Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Unite the Union is institutionally transphobic…

When I transitioned at the biscuit factory Unite then known as the Transport & General Workers Union had already issued a Transgender Policy Guide detailing Union policy for the support of transsexuals in the work place.

My local branch and in particular the union convenor decided this was a policy they could ignore and instead supported a small group of female bigots to drive me out of the business on the basis of not wanting me using female toilet facilities whilst pre-operative.

Management separately adopted a policy of direct harassment of me as an individual that has led to my suspension and that situation continues.

As the Union has provided free legal assistance I let the matter of the breach of Union rules to the paid officials to sort out and instead concentrated on doing my bit to ensure no one else in the union would experience my abuse and persecution.

I prepared a summary and detailed report highlighting the legal employment rights of transgender and transsexual people in the workplace. Both have disappeared into the Union beaurocracy so that should another branch take the same prejudicial approach to a transsexual in transition they can without fear of any sanction.

The core reason for this is the bigots one of you chose to do this so you must expect the consequences and anyway you are mentally ill so you must expect normal men and women not to understand.

Still undeterred I joined the regional LBGT forum and went to the Unite LBGT Conference.

At the conference I got Trevor Phillips the head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to declare that transgender people are not mentally ill.

At the time I was talked out of writing in my blog that the Conference leadership was transphobic but I will declare that now.

Still determined I lobbied my Union to put forward a motion to the TUC LBGT conference declaring that transsexual and transgender people were not mentally ill. I got the support of Region 1 LBGT forum so the executive officers got that twice.

The executive decided this wasn’t the motion T&GW Unite should put forward preferring a meaningless one of physical abuse of each other by gays and lesbians.

Instead an amendment to one put forward by Angela Clayton of Press for Change and Prospect on Trans Equality was submitted.

Angela Clayton who supports the continuation of psychiatric control of transition wrote to my Union twice rejecting the amendment.

At the conference she argued and just won the floor vote by saying that it confused her motion.

My LBGT leadership claimed it only found out her objection on the day of the conference and that they would vote against the main motion if the amendment were not accepted.

They didn’t the statement was as hollow as their support for Trans people in the workplace.

What was worst was that in advance of the conference I had prepared two documents, one in support of our amendment and a second one countering the apologists as I expected Angela Clayton to speak against.

I was deliberately obstructed by a paid union official from speaking to the Unite LBGT leader before the conference.

At the conference the delegate nominated to present the amendment had not read my documents nor prepared a speech.

I had to cobble together a few words for her that she delivered with the conviction of someone embarrassed by having to speak words they didn’t believe.

The delegate that proposed the amendment then waived the right to respond after Angela Clayton had wheeled out someone to actually say transgender people accepted the mental illness classification, as they feared losing treatment!

This is the ultimate stupid argument from Press for Change that have a vested financial interest in the continuing abuse of transsexual & transgender people by the charlatan psychiatrists.

Waving the right to respond added incompetence to transphobia.

It was an embarrassment and a disaster for all transsexual and transgender people in my Union.

Given the appointment of Zuker and Blanchard to review DSM V there was good reason for an emergency motion but there was fat chance of that from my Union because they only pay lip service to the T in LBGT and chose not to understand the Trans issues.

So I walked out of the TUC conference. My LBGT national leader stating Unite would put forward a motion on the mental illness issue next year.

It was meaningless gesture as I have no confidence in Unite T&GWU LBGT group, in particular its leadership, to reverse the institutional transphobia that exists in my Union.

I’ve been betrayed twice by my Union and I won’t let it happen a third time so I’ve quit the LBGT forum and I’ll not return.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Hi Fiona, this is not how unions should work, I hope things get better for you.