At the branch AGM on 20 June 2019, the following motion was passed, building on UCU policy on trans inclusion at Scotland and UK level and committing the branch to specific practical actions.
UCU Edinburgh notes:
- Discriminatory comments and behaviour against trans people are rife in the UK due to misconceptions around gender identity and the impact of improved trans rights.
- According to Stonewall Scotland, 1 in 8 trans employees have been physically attacked at work, and 51 percent of trans people have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination; and according to Trans.edu, 86 percent of trans students and staff in Scottish HE face barriers including discrimination, harassment and violence (see e.g. www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/trans_stats.pdf and www.trans.ac.uk).
- UCU Congress 2018 motion 31 committed UCU to support trans rights and trans equality in the workplace and oppose any moves to delay or abandon the consultation over changes to the GRA.
- UCU Edinburgh motion passed at Scotland Congress 2019 stated: ‘It is the right of all workers, no matter their gender identity, to be safe and respected at work’.
- Based on national (UK) estimates, there will be between 155 and 362 staff at the University of Edinburgh who are transgender.
- UCU unequivocally supports academic freedom of speech, and we have fought for the rights of our members who are targeted by their employer or the government for their research or trade union activities.
- UCU’s existing policy and commitment to academic freedom (https://www.ucu.org.uk/academicfreedom).
UCU Edinburgh believes:
- All of our members have the right to exist and be recognised as the gender they themselves identify as.
- All our members have the right to hold personal opinions.
- Our members do not have a right to be free from criticism for these opinions, nor to be guaranteed a platform by the union to express them.
- We should not support members in weaponising their speech to question the existence of trans and non-binary colleagues.
UCU Edinburgh resolves to:
- Work with the student union LGBT+ liberation officers and the Staff Pride Network on creating a trans inclusive university.
- Create a LGBT+ sub-committee within the branch.
- Employ good practice, such as that created by STUC and UCU, to provide guidance for members on gender identity and trans inclusion in the workplace.
- Host a workshop on gender identity and trans rights (e.g. by Scottish Trans Alliance or Trans.Edu) for interested UCU members, to counteract lack of information around trans and non-binary equality.
- Call on the University of Edinburgh (UoE) to ensure that all events held in the name of UoE and on UoE premises are in line with the Dignity and Respect Policy and that the UoE neither host nor facilitate meetings which contain content which is transphobic, biphobic, homophobic or otherwise detrimental to the safety and wellbeing of LGBT+ staff.