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TUC LGBT+ Conference: Usdaw tackles hate crime and hate speech

Date: 03 July 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has a delegation of members attending the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Plus (LGBT+) Conference, where they will be tackling deep concerns about a significant growth in hate crimes and hate speech. The conference takes place in Congress House, London and starts tomorrow.
Statistics show that last year LGB hate crime has more than doubled and hate crime against trans people has trebled in England and Wales in the last five years.  One in ten recorded crimes are motivated by sexual orientation, making this the second largest category after race hate crimes, which still make up almost three quarters of all reported incidents. 2% are motivated by gender reassignment.
 
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “Too many incidents of violence and abuse against LGBT+ people in our workplaces and on our streets goes unreported. The rise in hate crime has real consequences for LGBT+ people, which can cause many to hide who they are.
 
“Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic views expressed by public figures on public platforms embolden those who share their views to express them verbally and physically.  We utterly condemn the homophobic, deeply offensive and dangerous suggestion by Ann Widdecombe, now a Brexit Party MEP, that science might ‘provide an answer to being gay’. 
 
“This view reinforces the prejudice that same sex attraction is an illness to be cured and that LGB people are somehow confused about their sexuality - prejudices that fuel hatred and violence against LGB people.  Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic views have direct consequences for LGBT people and communities as ‘hate speech’ is often the first step in the process towards actual violence.
 
“There is a problem with the law in that anti-LGBT+ hate crimes are not treated equally, sending out a message that they are less serious.  Changing the law is only part of the battle - negative attitudes and prejudices must also be tackled.  Trade union activists play a crucial role changing 'hearts and minds'. We send our fraternal greeting to delegates and best wishes as they deliberate this and other important issues for the LGBT+ communities.”
 
Usdaw is calling for the TUC to:
  • Lobby for LGBT+ hate crimes to be put on an equal footing and highlight that LGBT+ workers still face significant discrimination and violence.  
  • Encourage the sharing of training and campaign materials which tackle hate crime and promote zero tolerance in the workplace.
  • Address the particular issues facing Black LGBT+ workers and ensure that the voices of LGBT+ people are at the heart of challenging hate speech and crime.
Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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