Category Archives: Media Release

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 https://www.bit.ly/29JZaoc

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

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 2024

• 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.

 

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.

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

 

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 2023 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 2023 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