2012: STUC LGBT Committee

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) formed its first LGBT Committee in 2012, representing LGBT+ workers across Scotland.

At the inaugural meeting, ASLEF member Craig Cameron was elected as Chair of the committee. He reported on the work he had been undertaking with the committee in the first edition of Equally Driven.

Craig Cameron is wearing a hoody, coat and warm hat. He is in a crowded street and holding a red ASLEF flag.

It is remarkable how quickly things can change.  Just two years ago the LGBT community within the Scottish Trade Union movement was still trying to assert its voice and were looking for a national platform at which to raise those issues that most concern LGBT workers.

Two years, a motion to congress, an advisory committee and two conferences later and the STUC have filled a gap in their equality set-up with the creation of the STUC LGBT Workers Committee.  It’s certainly been a very busy period, the first conference in Sept 2013 saw over 50 delegates and visitors converge on Glasgow where issues as diverse as LGBT service provision, access to sport and the record of commonwealth nations in respect of equality legislation were discussed.  The most striking element of that first conference came particularly from the level of personal testimony that those attending displayed.

The work of the committee over the last year has been concerned primarily with developing relationships with other bodies and campaigning on issues we feel passionately about.  To that end the STUC LGBT Workers committee organised an LGBT History month event in Feb 2013 to discuss Equal Marriage in Scotland.  The fact that the Scottish Government has seen fit to publish the draft bill prior to the summer parliamentary recess is yet another positive stage in the debate that will hopefully see legislation emerge next year.

The Commonwealth games will arrive in Glasgow in the summer of 2014 and this too has provided an opportunity to raise LGBT rights with the organisers in the hope that as part of our international obligations that we can start to bring to bear some pressure on those commonwealth countries that not only fail to protect the rights of their LGBT citizens but in some cases actively persecute them even to the point of death.  To date the organisers have taken on our concerns.

The final element to the last 12 months saw the hosting of a second conference in May 2013.  One major issue that arose again was the problem with school bullying which has reached appalling levels.  Indeed, it’s three times more prevalent than bullying, due to religion or ethnicity and, not only does this affect pupils’ school work, we also know that half of those affected truanted from school to avoid being bullied.  It can be no coincidence that depression is significantly higher among LGBT young people and that sadly incidents of attempted suicide are also higher.  In an attempt to tackle the problem, the STUC LGBT Workers committee intend to work with our colleagues in the Youth committee, Stonewall and LGBT Youth Scotland.

It has been an eventful year and one with a great deal of personal satisfaction also, having worked on the first advisory committee it was a great pleasure to not only be elected to the first committee but also to serve as its’ chair during this time.  It demonstrates the ability for ASLEF to play both an active role and have influence in external bodies and trade union federations whilst campaigning for greater equality for all while espousing our own trade union values. 

Craig Cameron, Equally Driven issue #1

BBC Scotland reported on some of the campaigning work of the STUC LGBT section in May 2013.

You can find out more about the past and present work of the STUC LGBT+ Committee here.

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