LGBT History Month is an important opportunity to mark LGBT history, celebrate equality and show solidarity with LGBT people in the UK and around the world who still face violence, harassment and discrimination at work and their everyday lives because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
This is a particularly important year for the UK. As on 13 January 2020 same-sex marriage finally became legal in Northern Ireland. Nothing is won without struggle and this success is the result of years of campaigning by LGBT marriage equality groups and supporters. The first marriage ceremonies are due to take place this month on the 14 February.
Usdaw are taking a chance this year to focus on the shocking rise in LGBT hate crime and the crucial role unions play in challenging hate speech and standing up for those at the sharp end.
· Between 2014-15 and 2018-19 the number of recorded hate crimes based on sexual orientation across England and Wales went up from 5,591 to 14,491 - a rise of 160%.
· Hate crimes against transgender people have nearly quadrupled in the last five years, to 2,333 reports last year.
· Stonewall figures show 81% of people who experienced LGBTQ+ hate crime did not report it to the police.
There is clear evidence of a rise in people becoming more hostile to those they see as different. And Usdaw LGBT members, particularly those working in customer facing roles in stores or as delivery drivers, can be particularly vulnerable.
As Union reps and members we can help to make sure our workplaces are free from hate. So ourselves, our colleagues and friends can go about our daily life without fear of abuse or attack.
That’s why last year we launched our Together Against Hate Campaign
to raise awareness of what a hate crime is and how to report it. Recognising abuse and reporting it isn’t always easy, so it’s important that members know the Union is there to support them if something happens.
Anyone worried about LGBT issues at work is encouraged to join the Union
. Usdaw has a strong track record supporting and representing LGBT members who have experienced discrimination and harassment at work.
We produce a wide range of union materials aimed at raising awareness of LGBT rights at work and tackling prejudice.
Most importantly, there is a dedicated network of Usdaw reps and activists in workplaces across the country who stand up to support LGBT members every day.