National LGBT Conference 2017 Resolutions

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Circular No: NP/154/17
Our Ref: EO/32

TO ALL BRANCHES, REGIONAL OFFICES & REGIONAL COUNCILS

2nd October 2017


Dear Colleague,

THE NATIONAL LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER MEMBERS’ CONFERENCE 2017

I write with regards to the above matter and to inform you that the resolutions which were successfully passed at this year’s National LGBT Members’ Conference have now been considered by the union’s National Executive Committee. The resolutions together with the NEC decisions are as follows:-

i)    LGBT Persons Assisted Living
“It is noted that society has limited if any support for elderly lgbt persons. In some parts of the country lgbt couples can remain together and enter a care home together and live as a couple together. But regrettably in many places there is no provision for such and some couples are forced to split up and or live separate or near separate lives. This is distressing for anyone that has been together, whether married or not for several years. This causes a negative impact and can add to worry, stress and health issues. As many places offer heterosexual couples the opportunity to remain together this should also be the same for all, regardless of sexuality etc.
We request the RMT launch a campaign to right this wrong and do everything within its power, including support from anywhere possible, such as its supported M.P.'s etc., to assist and rectify this. Could you just imagine how you would feel if you had been happily married in a same sex marriage for numerous years.  Then because you become elderly and in need of assisted care living and have to leave your home and go to live in a care home you are advised there is only a single room for you only.”  
National Executive Committee Decision:-
“We note the sentiments of the resolution from the National LGBT Members Conference and instruct the General Secretary to raise this with our parliamentary group.”
ii)  LGBT+
“This Conference notes that at last year’s AGM the resolution from the 2016 LGBT Members’ Conference on renaming all LGBT activities “LGBT+ activities” was passed.  Whilst this is a step forward, this conference calls for the National Executive Committee to give consideration to renaming the National LGBT Conference and LGBT Advisory Committee to “LGBT+” so that they may be fully inclusive for the spectrum of gender identification and sexualities other than purely heterosexual.”
National Executive Committee Decision:-
“That we instruct the General Secretary to change the name of our LGBT Advisory Committee and Conference to “LGBT+” and to place the necessary rule change before the 2018 AGM.”
iii) Chechnya Gay Men Concentration Camps

"We note with anger and alarm reports of the rounding up, detention, torture and killing of gay men in Chechnya, including the use of "Concentration Camp" style prisons.

Chechnya is a region of Russia with some autonomy, and both the Chechnya and Russian regimes have been virulently homophobic for a long time. There is a poisonous mix of national conflicts, religious based homophobia, social conservatism and a history of tyranny and dictatorship.

We call on the union to organise, support and mobilise for protests against what is happening in Chechnya, and to raise this issue as a matter of urgency with the International and European Transport Federations."
Note:
This resolution was submitted to the AGM.
National Executive Committee Decision:-
“That we take this up in line with AGM policy and raise this matter with the ITF and ETF.”
iv)  Suicide Prevention and Basic Counselling Training

“It is noted that in society mental health issues are being more openly discussed and more is being done to assist with such. However it is also noted that many lgbt persons will at some point suffer from mental health issues and some will also have life changing effects. Some of which will lead to serious life changes or suicide. There is times when Reps etc., are being asked to assist in supporting such a member by listening to their concerns and or signposting them to a specialist support agency. Reps are undertaking this without any suitable training for such. This is not a matter to ignore or pretend is not happening, as mental health continues to become more high profile then so will this.
 
We request that the RMT show how willing and supportive it is by organising suitable voluntary training on suicide prevention and basic counselling skills training. With clear guidance being provided and included on the remit of cat abilities. In other words what is possible and when more specialist support or referral is needed. It is noted that organisations such as the Samaritans run some good and suitable training courses and these should be explored. We note that the RMT already run a disability in the workplace and mental health course but these do not cover suicide prevention or basic counselling. Some members who have undertaken these courses whilst acknowledging the benefits and how useful the course contents were felt that basic counselling and suicide prevention should also be covered.  In the rail industry where this is increasing Network Rail have undertaken such training for some of its staff and this has a proven benefit to all, including saving lives and by being a listener able to advise and support someone to seek support.”  

National Executive Committee Decision:

“We note the sentiments of the resolution from the National LGBT Members Conference and link this with the file “Improving RMT Policy and Activity on Mental Health.”

v)  LGBT Asylum Seekers
“This branch notes that in January 2017, Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, commented on the posthumous pardoning of over 50,000 gay men for 'sexual offences' that would not be crimes today, and said: "This is a truly momentous day. We [the British Government] can never undo the hurt caused, but we have apologised and taken action to right these wrongs."

This branch believes that if the British government genuinely wants to "right the wrongs" of injustice it has committed against LGBT people, the current Home Secretary Amber Rudd must immediately end the indefinite detention of lesbian, gay, bi and trans asylum seekers, and stop deporting LGBT asylum seekers to countries where they face persecution, serious harm, and even death.
This branch notes that the current detention system subjects many LGBT asylum seekers to the same discriminatory abuse that forced them to flee their home countries and increasing numbers of LGBT people are being held in detention centres where they face harassment and maltreatment from fellow detainees and even detention staff. This branch believes it is a total betrayal by this government that LGBT people seeking asylum are then imprisoned for seeking protection. Seeking asylum is not a crime and this branch believes that the indefinite detention of LGBT asylum seekers while claims are being processed must cease immediately.
This branch also notes that new Home Office rules on dealing with LGBT asylum claims put this government at odds with the United Nations and international human right activists. This government continues to deport LGBT asylum seekers back to countries where they face persecution and even death. In July 2010, Theresa May, the then Home Secretary, said the government would implement a supreme court ruling on asylum rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people not to be deported from the UK if they would be persecuted in their home countries. That court ruling followed appeals from two men, from Cameroon and Iran, whose claims for asylum had earlier been turned down because officials said they could hide their sexuality by behaving discreetly.  Seven years on, the UK government continues to deport LGBT asylum seekers back to countries where they face extreme danger and death. In February 2017, in violation of international law, the U.K. government told gay Afghans they can be deported to their home country where homosexuality is illegal and taboo and they should just 'pretend' to be straight.
This branch calls on the British government to uphold international law and respect and protect LGBT people seeking asylum and protection in the U.K. and end the use of indefinite immigration detention and halt the deportation of LGBT asylum seekers back to countries where it is known they will face persecution and even death.”
Note:

This was submitted to the AGM.

National Executive Committee Decision:-

“That we take this up in line with AGM policy.”

I will now be acting on the instructions of these decisions and I will, of course, keep you fully advised on any further developments. I would be grateful if you could bring the contents of this circular to the attention of your members.

Yours sincerely,
 
Mick Cash
General Secretary