2024: The Year of LGBT+

During our recent branch Annual General Meeting, we had the privilege of welcoming our guest speaker Watty Gaffney, co-convenor of UNISON LGBT+, who shared enlightening insights into the experiences of the LGBT+ community. This has further motivated us to lead by example in promoting inclusivity within our branch. We aim to cultivate an environment where LGBT+ equality is not just an initiative but a fundamental aspect of our culture.

Here is a snippet of Watty’s speech.

In our assembly today, we focus on the paramount issue of LGBT+ equality in the workplace. This challenge extends beyond mere policies and procedures; it touches on the very essence of our values, our dedication to inclusivity, and our commitment to ensuring a workplace where every person can prosper, free from discrimination and prejudice. As we live in a time when diversity is rightly seen as a source of strength and innovation, it’s critical that our work environments reflect these ideals by offering a sanctuary of acceptance and understanding for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

Why is LGBT+ equality critical in our workplaces? It’s vital because it impacts more than just our financial outcomes—it’s about recognizing and honoring our shared humanity. Allowing employees to authentically be themselves unlocks their full potential, enhancing team collaboration and productivity. An inclusive workplace benefits not only the LGBT+ community but enriches us all.

Achieving real inclusivity demands substantial commitment from all levels of leadership to integrate diversity and equality into our organization’s core. This means revisiting and possibly revising policies and practices, and addressing unconscious biases that could slow our progress. It also calls for ongoing education and open dialogue.

As part of UNISON Scotland’s LGBT+ leadership, we’re committed to driving change and fostering workplace equality for the LGBT+ community, acknowledging both the progress made and the long road ahead. Our strategy encompasses collaboration with key stakeholders and a comprehensive action plan that spans all sectors, aiming to make 2024 a landmark year for LGBT+ workers in Scotland. This initiative seeks to galvanize all trade unions towards creating safer, more inclusive work environments.

Our efforts include negotiating with employers on implementing model policies, supporting and establishing LGBT+ staff forums, and organizing various educational and engagement activities. By understanding LGBT+ history and current challenges, including the global attacks on trans rights, we aim to inspire activism and safeguard our hard-won rights.

We’re also committed to visibility at pride events and to conducting a program of trans ally training, emphasizing the importance of dialogue with employers. Our goal is to challenge stereotypes, foster empathy, and ultimately, build a culture of understanding and respect.

As we advance, we encourage each branch to actively support the Year of LGBT+ Workers by adopting inclusive practices, including the appointment of dedicated LGBT+ officers. Through collective effort and commitment to fairness, respect, and dignity for all, we can create workplaces and a society that truly embody our values of compassion and progress. Let’s unite to accelerate change for LGBT+ equality in the workplace.

2024: The Year of LGBT+ Celebration with UNISON and the Scottish Ambulance Branch

In an inspiring move that marks a significant milestone in the journey towards inclusivity and equality, UNISON has declared 2024 as the Year of LGBT+. This declaration is not just a statement; it is a testament to the unwavering commitment of UNISON to champion the rights, recognition, and respect of LGBT+ individuals across all sectors. Among the numerous branches and sectors taking a stand for this cause, the Scottish Ambulance Branch stands out as a beacon of progress and inclusivity.

UNISON's Commitment to LGBT+ Rights

UNISON, the UK's largest public service union, has long been at the forefront of advocating for equality and rights for all its members, including those from the LGBT+ community. By dedicating 2024 as the Year of LGBT+, UNISON is reinforcing its commitment to creating workplaces and communities that are safe, welcoming, and inclusive for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

This year-long celebration includes a series of initiatives, events, and campaigns designed to educate, raise awareness, and foster an environment of inclusivity. Through workshops, seminars, and collaboration with LGBT+ organizations, UNISON aims to address key issues facing the community, such as discrimination, health disparities, and the need for greater representation in all levels of decision-making.

The Scottish Ambulance Branch: Leading by Example

The Scottish Ambulance Branch, an integral part of UNISON, is setting a remarkable example of how inclusivity can be seamlessly integrated into the fabric of public services. Recognizing the unique challenges and healthcare needs of LGBT+ individuals, the branch has implemented comprehensive training for its staff. This training ensures that all employees are equipped with the knowledge and sensitivity required to provide care that is not only professional but also empathetic and respectful of each patient's identity.

Furthermore, the Scottish Ambulance Branch has established a supportive network for its LGBT+ employees, offering a platform for sharing experiences, addressing concerns, and fostering a sense of belonging and community. This initiative reflects the branch's holistic approach to inclusivity, focusing on both the service it provides and the well-being of its workforce.

A Year of Celebration and Beyond

The declaration of 2024 as the Year of LGBT+ by UNISON, with the active participation of the Scottish Ambulance Branch, is a call to action for other organizations and the wider community. It is an invitation to join hands in celebrating diversity, promoting equality, and building a society where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, is valued and respected.

As we move through the year, let us all be inspired by the efforts of UNISON and the Scottish Ambulance Branch. Let us participate in the events, educate ourselves and others, and contribute to making our workplaces, communities, and society more inclusive. The Year of LGBT+ is not just a milestone; it is a step towards a future where equality and love triumph over discrimination and prejudice.

In conclusion, 2024 promises to be a year of significant progress, celebration, and hope. As UNISON leads the way with its dedicated Year of LGBT+, supported by the exemplary efforts of the Scottish Ambulance Branch, we are reminded of the power of unity and the importance of inclusivity. Together, we can create a world where everyone is free to be themselves, celebrated for their uniqueness, and supported in their rights to equality and respect.

More information on LGBT+ 2024