GMB Vigil In London On 20th November To Call On World Health Organization To Bring Forward The Declassification Of Transgender As Mental Illness
There are at least 18 million transgender people in the world and approximately 65,000 in the UK who are transgender who face increasing discrimination and harassment says GMB Shout!
GMB members will take part in a Transgender Memorial Day Vigil to call on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to bring forward the declassification of transgender as a mental illness from 2015 and to raise awareness of the increasing discrimination of the transgender community. See ‘Notes to Editors’ for copy of a motion on Transgender to the GMB National Equality Conference in 2013and a copy of the speech by the motion’s mover.
The Transgender Memorial Day Vigil is hosted by GMB Shout! and supported by Quakers in Britain.
The Vigil is to coincide with the GMB National Conference of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual members to be held at 4 – 6 p.m. 20th November, GMB Euston Office, 22 Stephenson Way, LONDON, NW1 2HD.
The details of the vigil are as follows:
GMB Transgender Memorial Day Vigil
6.15pm to 7pm
Wednesday 20th November 2013
Friends’ House Garden
173-177 Euston Road
Sarah Hurley, GMB Shout! London Organiser said “This Transgender Memorial Day vigil is to support campaigns that are pushing for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to bring forward the reclassification of transgender as not a mental illness from 2015.
It is to raise awareness of the increasing discrimination of the transgender community.
In the world there is at least 18 million transgender people and in the UK there are approximately 65,000 people who are transgender and these figures are growing. Since 1st January 2008 to 31st December 2011 there have been approximately 816 reported killings of transgender people across 55 different countries.
Back in 1996-1999 the legal responsibility of employers to protect transgender employees against sex discrimination was clearly established for the workplace and in 2000 more people commenced transition.
This is why it is essential that GMB workplace organisers & GMB Equality Officers know that it is unlawful to discriminate against workers because of gender reassignment & that employers should ensure that they have policies in place which are designed to prevent discrimination and made aware of the national & international death toll.”
Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu GMB National Equality & Inclusion Officer on 07956 237178 or GMB Press Office: 07974 251823 or 07921 289880.
Notes to editors
1 2013 GMB National Equality Conference motion on Transgender Rights and the GMB:
That this GMB National Equality Conference call upon the GMB National Equality Forum to work with Trans groups to promote transgender rights by:
a) Increasing the knowledge and awareness with all stewards and Equality Officers so that they are aware of trans rights in the workplace and can challenge employers to implement policy and best practice.
b) To fully support all trans members in the workplace and look to ensure those who wish to take part in their regions equality networks, do so in the gender they identify as.
c) To support campaigns that seek to change the views of countries that still consider transgender a mental illness.
d) To support campaigns that are pushing for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to bring forward the date of the reclassification of transgender as not a mental illness from 2015.
e) To highlight amongst GMB members the growing death toll from hate crimes against the transgender community, nationally and internationally.
f) To build links with national and international trans organisations to ensure that the GMB is at the forefront of supporting their work and ending discrimination based on transgender.
2 Speech by Sarah Hurley GMB London Region moving above motion at the 2013 GMB National Equality Conference:
I am here today to make you aware of the increasing discrimination to the transgender community.
In the world there is at least eighteen million, six hundred & and sixty six thousand transgender people & in the UK there are approximately 65,000 people who are transgender & these figures are growing.
From the 1st of January 2008 to 31st December 2011 there have been approximately 816 reported killings of trans people across 55 different countries according to TvT research project... I will now share a few that shocked me.
In December of 1993 Brandon Teena was beaten, raped then only days later was stabbed & murdered by gun shoot by two men who found out he was biologically female...he was just 21.
Gwen Araujo was only 17 years old when she was murdered by four men who over 5 hours kicked & beat her in the head with a shovel, dragged her to the garage strangled her with a rope & then buried her in a shallow grave when they discovered she was biologically male at a party.
In the UK from 8th December 2011 anyone who murders transgender people in hate crime will face a life sentence with a starting point of 30 years.
As we all know it is not just physical attacks that cause death, earlier last year in the UK on May 14th a university student Natasha Lauren Brown 20 years old ODed on Paracetamol after being bullied & beaten.
If what I have already mentioned is not enough a transgender person who starts to transition generally will get cut off from their friends, family, neighbours & suffer financial hardship due to unemployment or become unemployed.
Employed life for the transgender community is not easy either with most transgender people taking a job below their abilities just to keep it but the further down the skill set you are the harder it gets.
Back in 1996-1999 the legal responsibility of employers to protect transgender employees against sex discrimination was clearly established for the work place & in the year 2000 more people commenced transition.
Sadly in a survey conducted in year 2000 only 1 in 4 transgender people were allowed to use the toilet of the sex they had transitioned into & 1 in 7 still reported being harassed on a daily bases. Some transgender people stated that the more visibly transgender you were the worse you were treated in the work place.
This is why it is essential that our work place organisers & GMB Equality Officers know that it is unlawful to discriminate against workers because of gender reassignment & that employers should ensure that they have policies in place which are designed to prevent discrimination & made aware of the national & international death toll.
Furthermore it is essential that our work place organisers & GMB Equality officers know the procedure that the employer has in place for supporting their staff go through a transition so confidentiality can be maintained & reasonable adjustments made & to negotiate improvements for the benefit of our transgender members.
We should not stop there either, as all GMB workplace organisers & GMB Equality Officers should be aware of our self organised groups which support transgender people who identify as female.
GMB Shout! & GMB Sisters the women’s self organised group welcomes them & this is vital as it allows our transgender members to rebuild their social lives & assist in their transition.
I am very proud of being a GMB member but shocked to find that we do not come up in any area at all on line when researching transgender so I call on everyone here to change this by researching & building links with national & international transpacific organisation & leading the way on a campaign to tackle hate crime & discrimination & change the views of all 196 counties that consider transgender to be a mental illness so they get the health care they need & push MP’s to tell the World Health Organisation to bring forward the possible reclassification date from 2015 then we can say.... we transitioned to a better GMB today. Ends