PCS rep Sarah Valentine describes the passion and diversity of the 7th annual STUC LGBT+ Workers’ Conference which she attended as a first time delegate.
I recently represented PCS at the STUC’s LGBT+ Workers’ Conference where we heard from some very passionate guest speakers, as well as countless amazing delegates who engaged in a great deal of discussion and debate on LGBT+ issues that affect our members and community.
We heard about a whole range of issues including gender recognition reforms, marriage equality, the effects of Brexit on LGBT workers as well as expanding work on building inclusion of asexual, intersex and non-binary workers.
With so many different unions in the room, I could be forgiven for thinking it would be hard to be united with so many varying views. However, we were united and decisive on taking forward the LGBT+ equality agenda.
During conference we were also touched by the emotive and thought-provoking speakers: Claire Moore shared the work of Love Equality NI who are campaigning for equal marriage in Northern Ireland. Three years on and disappointingly Northern Ireland still doesn’t have this important right.
We also heard from LGBT Unity, a project that provides a safe venue for LGBT+ asylum seekers and helps to set them up with the help they need.
Hugh Torrance from LEAP Sports Scotland then shared what the organisation does in using its venues to affect change and create inclusive policy, reflecting on the upcoming Pride House during the European Championships in Glasgow in August.
I was truly, truly touched by the passion and diversity of everyone involved. For me, the highlight of the weekend was being part of a group who were decisive rather than divisive and welcomed me openly.
Every single person I met truly gave their all throughout conference, if not on the podium then during the workshops, over conversations at dinner or breakfast, or just through the many, many chats we all had to further LGBT+ issues and to foster solidarity at home and abroad.
There are some reading this who may think these conferences are purely social events. While the venue was beautiful and the social evening on the Saturday was fun, over the full weekend we all put conference first, every single moment of the event sharing experiences and best practices to help take forward LGBT+ equality across our movement.
I would urge people to get involved, get active and campaign for these issues, too. Anyone can get involved, and I hope I’ve proven just that. 700 days ago I joined the civil service. 699 days ago, I joined PCS.