The voice of LGBT members of the PCS Union

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

Continue Reading
Continue Reading

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

 

 

 

Continue Reading

World AIDS Day 2015

Every year, World AIDS Day is held on 1 December. The purpose of World AIDS day is to raise awareness, remember those we have lost and continue to fight stigma
 

PCS Proud’s National Committee encourage all members to talk about HIV and AIDS, to raise awareness in workplaces and ensure that our PCS branches and employers are aware of the importance of talking about issues that affect workers so that barriers can be broken down and stigma can become a thing of the past.

 

It is estimated that 103,700 people in the UK are living with HIV. A lot of people think that HIV is an issue only for gay men but 45% of those diagnosed with HIV in 2014 were not men who have sex with men.

 

There are a lot of myths around HIV and AIDS. The Terence Higgins Trust, a leading charity in this field, has provided the following facts:

 

• HIV and AIDS are not the same thing

• HIV is not a death sentence

• There is no cure for HIV

• HIV cannot be passed by kissing or touch

• HIV is not only an issue for gay men

• A woman with HIV can have children without HIV.

 

You can find out more information about these facts, and other statistics, by going to www.tht.org.uk.

 

Many public sector employers will have a policy on how to handle situations when people tell their employer that they have HIV/AIDS but a policy is not good enough unless it is acted upon with the member of staff at the very centre of any discussions or decision making that takes place.

 

On 1 December 2015, we encourage members to wear red ribbons where possible. The Terence Higgins Trust is asking people tweet pictures of themselves wearing red ribbons using the hashtag #StopStigma.

 

PCS has uploaded TUC guidance on HIV and AIDS on to the document library which can be accessed by logging in to www.pcs.org.uk. A PCS Proud factsheet is also attached to this briefing.

 

Receiving a diagnosis of HIV can be an extremely scary time for individuals and their families. Therefore, it is important that PCS as a union continues to fight for a sympathetic employer that supports its staff. It is also important that all PCS reps treat members with HIV/AIDS in the sensitive and supportive way that they deserve. If you, or someone you know, has an issue in the workplace because of HIV/AIDS and you would like advice or information, please do not hesitate to contact PCS Proud or your Group LGBT Advisory Committee who can provide you with some advice and information.

 

In 2014, PCS Proud launched our LGBT Charter which provides basic principles that we continually campaign for in the workplace, in society and beyond. You can access our charter at www.pcsproud.org.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIV/AIDS and Work
Introduction

Living with HIV/AIDS can be very challenging in many aspects. However, with the right support, the barriers that members face can be broken down.

This fact sheet is intended for branches and members who wish to gain understanding on how to support someone who has HIV or AIDS from a workplace perspective. The key thing is to remember that having HIV or AIDS does not make anyone less of a person. We encourage you to see the person, not the condition.

What are HIV and AIDS?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This weakens the body’s immune system and can progress to AIDS.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It means a collection of illnesses (‘syndrome’) caused by a virus people pick up (‘acquire’) that makes their immune system get weak (‘immune deficiency’).

You cannot get an AIDS diagnosis unless you are already HIV positive.

How is HIV spread?

A common belief is that HIV is only spread through sexual activity with someone who has HIV already. However, it can also be spread through the sharing of injecting equipment with someone who has HIV or even be passed from a HIV positive mother to their child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding.

Some occupations (such as healthcare) carry a higher risk due to accidental exposure to infected blood. Known cases have almost always been due to an accident with a needle/syringe.

Are many people HIV positive?

There are more than 107,000 people (2013 estimate) living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the UK, mostly of working age, of whom a quarter are unaware of their status.

Although most who live with HIV in the UK have normal life expectancy and lead fulfilling working lives, a large minority of people are ignorant of the facts. This means people living with HIV can face prejudice and discrimination in the workplace.

 

HIV and AIDS in the workplace

There are some key things that need to be in place for people who disclose that they have HIV or AIDS

• Complete confidentiality must be assured by the employer and employees

• A guarantee that colleagues will not be discriminated against on the grounds of perceived or actual HIV status.

• Clear guidelines on how to manage staff with HIV or AIDS, including provisions in sickness policies and sickness reporting procedures.

• Training opportunities for all staff to learn about HIV and AIDS, regardless of whether or not any employees have the conditions.

Equality Legislation

Disability provisions contained within the Equality Act 2010 mean that people living with HIV are considered disabled regardless of health status. This is from the moment of diagnosis.

Disclosure

It is illegal for employers to ask questions about HIV status during recruitment until after a job offer has been made (with some exceptions such as the Armed Forces). Whilst members of staff do not have to disclose their HIV status, it is important to recognise that disclosure will have to be made if the member of staff requires reasonable adjustments etc… By way of good practice, an employer should have a policy on who needs to be informed about the HIV status of individuals.

Stigma

Social attitudes still need to change as many people with HIV still face many barriers. The Terence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk) are asking people to stand and say #StopStigma this World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and show support for those who have HIV or AIDS. It is also a day to remember those who have died from the condition.

Information and advice

Information and advice can be obtained from PCS Proud by contacting Proud@pcs.org.uk. A booklet called “Tackling HIV Discrimination at Work” is available from https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/tacklingHIVdiscriminationwork2.pdf

 

 

PCS Proud | www.pcsproud.org.uk | Proud@pcs.org.uk

 

Continue Reading

Proud resource: Working with Trans people

Sometimes people do not feel confident in dealing with trans issues both inside and outside of the workplace. This 10 point list is intended to provide some very basic advice on how to approach certain situations. If you would like more information or support, you can contact PCS Proud’s Trans Member’s Rep by emailing Proud@pcs.org.uk

Trans flag
1. Respect a persons’ gender identity. Show this by using the preferred name, title and pronoun whether or not they are present.

2. Try to challenge other people’ inappropriate comments, and remember that disapproving silence can often be just as effective as speaking out.

3. Do not comment on a Trans person’s appearance or “passability” unless they specifically ask for your opinion.

4. Do not confuse Trans with sexual orientation. Trans people can be heterosexual, bisexual, asexual, lesbian or gay.

5. If you are unsure about which pronoun to use, use neutral terms until the Trans person discloses their preference or, if appropriate, ask.

6. If you make a mistake on gender title or pronoun apologise and move on. To make a fuss often just makes the situation worse.

7. Be sensitive about a person’s gender history or Trans status. Do not disclose it to anyone else unless absolutely necessary (and then with the person’s consent).

8. Question your own assumptions. Like everyone else Trans people are unique individuals. Not all have surgery or take hormones. Not all Trans women wear make-up and wear skirts.

9. Learn as much as you can about Trans communities and the needs of Trans people: remember ignorance is the root of most prejudice.

10. Lead by example: if you show acceptance and ease with a person’s affirmed gender, then the Trans person will be at ease, and your colleagues will have a good model to follow.

Working with Trans people poster

Continue Reading

Trans Day of Remembrance #TDOR

TDoR12

Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is observed on 20 November every year. It began in 1999 as the Remembering Our Dead candlelight vigil in San Francisco after the brutal and still unsolved murder of Rita Hester on 28 November 1998.

Since statistics began to be collected in a structured manner, from January 2008 to December 2014, a period of just seven years, more than 1,700 trans murders have taken place. Many of the victims are left unidentifiable because of the brutality of their deaths, and those who can be identified meet no less brutal ends.

To name three from this year alone:

• Diosiany Munoz Robaina (24 year old) was stoned to death in Cuba, on 26 April

• Mercedes Williamson (17 years old) was beaten to death in Alabama, USA, on 10 February 2015

• Ashton O’Hara (25 year old) was stabbed to death then repeatedly run over by a vehicle in Detroit, USA on 14 July.

The sad fact is that in 48 US states it is possible to murder a trans person and then use as an acceptable defence the fact that you suddenly discovered the trans status of the victim and in a fit of shock and rage killed them. This is called the law of sudden revelation and has only recently been repealed in case of LGB-motivated murders. It is a reflection of the way Trans people are still viewed (and not just in the US) that it was not repealed in the case of Trans murders.

Events are held at TDoR but the common feature to most is a reading of those who have lost their lives to Transphobia in the previous 12 months. This reading names the person, where it is known, and the manner of the death. A candle is often lit for each of those lost.

Also remembered are the countless numbers who take their own lives every year as they eventually lose their struggle with gender dysphoria, or succumb to the constant pressure and abuse that just being identified as trans can bring.

This is a very serious and solemn event, akin to holocaust memorial day, for it remembers those who have lost their lives to brutal blind intolerance and ignorance. It is also a time of hope though, that in remembering and highlighting the deaths to the wider community, we can all work together to bring them an end.

Spare a thought for those that lost their lives, join us in fighting for change and raise awareness of Trans issues. The LGBT Charter can provide a good basis for campaigning activity. It is available at www.pcsproud.org.uk/charter.

 

Continue Reading
Continue Reading

Open Letter to Germaine Greer

cropped-Proud.jpg

Dear Germaine

PCS Proud represents LGBT people who are members of the PCS Union in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Our definition of LGBT, as democratically decided by our members, refers to those who are not heterosexual, or, those who do not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth.

We were dismayed and, quite frankly, disgusted at the terrible language you have used in reference to people who are Trans. Whilst swearing and foul language is one thing, the terminology you have used is simply offensive and ill-informed.

You keep referring to the physical act of changing genitalia. There is so much more to gender than just re-assignment surgery. The fact that you don’t know this, and are not prepared to accept it, is saddening.

PCS Proud condemns the fact that you have used widespread publicity to air views that will potentially damage lives. Trans people have to face barriers that exist purely because of ignorance and prejudice. The media hounded a teacher called Lucy Meadows to the point that she committed suicide. A Trans police officer was bullied to the point that she had to leave her job.  These are just two of many examples of how the prejudice you so freely pedal damages the lives of Trans people, and in some cases, sadly, end them.

Whatever your views are, PCS Proud would like you to keep them to yourself. The comments you have made in a matter of minutes, to the shock and amazement of organisations that support trans people, may take decades of work to counter as we struggle to raise awareness and help society change.

The cost of your comments could potentially be very dear:  lives could be lost;  families devastated; and the position of the Trans community made even worse by a deepening of societies bigotry towards them. Please stop.

Yours

 

Steven Heyward                               Saorsa Tweedale

Secretary                                             Trans Member’s Rep

On behalf of PCS Proud’s National Committee

 

 

[Notes to editors]

PCS Proud is the voice of LGBT members of the Public and Commercial Services Union which includes Civil Servants and private sector workers on Government contracts.

PCS Proud’s website is www.pcsproud.org.uk and email is Proud@pcs.org.uk

Secretary, Steve Heyward, is available to speak to media on 07471195587.

Continue Reading

No to austerity, Yes to workers rights

PCS Proud joined colleagues from PCS and many of the TUC affiliated unions on Sunday 4 October in Manchester to march against austerity.

What was the significance of this date? Behind a ring of steel and snipers on rooftops, protecting them from the very unhappy electorate, the Conservative Party conference was getting underway.

The march was titled “No to Austerity, Yes to Workers Rights”. Every person in attendance was responsible for making our voices heard. PCS Proud was there shouting, loud and clear, that austerity and attacks on workers are not acceptable and that vulnerable people should not be made to suffer at the hands of the rich.IMG_0348

Speakers including Mark Serwotka, the PCS General Secretary congratulated the National Gallery strikers who took 110 days of action and won their dispute with Candy Udwin, PCS rep at the National Gallery being reinstated and returning to work.

The speakers then, rightly, condemned the Government attacks on us via the Trade Union bill.

Ste Heyward, Proud’s Secretary said “I am thankful to all PCS Proud members and associate members who attended with branches, regions and other community organisations. We made clear that we will not take the attacks on us lying down.”

The march is only part of the fight back and we must ensure that we keep pressing for coordinated action across the public sector. By fighting together we can win with the tory billionaires realising that they are the few and we are the many.

Continue Reading

TUC LGBT Conference 2016: Calling Notice

TUC LGBT 2014

PCS Proud members elect delegates to the TUC LGBT conference that typically takes place the two days prior to London Pride which is on 25 June 2016.

The number of delegates that represent PCS is defined by the NEC. For the 2015 conference, six delegates attended the conference. It is on this basis that PCS Proud are seeking nominations for six delegates.

We are inviting you to nominate yourself and/or others to this conference.

Nominations and election addresses should be sent electronically, to arrive no later than 10 October 2015. Please see the attached for details.

Please email PCS Proud Secretary secretary@pcsproud.org.uk if you have any questions.

Regards,

Ste Heyward, Proud Secretary

Continue Reading

Proud and the strategic review

cropped-Proud.jpg

 

Members will know that PCS is undergoing a strategic review. It is important that we understand why this is. It is incredibly important that we take stock from time to time to look at how we work and whether there are areas in which we can become more effective. Secondly, the Government make no secret of the fact that the Civil Service and wider public sector is going to be smaller than we have known for many, many years.

It therefore follows that PCS needs to make sure that members are protected, that inequality and injustice in the workplace is dealt with effectively.

PCS Proud’s National Committee is asking members to read the PCS strategic review consultation document (which can be accessed here) and to provide your views to form the PCS Proud response.

When considering this we would also ask members to consider the following:

  • How do you think the union could change the LGBT seminar/training that’s provided?
  • Would you do anything different in terms of providing people with LGBT training?
  • Is there anything you would do to introduce or change equality in your branch, region, group?
  • Do you think there could be any changes to the way Proud is structured?
  • Are there any questions you would ask the Proud NC?
If you would like to contribute to the Proud NC response then either complete the form below or email Secretary@pcsproud.org.uk.

 

Continue Reading

Bi-visibility day

BiFlag.PNG

September 23rd is Bi-Visibility Day, a day where people all around the world celebrate bisexuality.

Sadly, though, there are still people across the world that think people who are bisexual are greedy, undecided or going through a phase. Some people think that if you are in a relationship with someone of a different gender then you are heterosexual and if you are in a relationship with someone of the same gender then you are homosexual.

PCS Proud wants members of PCS to know that this is not the case and that bisexuality is not something that should be invisible. We have a vacancy on the PCS Proud National Committee for a bisexual member’s rep which people can stand for election at our AGM, Proud members actively took part in the Bi-Member’s Caucus at the TUC LGBT Conference and we continue to campaign on issues that our members find important.

For information and resources about bi-visibility day and bisexuality you can either contact Proud@pcs.org.uk or go to www.bivisibilityday.com

The PCS Equality Department and Proud (with credit to our 2013/2014 Bisexual Member’s Rep, Angie Campbell-Cairns) created the following posters for use across the union and beyond, why not download them and put them in your workplace? Click on the images below to open PDF versions of the posters.

Bisexual English Welsh Bisexual English

 

Continue Reading

PCS Political Fund

PCS

PCS is asking members to vote in the political fund ballot which will run from 19 October 2015 until 11 November 2015.

Why?

Trade unions must have a political fund to campaign on political issues, this is the law. An alternative to austerity, equal marriage and proper treatment for asylum seekers (issues that PCS PROUD have campaigned on) could be considered political issues.

In order to have and maintain the political fund, there must be a ballot of all of the members every 10 years.

PCS is not asking you to vote on the way in which the political fund is used. As you know, we are a politically independent trade union. Instead we challenge candidates to promote, adhere to and push the PCS pledges that are part of the PCS Make Your Vote Count campaign.

This ballot is purely about having a political fund, not how the fund is used!

You can read more about the importance of this ballot in the Political Fund Booklet.

“As an officer of Proud I have seen motions to our AGM each year that call for us to challenge Government, demand a fair life for LGBT people across the world, take part in the Make Your Vote Count Campaign and more. Without a fund, PCS would not be able to campaign on these important issues.” Says Dorion Griffiths, Proud Organiser for Communications and Campaigns.

The PCS Proud National Committee invite you to vote in favour of the keeping the fund as soon as you receive your ballot paper.

If you have any queries or concerns, you can contact Steve Heyward (Proud Secretary) on Proud@pcs.org.uk

Don’t worry, we will remind you again once the ballot opens.

Steven Heyward                                                      Clare Bat Or

Proud Secretary                                                              Proud Chair

Continue Reading

PCS LGBT Seminar

Members may be aware that PCS as a union is undergoing a strategic review which will look at every aspect of the union’s work both as a union and as an employer. Members will have an opportunity to contribute to the strategic review consultation in the coming weeks as an individual and as part of your branch, group and via equality networks.

Such a review during sustained attacks on us by a Government intent on changing our terms, conditions, pay and pensions for the worse is not only appropriate but absolutely necessary. 

For the time being the National Equality Seminars will not be taking place in 2015. Information behind this decision will hopefully be released in due course. However, if you have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact Proud Secretary Ste Heyward on Secretary@pcsproud.org.uk 

Continue Reading

Just a Ball Game

jabg

Bradford Brewery partnership with Just  A Ball Game? create a branded Beer to launch LGBT Fan Group and Safe Space.

Campaign organisation Just A Ball Game? (JBG?) has created a unique partnership with Bradford Brewery to provide a branded beer on sale for the month of October 2015 to launch a Bradford City LGBT Fan Group and also the venue as a ‘Safe Space’ for LGBT fans to drink at on match days.

The launch will take place 18:30 -21:30 on October 1st 2015 with a number of invited guests including former Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, Bradford Councillors Richard Dunbar, Susan Hinchcliffe and Sue Duffy. JBG?’s educational exhibition ‘TIME FOR ACTION’  will also be on display along with posters and memorabilia from the Women’s Game will also be on display during October.

 

Mr Dunbar says, “I am proud to be part of this Just A Ball Game? initiative to get a fan group going. LGBT sports fans need to know they are in a safe environment, and can enjoy the whole match experience the same as everyone else.”

Lindsay England, founder of JBG? said, “ Bradford City have for several years supported the local LGBT community as part of the ‘football family’ and the time is now right to introduce an LGBT fan group for the club.” “We wanted to take a quirky idea and bring our brand name to local football fans to create a way they can connect with our work in raising awareness around LGBT inclusion and visibility. Having the Bradford Brewery partner with us by introducing a new beer and a safe space can help bring this about.

 

The beer will be a traditional English Best Bitter containing pale malt, crystal malt, wheat, caramel and chocolate malt with a royal gold colour.

 

A spokesperson for the brewery had this to add: “Bradford Brewery are pleased to support Just a ball Game? It is important that individuality within sport is celebrated. We are all one team.”- Alison of Bradford Brewery.

It’s hoped the branded beer, safe space and LGBT fan group will help to evolve an LGBT /straight alliance and inspire other communities to do similar.

 

Contact for further information:  Founder-Lindsay England: info@justaballgame.co.uk

Continue Reading