Being out, being proud?

In the first of 2 blog posts responding to the news that more people in the UK are identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) in the UK, PCS Proud organiser Kris Hendry says that it is important to look beyond the headlines and ensure that we, as a trade union and as people, don’t become complacent

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2015 about 1.7% of the population identified as LGB based on responses, this increased to 2% in 2016, among young people the increase was from 3.3% to 4.1% in the same time frame.

However, it is important to look beyond the headline and ensure that we, as a trade union and as people, don’t become complacent and start believing that everything is all rainbows and glitter for the UK’s LGBT community, something many Pride events around the country could lead you to believe.

The findings were based on an anonymous survey making it much easier for LGB respondents to be out in their answers privately while perhaps not feeling comfortable or able to be out among friends, family and their local community. A Scottish report in 2015 from the Equality Network found that more than half of LGBT respondents were ‘never’ or ‘only sometimes’ out to their own family, a stat that isn’t difficult to imagine would be reflected across the rest of the UK as well.

Undoubtedly though many LGB, and T, people will feel more comfortable in identifying themselves openly because of the progress achieved over the past five decades, since the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967, for LGBT equality. However we must remember there remains much to do, most notably for the transgender community as was highlighted at this year’s PCS Annual Delegate Conference during the debate which agreed the motion calling for the immediate implementation of the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee’s 2016 ‘Transgender report.’

Hate crime

And while many of the legal fights for equality have been won, this does not automatically translate to local communities where many LGBT people continue to face discrimination on the street, in the workplace or even in their own home. In September, this year Stonewall released a report which found that one in five LGBT people had experienced a hate crime in the previous year.

Proud has a long history of championing LGBT issues within our union and ensuring PCS remains a loud and clear voice among the wider Trade Union movement, pursuing greater equality for all our LGBT members and the wider community, across the whole of the UK.

However, to ensure we can continue to do so and truly achieve LGBT equality for our members and the wider community we need your support by:

  • Declaring your diversity data - PCS and most employers ask members to record their diversity data. This information can be used for highlighting the equality impact of employer practices and guidance, for example the discriminatory nature of the PMR system which PCS was able to evidence based on declared diversity information. The more people who declare their information accurately then the more this information can be used to push for positive change for our members in all areas of equality.
  • Joining Proud -  membership is open to all, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity and will ensure you are kept up to date on the work of Proud and how you can play your part.
  • Attending PCS’ National LGBT Members’ Seminar - open to all PCS LGBT members, our seminar takes place on 28 and 29 October and is aimed at empowering and giving attendees the tools needed to begin organising and campaigning for equality in their own workplace to help build our union. Visit the equality events page for more details and application forms.

Proud encourages all LGBT members in PCS to join Proud today and get involved. Tell us how you want to see Proud move forward as we continue the fight for true LGBT equality. If you have any questions then you can contact email proud@pcs.org.uk, all contact is treated in the strictest confidence.

You can also follow Proud on Facebook and Twitter for updates on our work and from across the rest of the trade union LGBT movement.

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