The voice of LGBT members of the PCS Union

Trans Day of Remembrance #TDOR

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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 This is called the law of sudden revelation and has only recently been repealed in case of LGB-motivated murders. It is a reflection of the way Trans people are still viewed (and not just in the US) that it was not repealed in the case of Trans murders.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.

 

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Open Letter to Germaine Greer

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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.

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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.

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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

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Proud and the strategic review

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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.

 

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Bi-visibility day

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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

 

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PCS Political Fund

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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

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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 

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Just a Ball Game

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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

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LGBTI Citizens Worldwide (Lords Debate)

On Thursday 17 September 2015, the House of Lords debated a motion to take note of the treatment of LGBTI citizens worldwide. Click here to read the transcript of the debate in the Hansard

During the debate some frightening statistics were brought to the attention of the house. One notable point was that between 2008 and 2014 the Trans Murder Monitoring Project listed 1612 murders of Trans people worldwide.

Lord Collins of Highbury, in contributing to the debate, said “Too many Governments have proposed or enacted laws that aim to curb freedom of expression, association, religion and peaceful protest. As we have heard, same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults continues to be criminalised in 78 jurisdictions in the world, and 40 of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth of Nations criminalise same-sex relations for men, women or both.”

In moving the motion, Lord Scriven asked the minister to enact a suggestion to fly the rainbow flag at all UK Embassies during Pride. PCS Proud also calls for the Bi and Trans flags to be flown too.

PCS Proud recognises that we have members working for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Department for International Development (DFID) in Embassies all over the world. It is incredibly important that our members safety continues to be paramount but also that ideology and LGBT phobia is challenged wherever it arises.

We are seeking to write to the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan (Minister for Women and Equalities) and the Rt Hon Philip Hammond (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) to introduce them to our charter and ask that similar values are upheld in Government and in places where the work of the Government is carried out.

In addition to this we are seeking to request that the UK Government makes clear that LGBT phobia is not acceptable and that anti-LGBT legislation is challenged and repealed.

Steve Heyward, Secretary of Proud, says “It is crucial that the disgraceful treatment of LGBT people around the world is challenged. We have a responsibility, first and foremost, to protect our fellow human beings. I am incredibly proud of members who took part in the #IAmGay campaign and encourage members to take part in similar campaigns so that LGBT people in countries that legislate against them can have a voice.”

PCS believes that equality should be at the heart of everything that we do and therefore we ask members to consider sending motions to branch AGMs so that PCS Annual Delegate Conference can have a position and so the wider union can prioritise a campaign for LGBT rights around the world as part of our international work as well as our equality work.

Dorion Griffiths, Proud’s Organiser for Campaigns and Communications has drafted some wording to get members started with motions:

This Conference notes the appalling treatment of LGBT people around the world. From jail to the death sentence, 40 out of 53 Commonwealth states have criminalised homosexuality. This Conference further notes that the treatment of Trans people by the UK media has caused suicide and harm.

Phillip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, issued an instruction on embassies across the globe to not fly the rainbow flag during pride season due to the safety implications that doing so may have. Conference agrees that this is unacceptable. and that each embassy should make its own decision regarding safety issues.

This conference agrees that PCS should condemn any LGBT phobia whether it be in law or in society’s attitudes towards LGBT people.

The NEC are therefore instructed to:

  • Work with PCS Proud and the international committee to launch a campaign against LGBT phobia around the world
  • Issue a briefing to all PCS groups highlighting the PCS Proud LGBT Charter and encourage negotiators to press for the charter to be embedded in the employer’s equality policy.
  • Create, with PCS Proud, a PCS strategy for more LGBT representation in our structures.

If any members have queries or issues please do not hesitate to contact Proud@pcs.org.uk

 

 

 

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TUC demo: No to Austerity, Yes to Workers Rights.

PCS Proud is seeking to mobilise Proud members and take part in the TUC organised “No to Austerity, Yes to Workers Rights” march at the tory party conference on 4 October 2015.

If you are attending the demonstration and want to march with Proud then either keep an eye out for our banner in the PCS section of the march! You can also tweet us on @PCS_Proud. 

Steve Heyward, Proud Secretary, says “This march is incredibly important as workers rights are being eroded. We must raise our voices loud and clear and say “enough is enough””

More information about the demonstration can be found https://www.tuc.org.uk/about-tuc/no-austerity-4-oct-march-and-rally

The PCS news and events page can be found http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/news_and_events.cfm

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Ireland says YES

In a statement from PCS Proud, Secretary Ste Heyward said “The people of Ireland have spoken and want marriage equality for the LGBT community. Many campaigners were not necessarily members of the LGBT community but they know the importance of equality in society. I am extremely pleased with the result so far and congratulate each and every campaigner who spoke out with support for LGBT rights.”

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LGBT Charter

Be sure to ask candidates to support our LGBT Charter when they ask for your vote during this general election.

The PCS Proud LGBT Charter calls for a basic set of principles that promotes equality in work, at home and in wider social policy.

The following text is suggested.

Dear <Candidate Name>

I am writing to you to ask that you support the PCS Proud LGBT Charter. PCS is, as you will probably know, the largest Civil Service union in the UK. 

Members at the PCS Proud annual general meeting, called for a campaign to promote equality in the workplace, at home and in wider social policy.

I am asking you, as a candidate standing for election, to support the LGBT Charter and strive to ensure that the principles of equality, freedom and justice are upheld. Throughout the election campaign and in Government, if you’re elected.  

To show your support I ask you to go to www.pcsproud.org.uk/charter and pledge your support.

Yours sincerely,

<Your Name>

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