ASLEF has an active LGBT+ Representative Committee. The committee comprises of eight members elected to represent the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming members within their district; they meet three times a year as a committee and report into their respective district councils.
Homophobic and transphobic bullying and harassment is an important issue for the committee and they provide support to members who may be experiencing such problems. We recognised that many of our LGBT+ members may not be out at work and may seek confidential advice and guidance. It is hoped that the existence of the committee will give some members the confidence to come out in their workplace.
The committee ensures that the voices of LGBT+ members are heard within the union’s structures and provides a forum for members to raise issues which they may feel inhibited to do in branches or with local reps. Committee members regularly meet with the General Secretary, Assistant General Secretary and Executive Committee to discuss any concerns.
The LGBT+ Representative Committee has a reserved seat at the Annual Assembly of Delegates, the unions’ annual conference. They can submit motions and rule changes giving them direct input into forming ASLEF policy.
Examples of work of the LGBT+ representative committee in recent years include the ‘Who’s gay?’ campaign which and contributing to the Mind the Gag on workplace banter. They have produced best practice guidelines on supporting trans workers. Industrially they have called for improvements to the union’s membership equality monitoring, travel facilities for same sex partners and a standardised industry practices for the reporting of PrEP medication.
Each year ASLEF sends delegations to the TUC and STUC LGBT+ conferences. In the wider trade union movement they have campaigned reform of the Gender Recognition Act, improved rights for LGBT+ communities internationally, same sex survivor pension rights and the homelessness in young LGBT+ people.
ASLEF proudly attends Pride, the unions’ banners can be seen flying at events around the country and the whole membership are encouraged to attend to support their LGBT+ colleagues.
If you are an ASLEF member you can find out who your LGBT+ Representative Committee member is here.