Saturday, 17 May 2008

The trouble with working with gay people is that they are gay…

I went to the Unite Regional LBGT Forum on Friday with “J” my gay friend & fellow Human Rights Activist. Met “J” at the pub and squeezed into his office (that’s his car) paperwork everywhere but then “J” consumes copious amounts of Hansard & other documents. He’s very well read you know…

Anyway I’m not going to attempt minutes of the meeting that’s someone else’s role but I will give you my take on it.

“J” and I had lunch at Weatherspoons. Why is it so hard to get a healthy option on a menu? I asked the bar lady how hot the three bean chilli was and she said mild & it was. It was nice except they had lobbed in some full fat soft cheese on top and there were chilli crisps with the rice. I suppose they were there to placate the fatties who don’t think anything tastes right under 20% fat content? I only ate the healthy bits. Then we walked to Regional HQ “J” said I was a hit with a guy walking towards us until he thought “J” & I were together LOL

Right to the meeting:

Region 1 had submitted a very similar motion to mine calling on HM Government to declare that the USA DSM IV classification of transsexual people being mentally ill must not apply to United Kingdom citizens. Both my motion and theirs were rejected for one on homophobic crime & domestic violence.

I worry about this issue being used by the psychiatrists, you know gay people are so full of self-loathing they beat each other up.

Interestingly it was also agreed to amend a motion on transgender and transsexuals to take into account R1 and my motion.

There were no specifics so I probably won’t get to hear them before the TUC LBGT Conference on 3rd & 4th July

I made the point that there is no transgender or transsexual person on the National LBGT forum and that given we were a minority within a minority there should be a reserved place with elections if there were more than 1 nomination.

I’m not sure about transgender or transsexual representation on the TUC LBGT but I’ll find out as I discovered that the TUC was invited to a stakeholder LGB meeting In Manchester on 10 April. It stated Trans issues are being covered separately but gave no details.

I’ll send a suitable email next week.

I had to laugh at a slight moan by the L or B author of the TUC LGBT newsletter who wrote “in the area of the new European directive on legal protection against discrimination in non employment areas trans people are meant to benefit from existing gender laws”. The piece was headed “Stop the Euro Retreat” essentially flagging up that new proposed directives are becoming “recommendations” to appease the fascists and religious bigots that we’ve recently included in the extended European Community.

Equality for all? Well only in those states that believe in equality. It is reported that Germany took the lead in saying that disability should be the only discriminatory offence covered by statute. We worry about Neo-Nazi – we haven’t rid ourselves of the old Nazi yet!

I’m finding hard to resist Hitler Youth and organised religion jokes here!

Under Developments in UK Law the TUC reported that the prohibition of discrimination on goods and services on grounds of gender reassignment had been enacted since 6 April 2008. That passed by without a fanfare at Press For Change! (Or anywhere else for that matter)

There are the usual exemptions for religious reasons when there should be none especially for religions that consider women deficient and the property of men.

Most worryingly it says there is a trans activist involved centrally with HM Government in the production of Guidance for the Discrimination Law Review now I guess that’ll be an unaccountable member of Press For Change making sure their vested interests are maintained. More on this to follow…

Looking on the web for the Sex Discrimination (amendment of Legislation) Regulations 2008 I couldn’t find a good write up of the implications of the legislation just a .pdf of the act.

Still it does explicitly state that sexual harassment, harassment on the grounds of sex and gender reassignment and harassment in the provision of goods, facilities, services or premises is unlawful.

It seems to reverse the burden of proof so that it is the same as the test currently being used in relation to employment and vocational training.

Effectively, the burden of proof will shift to the supplier if the claimant has established a basic case.

I’m not an expert on the law so I’ve sent the .pdf of the Act to Dr “LR” and then she’ll translate it for me so that I can get something on the Union intranet and here.

Other stuff we discussed at the LBGT forum were International Day Against Homophobia IDAHO and Pride events and finally a yawn inducing look at the merger rules relating to Equalities, Youth and Retired Members. Amicus & T&GW were very different so the new Unite has a lot of merging still to do. T&GWU essentially being from members upwards Amicus being centralist downwards though that’s a gross simplification of the actuality if not the philosophy.

So after the meeting we adjourned to Weatherspoons for more general chat and then “J” and I headed off to Lion at Walsall a major gay & lesbian pub/club.

On the way “J” and I discussed the guilt aspect of homosexuality that permeates throughout the scene. It’s a sad reflection on the intolerance of society that the shame & embarrassment that others claim is directed back at the gay or lesbian family member even where the embarrassed party is bisexual themselves.

Religion has a lot to answer for as well in making gay & lesbian people ashamed by a ludicrous combination of fear and loathing.

I must admit I’ve observed it but never fully understood it probably because my sexuality is not remotely an issue to me. OK I had a recent phase when I became a bit too binary and even celibate but that wasn’t through guilt just reconciliation that sexuality has nothing to do with being a transsexual person.

I like the label pansexual best if I have to have a label and I don’t!

“J” delighted in pointing out gay people on the drive through the West Midlands. “How do you know?” I said. “It’s the twinkle in the eyes” was his reply and yes the eyes of the dishy male barman at the Lion did sparkle but not so the cute blonde lesbian who flashed me a lovely smile.

“What do my eyes tell you then?” I asked “J” “Do I look Gay?” “No” he replied “your eyes say you’re not gay but that you are sexy & up for some fun!” LOL. So there you have it - I’m just a sexy old tart LOL

Still it left me thinking that the problem we have is that the T in LBGT does send the wrong message about transsexual people and this journey of mine within the politics of LBGT will probably end with an almighty row & split. But then I have been warned I won’t like certain aspects of TUC LBGT conference though I could have said that. For Gay & Lesbian people it’s about sex & sexuality often with a lot of promiscuity.

For transsexual people it’s about core identity so nothing in common there…

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