Kris Hendry, from the Public & Commercial Services Union, looks ahead to the upcoming European Championships and LGBT+ equality on behalf of the STUC LGBT+ Workers’ Committee.
This year will see Glasgow host its third major sports event since 2014 and, as was the case with the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the Homeless World Cup in 2016, LGBT+ equality will be very prominent at the heart of the Championships thanks to LEAP Sports Scotland.
In 2014 LEAP put together and ran the original Pride House Glasgow, the first to be held as part of a Commonwealth Games, and followed this up in 2016 Pride House Glasgow returned for the Homeless World Cup with over 5,000 people visiting between both events.
This year Pride House Glasgow returns once again for the inaugural European Championships and promises to, yet again, make sure LGBT+ issues are a key focus of the Championships with a wide range of events planned between the 1st and 12th August.
A Proud Nation?
Scotland, in more recent times, has a proud history when it comes to LGBT+ equality, particularly in the context of wider UK LGBT+ issues.
Our country was the first to repeal Section 28 (or 2A) which banned the “promotion” of LGBT+ issues in schools and was also the first to begin the introduction of same sex marriage rights.
More recently the Scottish Government introduced automatic pardons for all men who had previously been convicted of homosexual acts when these were still criminalised, an issue our Committee was directly involved in taking forward. Additionally, as the Westminster Government is currently consulting on reform to the Gender Recognition Act, the Scottish Government is currently considering feedback, including our own, on their consultation which closed in the spring.
However for all the legal equality our community has achieved, LGBT+ phobic hate remains an everyday reality for many of us. Whether it be in the workplace, at home or just out in the street, many within our community continue to suffer verbal and, occasionally physical, abuse just for being who they are. It is an issue that our Committee is committed to continuing to tackle, alongside the STUC General Council and our colleagues in the STUC’s other Equality Committees.
A Rainbow Europe
With this year’s Pride House Glasgow taking place during the European Championships, one of the major focusses will be on LGBT+ equality across Europe.
Each year the international LGBT+ organisation ILGA-Europe produces their “Rainbow Europe” report which highlights the varying states of LGBT+ equality across the continent. The fact is that even within Europe, so many of our LGBT+ family continues to be persecuted by their own Government’s just for being who they are.
International solidarity has been a key staple of the Trade Union movement and our Committee will continue to stand alongside activists across Europe, and around the world, in challenging LGBT+ phobic attitudes in the fight for true equality for all LGBT+ people, wherever they are.
The STUC LGBT+ Workers’ Committee encourages everyone to visit Pride House during the European Championships and get involved. Pride House Glasgow is open to all, regardless of whether you identify as LGBT+ or as an ally to the community, with events for people of all ages.
We also encourage people to get active within their own Union’s equality structures and help feed into the work of the Committee through our annual LGBT+ Workers’ Conference and throughout the year.