Last year we brought a motion to branch asking the union to update their membership forms. We were working in an LGBT charity, and were struggling to get many members to join because the membership forms, both paper and online, didn’t reflect people’s identities.
Specifically, there was no option for anyone who is anything other than a man or a woman, and many of our colleagues are non-binary. In addition, you would have to choose between your sexuality and your gender identity. So I could say that I was a lesbian, or I could say I was transgender, but not both.
This might appear minor to some, but many people have fought hard to be treated fairly, and it was having a big effect on our membership. Understandably, people weren’t ready to join a union that said they took their lives seriously, but which wasn’t following through on the details.
When we took this issue to branch, people were supportive, and they took up the cause and fought for it on a local and regional level – and now it’s policy. It’s absolutely not the end of the road, but it is a victory, and it matters.