Trades Union Congress LGBT Conference 2014

Caroline Murphy, Unite the Union; speaking in support of Motion 11 on Joint Working
 
We've heard this afternoon about attacks on welfare & multiple discrimination faced by disabled LGBT people in the workplace & elsewhere.  This motion from GMB also talks of the isolation faced by these valuable members of our community, who often fall in the gap between LGBT & disability groups.
 
As trade unionists, solidarity is the cornerstone of the work we do.  Standing together is the very source of our power.  We are facing government cuts which disproportionately impact the most vulnerable in an attempt to isolate & silence us one by one.

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During a crisis, it's tempting to shrink into our separate groups.  However, as trade unionists, this is exactly when we reach out & remember an injury to one is an injury to all.
 
As communities, we have more in common than people might think:  I live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental health condition that developed after I was raped.  No-one can look at me & see my disability.  As such, each time I disclose it, I'm coming out of a closet; a closet which can be just as dark and lonely as the LGBT closet.  Who I am coming out to is a community of people with disabilities, which is as colourful, vibrant & positive as the one we represent here today.
 
I'm proud to be a member of Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC):  A group which invites people with all disabilities (visible & invisible) & our allies, to join in fighting for justice & human rights.
 
So, let us LGBT trade unionists take up this invitation & support our fellow equality group.
 
Take a look right now at the person sitting to your right & the person sitting to your left.  Have a good look at the Union group you're here with today:  What do you notice?  I notice just how fabulous we are!  Any campaign would be delighted to have us on board.
 
People with disabilities have a real battle on our hands & our strongest weapons are our strength of spirit & enthusiasm.
 
Any of you who have been part of a DPAC protest will recognise the warmth & fun which reaches out touching passers by, causing them to stop & find out more.  Who better to add to this spirit of joy, than our LGBT community?
 
So, let's dust off our rainbow flags & support DPAC, because disabled people should not be scapegoats for the financial mistakes of government.
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