Taking Stock on Sexual Orientation
The Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee Consultation
The UNISON Scotland Response
UNISON Scotland welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to
We are the largest trade union in Scotland and represent over
140,000 members. Since its inception, UNISON has enshrined within
its rule book the principle of self organisation. Self Organisation
is a key element of UNISON's strategy for achieving equality.
It plays a vital role in enabling members who face discrimination
to participate in the union. Successful implementation of the
union's policies on equality depends on the fullest possible involvement
of women, black members, disabled members and lesbian and gay
members who have traditionally been under represented at all levels
of the union.
Consequently, this response has been prepared by the UNISON Scotland's
Lesbian and Gay Committee.
Experience of LGBT Communities in Scotland:
UNISON is of the view that it welcomes the achievements of the
Scottish Parliament in the area of equalities and recognises the
developments, to date, which have taken place.
UNISON would be looking for the Parliament to continue its good
progress, where it has the power to do so, in reducing discrimination
of the LGBT community both in terms of the criminal laws and also
in the field of partnership rights. We appreciate the work of
the Equality Unit in ensuring that legislation is appropriately
Provision of LGBT Aware Services:
UNISON calls for a positive agenda for public services which
properly meets the needs of all LGBT users. We believe that the
LGBT Community in Scotland are entitled to:-
- Recognition and celebration of their diversity UNISON
believes that service providers must recognise that the lesbian
and gay community covers a complete cross-section of society
and respond to the full range of needs.
- Fairness at work UNISON believes that good employment
practice and best practice in service delivery are two sides
of the same coin - you can't offer quality services if you're
not offering your staff a fair deal at work.
- A roof over their heads UNISON believes that safe and
affordable housing should be available to everyone who wants
and needs it; providers of housing should recognise and respond
to the specific needs of lesbians and gay men.
- Care for their communities UNISON believes that lesbians
and gay men and lesbian and gay carers must be able to access
care services in confidence that their rights and dignity will
be respected, and without fear of prejudice.
- Care in sickness and health UNISON believes that health
care providers should ensure lesbians and gay men have access
to services appropriate to their needs, without encountering
prejudice or compromising their confidentiality.
- Learning without prejudice UNISON believes that all
educaiton authorities and institutions should provide honest,
non-judgemental information about lesbian and gay issues and
take rigorous steps to tackle homophobic bullying.
- Equality of justice UNISON believes that lesbians and
gay men are entitled to full equality of justice under the law
and in the application of the law and that effective action
must be taken to tackle homophobic hate crimes.
- Inclusion at leisure UNISON believes the local administration
of arts, sport and leisure can make an enormous difference to
the lives of lesbians and gay men and to breaking down barriers
of prejudice if organised on the basis of inclusiveness.
Attached to this response is UNISON's agenda for change entitled
"UNISON - Equality and Inclusion: A Public Services Agenda
for Lesbians and Gay Men", which expands in more detail the
main points of our submission.
We hope the committee will give serious consideration
to this submission and would be happy to give further evidence
if so required.
For Further Information Please Contact:
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX
Tel 0141-332 0006 Fax 0141 342 2835