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TUC LGBT+ conference 2023 delegation

UCU at the TUC LGBT+ conference 2023

5 July 2023

UCU had its largest ever delegation to TUC LGBT+ conference this year, with a diverse group of 20 people from a wide range of branches taking part.

TUC LGBT+ conference 2023 - Bupie BBupie Buiser recounted a personal experience of conversion therapy UCU had its largest ever delegation to TUC LGBT+ conference this year, with a diverse group of 20 people from a wide range of branches taking part. UCU made a significant impression with speeches to motions, including on personal experience of conversion therapy (Bupie Buiser), LGBT+ persecution in Turkey (Levent Pişkin), LGBT international/human rights (David Murphy, Jacqui Lovell, Ronan McCoy), against cuts to community and health services (Peter Evans, Tilly Fitzmaurice), intersectional inclusion (Holly Cooper), LGBT+ in the workplace including neurodiversity (Moona Ma, Jane Irwin), issues with the EHRC (Philip Inglesant), and trans and non-binary rights (Elias Michaut, Bee Hughes, Damon Young). The first-time delegates spoke to rousing support.

The delegation was led by Peter Evans, UCU NEC LGBT+ rep for FE, and David Murphy, incoming TUC LGBT+ committee member. David was at his first TUC LGBT+ conference whilst Peter has been attending for many years including for UCU and a previously for another union.

TUC LGBT+ conference 2023 - Bee HBee Hughes spoke about trans and non-binary rights Member of the UCU delegation, Holly Cooper, seconded a motion challenging the UK government action that prevented the Gender Recognition Act Reform in Scotland coming into force this year. UCU is delighted that this composite motion, formed by bringing together the GMB and UCU motions, was the one motion voted to go to TUC Congress in September. At TUC Congress UCU will take the opportunity to second this motion and, therefore, to continue to promote Trans and Non-Binary rights across the union movement.

TUC LGBT+ conference 2023 -  Holly CHolly Cooper seconded a motion on the Gender Recognition Act Reform UCU's emergency motion about recent anti-LGBT+ actions in Uganda and Turkey saw some very powerful speeches and was resoundingly backed by the conference.

President Erdogan was recently re-elected in Turkey and took opportunity in the victory speech to attack LGBT+ rights and activists. UCU delegate, Levent Pişkin, spoke about having been involved in Istanbul Pride and then experiencing persecution following that Pride being banned after 2015. In Uganda an anti-homosexuality act has recently been passed including the death penalty

Becoming active

UCU LGBT+ actions are well noted in the union movement and being part of the delegation to TUC LGBT+ conference is a significant way to contribute to that voice. The delegation represents national UCU and therefore takes its voting line and motions from UCU national policy decided at UCU Congress. The UCU LGBT+ committee has a key role in developing policy and at Congress.

If you are LGBT+ and wish to be involved in UCU LGBT+ activities do come to the members' conference on Saturday 18th November 2023, stand for UCU LGBT+ committee - elected at the members' conference, and/or be a part of the UCU delegation to TUC LGBT+ conference. There is also a lively CPD and webinar programme to engage with, and you don't have to be LGBT+ to do so. UCU LGBT+ also takes part in Pride events where UCU members can be part of a walking group or help staff our stall.


Composite 2: Protect Trans and Non-Binary Rights

Conference notes:

With deep concern that the UK Government prevented the Gender Recognition Reform bill passed by the Scottish Parliament from going for Royal Assent, using (for the first time) section 35 of the Scotland Act 1998.

The Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passed this progressive bill with over 65% of MSPs from all parties supporting it.

The bill would have removed barriers for people to legally change their gender by allowing for self-identification.

In the 25 years since devolution no UK government has taken this step until now. Conference notes the UK Govt's statement to restrict trans+ and non-binary people's ability to have their Gender Recognition certificate recognised in the UK if it has been issued by countries who allow self-identification.

On the 16/1/23 a high court, to challenge the long waiting times experienced by trans+ people seeking help from the NHS, was rejected.

Conference believes:

  • people should be supported through transition and self-identification (regardless of medicalised process)
  • Transphobia cannot go unchallenged, and the TUC should challenge it
  • the TUC has responsibility to trans and non-binary workers to respond strongly to attacks on their rights
  • LGBT+ people should have rights to live free from discrimination.
  • this conference stands in solidarity with all Trans+ and non-binary people from the attacks on their being from the UK State.

We condemn the proposals by Kemi Badenoch in February to 'clarify' the Equality Act 2010 and amend the current definition of sex, which would remove decades long rights protections from discrimination for trans people. We also condemn the collusion of the EHRC in this. We welcome the letter from Paul Nowak in response making clear the TUC commitment to oppose these proposals.

Conference calls on the TUC LGBT+ committee:

  • to strengthen solidarity with trans and nonbinary workers in hosting an online event focusing on international progress toward trans and non-binary self-identity, and inclusion within unions and in wider society
  • to support union affiliates in becoming more trans and non-binary inclusive
  • to commend Scottish Parliament for this action and provide vocal support for such change to happen across the whole UK
  • continue to highlight the impact of the onslaught on trans and non-binary people's lives
  • continue to work alongside the STUC LGBT+ Committee, LGBT+ Labour and other grass roots organisations to support and protect Trans+ and non-binary people's lives
  • support efforts, as far as practicable, to overturn the Section 35 Order
  • work with appropriate decision makers to prevent the continued erosion of Trans+ and non-binary people's lives.

Mover: GMB
Seconder: UCU

Tackling the Global Rise of LGBT+ Hate

That Conference abhors the growing tide of anti LGBT+ attitudes and hate being observed around the world, partly fueled by social media and amplified by the right-wing media under the guise of 'culture wars'.

That Conference recognises warnings that the deliberate misinformation spread around GRA reform has now bled into attacks against the wider LGBT+ community. This was evidenced by:

  1. the recent government petition to remove LGBT+ issues from RSE receiving over 100,000 signatures,
  2. the ongoing attacks against LGBT+ artists, notably drag queens leading to loss of income for many, primarily LGBT+ artists or the return of Section 28 style language aimed at LGBT+ people and allies.

That Conference also recognises the increasing hostility overseas, such as the wide range of anti LGBT+ legislation being introduced in several US states, as well as the continued criminalisation of LGBT+ people around the world.

That Conference calls on the TUC LGBT+ Committee to:

  1. launch a workplace campaign against the rising tide of LGBT+ hate, working with the General Council to encourage affiliates participation
  2. work with international colleagues to reaffirm our ongoing support and discuss how our movement continues to support their own campaigning for LGBT+ equality.

Mover: PCS


After point b, insert new action point c:

'Ensure that work to challenge far right ideology reflects the fact that trans, non-binary and gender diverse people are a key target of far right hate and incorporate this into the work of the new trans rights network.'



Add new point 'iii) the EHRC's continued anti-trans agenda, including their comments on the definition of sex in the Equality Act'

Add to end of 'that conference also recognises...' - 'including Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill and spread of 'LGBT+ free zones' elsewhere.'

Add new point b), re-letter onward - 'b) To recognise the global scale of attacks on LGBT+ people requires global action by'

New point c) (currently b) - replace 'Work' with 'Working'.


International LGBT+ Rights: Uganda and Turkey

Conference notes

  1. Anti-homosexuality Act, which includes death penalty for 'aggravated homosexuality.', signed into Ugandan law (26th May)
  2. UK gave aid money to anti-LGBT+ organisation Inter-Religious Council of Uganda which has signed a statement expressing "great concern" over 'the growing spread of homosexuality' in Uganda
  3. President Erdogan re-elected as Turkey's President (29th May) and in gave a victory speech which included criticism of 'LGBT forces'. Erdogan said in Turkey family is 'sacred' and 'we will strangle anyone who dares to touch it."
  4. Istanbul Pride has been banned since 2015.

Conference calls on the TUC LGBT+ committee to

  1. campaign for
    1. the UK Government to review aid given to those who pursue or support anti-LGBT+ agendas.
    2. the Church of England to challenge members in the Anglican community which pursue or support anti-LGBT+ agenda
  2. campaign against refugees being sent to Rwanda, which neighbours Uganda, working with MPs to oppose this, highlighting the plight of LGBT+ people internationally.
  3. support organisations that work with LGBT+ people facing persecution internationally, particularly those from Uganda and Turkey promote TUC LGBT+ international work through an online event for IDAHOBIT 2024.
Last updated: 7 July 2023