LGBT rights group wants UK passports to include gender neutral ‘X’

British passports should allow people who do not identify as male or female to define themselves as gender neutral ‘X,’ an LGBT rights group says.

Stonewall has warned many people who define themselves as transgender in the UK are “afraid to travel abroad” because they fear intrusive questions or difficulties at passport control, the Independent reports.

“This can be especially worrying for those travelling with children, particularly if they had, or adopted, children when they were legally a different gender.”

Stonewall made the call as part of its five-year plan, ‘A Vision for Change,’ launched on Wednesday. Its aim is to create gender equality for the estimated 650,000 transgender people in the UK.

It says transgender people face unnecessary obstacles in everyday situations because of the way gender is recorded on official documents.

In addition, people who do not consider themselves either male or female face a lack of protection under the law due to the limited gender choice on many official documents.

“Non-binary people are not recognized or protected under law. Official documents ask people to describe their gender as male or female, often providing no other option, even when gender has limited or no relevance to the purpose of the document.

“The International Civil Aviation Organization allows passports to be issued with an ‘X’ gender marker but the UK does not issue these. Not having legal recognition means non-binary people must constantly live as someone they are not.”

The plan also includes proposals for lobbying for a reformed Gender Recognition Act and Equality Act, which would remove “gender reassignment” and “transexual” from legislation – terms it sees as outdated.

Stonewall also wants to produce workplace guides specifically on trans-inclusive policies, improve LGBT inclusion in healthcare and raise more awareness of “transphobic” hate crime so that people know how to report it.

Since 2011, Australian passport holders have been able to choose ‘X’ if their gender is indeterminate.

Stonewall’s passport call comes as banking giant HSBC said it would offer the transgender community a choice of 10 new gender-neutral titles, such as Mx, M and Misc, for their bank accounts.

Original Source – RT – https://www.rt.com/uk/383575-lgbt-passport-gender-neutral/

Charities call for better care for LGBT people with dementia

More research, partnerships and training for health and care professionals is needed to ensure LGBT people with dementia receive appropriate care, according to a new report by the government-backed strategic partner programme (SPP).

The report is the result of a three-year project developed to explore how care professionals can provide appropriate support for LGBT communities across the country and highlights the importance of the specific needs of LGBT people living with dementia.

Gill Boston, SPP manager, said: “The best social care takes people’s needs and meets these holistically. This must include a recognition of people’s sexuality or gender where it is appropriate to do so.

“With rising demand for dementia care, this report provides a call to action for all services to ensure that people are able to access the right person-centred support. Alongside this we need the workforce to be trained and developed by people from LGBT communities themselves.”

Drawing on three example case studies of best practice with LGBT people with dementia, the report suggests strategies for creating stronger dementia care for LGBT people.

According to the findings, there is a significant lack of LGBT-specific research in dementia and dedicated research involving LGBT people and their families is required, along with more robust training for healthcare professionals.

Inspiration for this can be taken from housing association Anchor, which runs a nationally acclaimed LGBT advisory group, open to all LGBT colleagues and residents, who advise Anchor on policies and assist them in writing staff guidance notes, including guidance on acceptable LGBT terms.

Partnership is also highly recommended after staff at a care home in Durham sought advice from community-led charity Gay Advice Darlington/Durham (GADD) on how best to support a transgender resident, leading to strategies and awareness training for staff.

Bob Green, chief executive for Stonewall Housing, part of the National LGB&T Partnership, said they were “delighted” to have been involved in the production of the final report.

He added: “Since going to print we have learned that GADD who are mentioned as a good practice example will be closing in April 2017.

“This reinforces the importance of service providers and commissioners to engage with LGB&T people and their support groups to provide specific services to ensure LGB&T people with dementia receive the best care and support.”

Original Source – Charlie Walker, carehome.co.uk – https://www.carehome.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1583277/Charities-call-for-better-care-LGBT-dementia

Tipping point reached as a majority of MSPs back inclusive education proposal

A MAJORITY of MSPs have backed proposals to provide an education that teaches pupils about the range of sexualities and gender identities in society, making it the first among European parliaments to support such a scheme.

Sixty six MSPs have backed the programme of the Time for Inclusive Education (Tie) campaign, the culmination of their two year fight to win broad public and political support for school level education to tackle the abuse and isolation of LGBT+ youth.

For months the campaigners have been calling on MSPs to back a five point pledge calling for legislation to require schools to implement inclusive education, deal more robustly with instances of homophobic abuse and bullying.

Speaking to CommonSpace a Tie spokesperson said: “It’s a big moment for the campaign and it’s a big moment for Scotland, being the first in country in Europe with a parliamentary mandate for this sort of thing.”

“It is important to recognise that this parliamentary mandate for our calls is a historical moment in the push for equal rights in Scotland. We now look forward to working with MSPs to ensure that the strategy outlined in our pledge is realised, as it is time to end the legacy of Section 28 – once and for all.”

The campaign’s demands are still under consideration in the Scottish parliament’s equality and human rights and education and skills committees. Campaigners hope the parliamentary majority will speed parliamentary process to new legislation.

A landslide of MSPs have backed the campaigns demands since it led an historic LGBT+ Pride procession through Glasgow in 2016. Pressure has increased across Scotland’s parties, including in the ruling SNP, whose leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, has repeatedly prasied the work of the Tie campaign.

Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said: “The Scottish Parliament has made herself clear – we support the Tie campaign. We support inclusive education in our schools; we support training and guidance for our teachers; and we support, unequivocally, our young LGBTI pupils who have had the courage to speak out and work with Tie.”

“It’s been an immense privilege to work with the campaign to get to this stage but we all know that there is still more work to be done. I’m glad that across all political divisions, those who have signed the pledge acknowledge that we all must work together to create that safe, secure and tolerant country for our LGBTI young people.”

The Tie campaign has proved a model of activist success. It emerged from the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum and has reshaped the debate about LGBT+ rights in Scotland’s new political era.

The pledge has also be signed up to by 11 MPs and two peers in the House of Lords.

Polling conducted by Tie found that 90 per cent of LGBT+ people have faced persecution at school, and 27 per cent have attempted suicide as a result of bullying.

The five point pledge signed up to by a majority of Scotland’s MSPs

Legislation: New legislation in the lifetime of this current parliamentary term, which outlines a requirement for all schools to be proactive in tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia through an inclusive educational approach. Legislation should act to benchmark the three major components of LGBTI inclusive education: inclusion, training and monitoring.

Teacher training: The delivery of a teacher training programme which is free at the point of access and focuses specifically on LGBTI issues, for teachers who are currently serving and student trainee teachers (via Initial Teacher Education).

Curricular inclusion: LGBTI inclusion in individual subject areas, achieved via approved curriculum mapping guidance as well as mandated LGBTI inclusive Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) education. Such materials should be accessible for all schools, with a clear requirement of uptake.

Recording of bullying: All local authorities should record specific incidents of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools – in accordance with existing guidance and expectations for the recording of bullying concerning other protected characteristics, such as race.

Monitoring: Monitor any steps that are taken with regards to LGBTI inclusivity in schools.  This should include the collection of data at local authority level, as well as the addition of a specific LGBTI indicator in the Education Scotland school inspections process, in line with HGIOS4.

Source: https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10409/historic-milestone-scottish-parliament-becomes-first-europe-back-lgbt-education

Written By: David Jamieson

Lloyds Banking Group has been named the most inclusive employer in Britain by Stonewall.

LGBT charity Stonewall released its Top 100 Employers list for 2017 today, showcasing the best workplaces for LGBT staff – celebrating some of the pioneering work on diversity issues to help create inclusive workplaces.

Lloyds Banking Group, which came second in 2016, topped the rankings.

The bank was commended for a pioneering policy extending private healthcare benefits for employees to include treatment and support for transgender people – becoming the first major UK company to provide access to private transition treatment.

In addition to running an ad campaign featuring a same-sex proposal, Lloyds also launched a new colleague volunteering programme and formed official partnerships with LGBT organisations and charities, serving as headline sponsor the 2016 PinkNews Awards.

The bank also works with trans youth charity Mermaids, elder LGBT organisation Opening Doors London and the Albert Kennedy Trust, for homeless LGBT youth, volunteering over 1,000 hours and raising £30,000 for them throughout the year.

They’ve also supported Bi Awareness Day and Transgender Day of Visibility, with new training tools, social media campaigns, and by flying the bisexual flag and transgender flags at 35 of their key sites.

Karin Cook, Lloyds Executive Sponsor for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, said: “We are delighted to be recognised as the leading employer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Stonewall Top 100 list.

“As part of our ongoing ambition to help Britain prosper, we are immensely proud to receive this accolade which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to diversity in our workforce by providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.”

António Horta Osório, Group Chief Executive, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “We are honoured to be recognised by Stonewall as the leading employer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“Lloyds Banking Group is committed to supporting diversity in its workforce so that we can harness all of the qualities and talents of our colleagues to achieve our aim of helping Britain prosper.”

Law firm Pinsent Masons came second (up from fifth in 2016), followed by bank J.P. Morgan (41 in 2016).

This year saw 439 organisations take part in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index, the highest number in its 12-year history. Each participant must demonstrate their expertise in 10 distinct areas of employment policy and practice, including networking groups, career development, training, and community engagement.

More than 92,000 staff from across these organisations also took part in an anonymous survey about their employers’ attitudes towards workplace culture, diversity, and inclusion, making it one of the largest national employment surveys in Britain.

The House of Commons made it into the Top 100 for the first time, ranked 28th.

Writing for PinkNews, Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “I am exceptionally proud that the House of Commons has made such significant progress in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index of top 100 employers, which I have been passionately championing as Speaker of the House of Commons.

“It shows our commitment to providing a workplace where all our staff feel valued and supported. Receiving a coveted place in the Stonewall top 100 sends a strong message about who we are as an organisation. Our aim as a diverse employer is to recruit, retain and promote the best people and to be representative of the society we serve.

“The Stonewall WEI ranking is an important acknowledgement of our commitment to both our staff and the public. The House’s position on this list represents its dedication to improving inclusivity for our people. This could not have been achieved without the ongoing efforts of our Diversity and Inclusion team, the Workplace Equality Network for LGBTIQ people, ParliOUT and its champions at all levels across the organisation.”

Stonewall exec Ruth Hunt said: “Lloyds Banking Group is a trailblazer for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, and an example of a business that consistently ensures that all staff feel empowered and supported, no matter who they are.

“We’ve learned over the last year that nothing is certain – and this extends to human rights. Corporate organisations have the power to influence this and protect LGBT people, and so it is reassuring to see so many private firms represented in our Top 10 and Top 100.

“I’d like to thank all of those organisations that took part in the Index, for each showing a real commitment to LGBT inclusion. These organisations understand the business benefits behind equality and inclusion and, with their continued support, we can together work toward a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception.”

Written by Nick Duffy, featured in Pink News – https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/01/19/lloyd-banking-group-named-uks-most-lgbt-friendly-employer/

Asda and The Co-op are the only retailers to have been listed in Stonewall’s list of top 100 LGBT-inclusive employers.

The Top 100 Employers list – created by Stonewall, the UK’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) charity and lobby group – is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a benchmarking tool used by employers to assess their achievements and progress on LGBT equality in the workplace.

The two retailers made significant climbs on the Top 100 list, with Asda jumping from 83 in 2016 to 25 this year, and The Co-op climbing from 72 in 2016 to 31 this year.

Stonewall’s retail sector lead, Matt Moore, said it was “fantastic” to see Asda and Co-op on the Top 100 list again, improving and retaining firm positons for a consecutive year.

However, he highlighted the issue of how no other retailers were on the list at all.

“The sector in general continues to be underrepresented in the index, and we hope to see this change in the future,” he said.

“Until then, we hope to see both Asda and The Co-Operative continue to lead by example, demonstrating a true commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and helping their lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff to bring their whole selves to work.”

Asda’s senior vice president of people Hayley Tatum said diversity and inclusion was “right at the heart” of the grocery giant’s business.

“We want every colleague to let their personality shine through so they can come to work and be themselves,” Tatum said.

“We are proud to be included in Stonewall’s LGBT friendly employer list and to increase our ranking so significantly is an incredible achievement.

“However there is still more work to be done. Our LGBT steering group continues to play a vital role in driving forward our diversity and inclusion agenda, we are sharpening our approach to working with LGBT Pride events and we will continue to engage and support our colleagues in the local communities we serve.”

The Co-op’s director of executive talent and diversity Adrian Shooter attributed his company’s improvement on the Top 100 list to the internal Respect Network, the Diversity & Inclusion team,

‘As a co-operative we pride ourselves on the support we give to all our colleagues… and the collaborative efforts of our businesses working together to support the LGBT community,” he said.

Written by Elias Jahshan, featured in Retail Gazette – https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2017/01/asda-co-op-the-only-retailers-listed-on-top-lgbt-inclusive-list

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