Personal reflections of a first time delegate- LGBT+ conference 2021 (Karl Lewis)
The main message from it is the unequivocal and unanimous support for Trans rights. This was showed through the motions we passed which included support for Stonewall, Trans Equality and Trans Health motions – all of which passed with no speakers against and by from what I could see a unanimous show of hands. We also heard from the General Secretary of the Union (Christina McAnea) who showed her solidarity and support for the Trans movement. I also took her words, as the first woman GS of Unison, that her rights as a woman are not in any way threatened by supporting trans rights.
On this point I hope this helps you to support our organisations that are in the Stonewall Index, we are likely to be one of the next round of organisations put under pressure to leave the scheme. We should also support our employers and encourage them to join the scheme.
I also learnt a lot from a motion about Freedom of Information requests about the lengths anti-LGBT+ groups will go when our organisations show support for LGBT+ people, especially those that define as Trans. We need to be aware of this and again support our employers and encourage them to ensure they know the law before they take on any actions.
· I spoke on a motion about the National Disability Strategy, talking from my experience of having Crohn’s and being LGBT+. It was a bit of a last minute decision to speak, but I hope I managed to get my main points across.
· On a personal level, it was highly inspirational to be around a group of people and I took a lot from it. My regional LGBT+ group did a great job of
introducing themselves and letting others
introduce themselves, right from the start with their meal on the first night. Through that I met a lot of other first time delegates and we all supported and helped one another, and have kept in contact since, helping keep contacts in the area and learn from best practice.
· Every motion that was discussed was passed, with very few having opposition to them. It was though a shame that we didn’t get to discuss several really important motions, including one emergency on some of the actions taken by the NEC. It would have led to good debate, but I would have supported the motion that would have instructed the LGBT+ committee to “inform the NEC that this SOG does not agree with anything which interferes with the democratic running and commitment to equality of our union or attempts to challenge rule other than at NDC.
You can see more information on the conference here: