          Eddy Nixon

Proud Chair                Proud Secretary

Download a copy of this briefing in a word document here: CARE briefing

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AGM Expenses

Dear Proud members that attended the PCS Proud AGM

Following receipt of expenses claims our Treasurer, Dean Fisher, has processed your expenses claims and they have been authorised for payment. These should clear in your bank account within the next three working days.

If you have any queries, please contact me on Proud@pcs.org.uk.

Best wishes

Dorion Griffiths

Chair – PCS Proud.

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Scotland update – March 16

To all Proud members in Scotland – below is a message from Kris Hendry, Proud’s Scotland rep.

Organisation – There have been a couple of changes to how we are organised in Scotland.

 

Firstly following this year’s AGM, Derek Bradford has made the decision to step back from his role as joint regional rep for Scotland. I would like to thank Derek for his incredible hard work over the last couple of years. His support as I found my feet over the past year has been invaluable and I look forward to continuing to work with Derek wherever I can.

 

Moving forward I will be acting as the Proud Scotland network rep, so if anyone has any issues or other matters they would like to discuss then I can be contacted at khendrypcs@gmail.com, be assured all discussions will be treated in the strictest confidence.

 

In addition, following PCS’ Strategic Review and the introduction of the Regional Hubs, Helen Flanagan has been assigned as organising support for the Scotland LGBT network to help the work of Proud in Scotland and to help us grow the network further. I’m sure I speak for everyone in welcoming Helen and look forward to working together to advance LGBT equality to benefit our members and our community.

 

AGM – This year’s National Committee has now been elected at the Proud AGM. The full Committee list is available here. If anyone is interested in any of the vacancies, please feel free to contact either Proud or myself who will be happy to discuss the role with you.

 

The work of the Committee for the coming year was also agreed as set out in the motions received prior to the AGM and set out in the AGM agenda. If anyone has any points, issues or queries they would like to discuss regarding the Committee’s work then again, please feel free to get in touch.

 

Learning – This year will see the return of PCS’ Equality Seminar, with Proud/LGBT Seminar currently scheduled for November.

 

Seminar serves as an important opportunity for members to get together and learn and expand on their knowledge and skills with a view to becoming more involved in Proud and PCS. It’s important that the agenda of seminar focus on where it should, you the members.

 

If anyone has an area or subject they would like to be considered for the seminar regarding LGBT issues or equality then please feel free to send these to Proud for the National Committee to consider when planning Seminar.

 

STUC LGBT Conference – Successful delegates have now been informed and, again, a massive thank you to everyone who put themselves forward to represent PCS and Proud at the STUC who were not chosen.

 

This year PCS will be moving motions on welfare reform, the living wage and the LGBT community as well as Transgender identity, support and legislation. Full details including the agenda will be circulated in due course to keep you up to date on what is happening within the STUC on LGBT equality matters.

 

Scottish Parliament Elections – As part of the upcoming elections Stonewall Scotland, The Equality Network, LGBT Youth Scotland and the Scottish Transgender Alliance will be holding an LGBT hustings event on 31st March.

 

While there are no spaces available to this event, it will be streamed online and questions can be submitted to the panel. For more details visit Stonewall Scotland. It is important that we use these elections as an opportunity to advance LGBT equality wherever we can, if you have any ideas on how we can progress this then please get in touch.

 

Eurogames 2020 – LEAP Sports Scotland, following the tremendous success of Pride House during the Commonwealth Games, are working on a bid to bring the Eurogames in 2020 to Glasgow.

 

First held in 1992 the Eurogames are a sports event aimed at LGBTI athletes of all levels, the most recent in Stockholm saw around 5,500 athletes taking part from over 40 countries.

 

LEAP are looking for support as they #BuildTheBid. For more details on how you can support them, visit the LEAP Sports Website.

 

Stop Deportation of Beverley Vaanda Kandjiii

 

In 2013 Beverley and her son arrived in the UK from Namibia claiming asylum. Beverley had fled her home country after experiencing homophobic abuse after previously being forced to marry and suffering no support from the state.

 

Beverley and her son were taken into custody on Monday 21st March and are in danger due to the threat of being deported on Thursday (24th March).

 

Can all members please consider signing and sharing this petition calling for the ceasing of her and her son’s deportation

Thank you and please be sure to follow the network on Twitter @pcsscotlgbt.

 

 

Kris Hendry

PCS, DMTC East Kilbride Office Secretary

PCS Proud Learning & Regional Organiser

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AGM Agenda

The PCS Proud Annual General Meeting will be held on 12 March 2016, at the PCS office in Birmingham.

The Agenda for the meeting can be found by clicking the link below:

AGM 2016 final Agenda SOC report

Guest speakers confirmed: 

Mark Serwotka – General Secretary of PCS

Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah – Head of Political Campaigns and Equality

Please direct any enquiries to Proud Secretary, Ste Heyward, on Secretary@pcsproud.org.uk or by emailing Proud@pcs.org.uk

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PCS Proud AGM poster

Please see the attached AGM Poster

https://www.icloud.com/pages/000XFeV1aRmBs3l1kE9q8hbAQ#Party_Poster_Small_copy

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PCS Proud AGM message

Dear PCS Proud members
We are, once again, at that time where you have the ability to shape PCS Proud policy and elect a National Committee.
Whether you want to get involved with PCS Proud as a rep or officer of the National Committee or you would like to submit motions on new campaign initiatives or on issues such as LGBT representation in the union, in our workplaces or in society, or you would like to challenge LGBT phobia, then all you have to do is go to www.pcsproud.org.uk/agm and complete the necessary forms to submit your motions/nominations to our Standing Orders Committee for inclusion on the agenda of our AGM which takes place on 12 March 2016 in the PCS office in Birmingham.
You can also read our Annual Report which myself and other PCS Proud reps have compiled to show you that Proud is a fighting organisation that is ‪#‎ProudTo‬ stand up against LGBT Phobia and continues to highlight the principles called for in our LGBT Charter (www.pcsproud.org.uk/charter).
PCS has to adapt to fight increasing attacks on our members and PCS Proud must too adapt to best represent our members voices in the workplace and beyond.
If you want more information you can contact Proud@pcs.org.uk or call me and leave a voicemail on 07471 195 587.

Yours in solidarity
Steve Heyward – Proud Secretary
‪#‎YourVoiceYourProud‬

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STUC LGBT Conference 2016: Calling notice

STUC LGBT Conference 2016: Calling Notice

Each year, PCS Scotland select local delegates to attend the STUC LGBT Workers’ Conference.

For 2016 the Conference will be held in the Beardmore Hotel, Clydebank on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May.

2016 will mark the 5th annual LGBT Workers’ Conference with the event going from strength to strength each year, 2015 saw the event being nominated as ‘Event of the Year’ at the Equality Network’s inaugural awards.

Offering an excellent opportunity for reps to develop experience in debating motions in a relaxed, safe, environment, to take part in a number of workshops as well as to network and build friendships with LGBT members from across the Trade Union movement we are looking for member nominations to attend and represent PCS.

If anyone is interested in nominating themselves and/or others to attend, or would like more information about the Conference then please email regional reps Derek Bradford and Kris Hendry who will be happy to discuss.

In addition, if members wish to submit motions, or ideas for motions to be submitted to the STUC LGBT Workers’ Conference then, again, please email Derek and Kris.

All nominations and/or motions should be with Derek and Kris no later than Friday 22nd January for submission to PCS Scotland office by the required deadline.

Regards

Derek Bradford & Kris Hendry

Proud Scotland Regional Reps

 

 

 

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