Blog 31: Yorkshire’s biggest celebration of LGBT+ life (08/07/19)

Hi Dudes,

Blog 31 is here. Decked out in its summer wardrobe, icy drink in its shaking hand and rainbows dripping from my keyboard. If the prospect of Johnson or Hunt being our Prime Minister this month doesn’t befuddle and inflame you, or the Amazon being chopped down by a football pitch per minute doesn’t stir you, then Sir or Madam you are colder than a penguin’s belly sliding on a frozen glacier. Rise up people – the world is getting madder than a misanthropic mouse, doing a Morris dance, whilst somebody else munches his nuts.

On August 4th Leeds is set to host Yorkshire’s Biggest celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans life”. Your Branch will be represented with activists present and a brand-new banner being designed as we speak. Hopefully we will also have some freebies to give out prior to the day too.

This year’s pride celebrations coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots – These were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT+ community against a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan. The raid is widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights. Although the LGBT+ community has come a long way since those beautiful uprisings, it is important to note that the fight for equality is not over. There are 53 countries in the Commonwealth, out of those, 37 have laws that STILL criminalise homosexuality. You will have all seen in the news recently the story of two women being violently attacked on a bus in London due to their sexuality. Yes, let’s party on August 4th and celebrate all of our diversity, but also remember the fight to end discrimination is never over.

UNISON fights discrimination and prejudice in the workplace on behalf of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) members. We do this by building local and national groups of LGBT+ members, negotiating with employers and offering individual support to anyone experiencing discrimination. We also provide access to practical advice and legal information.

LGBT+ group priorities

  • recruit LGBT+ workers into the union;
  • encourage LGBT+ members to get involved;
  • build our network of LGBT+ groups;
  • support individual members;
  • identify and challenge discrimination, informing the union’s negotiations with employers;
  • defend and promote LGBT+ public services;
  • campaign for equality.

I am sad to say that within our Branch we do not have an LGBT+ Officer to coordinate a self-organised group. If any of you would like to know what this role entails then please get in touch on Ext 64369.  Your role could …..

  • discuss local terms and conditions;
  • build a support network for members facing problems at work;
  • provide a forum for the debate of issues;
  • assist members in gaining the confidence to get involved in other levels of the union.

Away from Pride, Bradford Teaching Hospitals Branch of UNISON starts a period (w/c 8th July) of industrial action against a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (taking Estates and Facilities staff out of their NHS employment). Your Branch sent the following letter of support.

5th July 2019

Dear Ami, and UNISON Bradford Hospitals Branch

Re: WOS Strike

We are writing on behalf of UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch Committee and the membership to declare our strong support and solidarity with your strike action over the establishment of a Wholly Owned Subsidiary at Bradford.

As you know we saw the same threat to our essential Estates and Facilities staff last year. We fully understand how strongly those members will feel about remaining within our NHS family. We are proud, and filled with admiration that these majority low paid members are taking such a strong and righteous stand against the slow destruction of our NHS.

History shows that these members’ terms and conditions will be eroded if you do not win this fight. However history also shows that if you remain strong, and united you WILL win this fight. We have so much respect for your action.

Support and Solidarity to All

… Speak soon XXX