Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights

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Activist Resources

This is a new guide for trade union reps about
A list of countries where homosexuality is still illegal
The position of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB and

The TUC campaigns for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at work and in society. The first TUC LGBT Conference was held in 1998, since when bisexual and transgender rights have been included in the remit. This annual conference elects a committee that advises the TUC on policy, and oversees campaigns on LGBT issues.

The TUC has been involved in all the campaigns to end legal discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, and was involved in all the many improvements to the law secured over the last dozen years.

TUC campaigning included challenging the Government at the High Court in 2004 over exemptions to the employment regulations, a campaign which resulted in the end in the removal of the exemption that would deny equal rights in occupational pension schemes to same sex partners in a civil partnership. 

TUC LGBT Conference Report
Download the TUC LGBT Conference report 

The TUC was similarly active in promoting support for regulations outlawing discrimination in the provision of goods and services, and helped remove a proposed exemption for religious adoption agencies that would have undermined the principle of equality.

The Equality Act 2010 consolidated much of this legislation and has achieved full legal equality for LGBT people with all other groups, with a few exceptions on whichcampaigning will continue. The public sector equality duty introduced by the Equality Act, the TUC believes, offers a powerful lever to assist public bodies to challenge continued prejudice and hostility in areas where it remains endemic, such as in schools and colleges, and in sports like football. The TUC is working with unions and allies such as Schools Out to challenge this unacceptable state of affairs.

Homophobia: Let's Tackle It
Homophobia: Let's Tackle It (Front cover)The TUC continues to work in alliance with other organisations to challenge homophobia and transphobia in sport. We are delighted to see the publication of "Homophobia: let's tackle it", a recent resource produced by Show Racism the Red Card. Read our review here.

Advice and information

The TUC has published updated guidance for unions taking into account recent legal changes and current good practice, LGBT Equality at Work; a TUC guide for union negotiators on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues can be downloaded from this website.

Its coverage includes advice on monitoring sexual orientation and gender identity as well.

Advice and guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission can be found on their website here: www.equalityhumanrights.com

There are now LGBT groups within all major UK trade unions; members should visit their union’s website for further information. In addition, regional trade union LGBT networks function in most of the TUC regions and in Wales. Occasional newsletters aimed at activists in the regions are published on this page.

The TUC sponsors Pride London and UK Black Pride each year, and trade unions are playing an increasing role in the many Pride events that now take place across the country.

Working abroad?
LGB or T workers going to work abroad should check how that country treats LGBT people, because in 76 (as at 2013) countries homosexuality is still illegal. Trans people may be treated differently. See the list of countries 

The TUC supports LGBT History Month, held each February, and encourages unions to organise events during this period. See their website at www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk.

To contact the TUC about work on LGBT equality, email Peter Purton on ppurton@tuc.org.uk.

Trade unions have pressed for equalisation of survivor benefits for decades. Successive governments have recognised that discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation is wrong and have legislated to stop it occurring. But by failing to fully backdate the entitlement to equal survivor pensions such discrimination will continue for some...
02 July 2014
In just a generation, there has been a profound change in attitudes and culture on sexuality and transgender. Of course, all too often ‘gay’ is still thrown round as a casual term of abuse in schools, and homophobic bullying has found a new outlet online and in social media. But...
01 July 2014
Commenting on a report published today (Thursday) by the government – which estimates that more than one in four defined benefit schemes in the private sector discriminate against same-sex couples – TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
26 June 2014
Speaking to delegates attending the annual TUC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Conference later today (Thursday), TUC Assistant General Secretary, Paul Nowak, said:
26 June 2014
Some widowers, surviving civil partners and same-sex spouses receive a lot less each year than widows just because of their gender and/or sexual orientation.
20 June 2014
Same-sex couples have been able to marry in England and Wales since the end of March – a right currently denied to LGBT people living in Jersey.
20 June 2014
The TUC submitted amendments to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) world congress in Berlin in May 2014, calling for ITUC affiliates around the world to take action to defend their LGBTI members. Here is the speech that TUC delegate and General Council spokesperson on Europe, Billy Hayes, made to...
04 June 2014
The TUC is urging people to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia today (Saturday) by remembering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who have been attacked or killed around the world. International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is held on 17 May each year. The TUC is calling...
17 May 2014
This is a new guide for trade union reps about mental health issues and how lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people can be affected in the workplace. It reveals that mental health issues can be even more challenging for LGBT people than the rest of the population. This has...
12 May 2014
date: 18 February 2014 embargo : 00.01hrs Wednesday 19 February 2014 Unions display their work on promoting LGBT equality at TUC HQ in London The rainbow flag will be flying at the headquarters of the TUC in London this afternoon (Wednesday) when unions will display the work they have been...
19 February 2014