TRADE unionists showed their solidarity with the Orlando victims yesterday as LGBT members organised resistance to homophobia, racism and terrorism.
This year’s TUC LGBT Conference is under special security measures following the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Florida, US.
Delegates to the conference in central London opened the two-day event with a minute’s silence and an emergency motion on the shooting.
Speaking in support of the emergency motion, GMB member and UK Black Pride director Phyll Opoku said: “We sit in this room together as people who understand that there won’t always be safe spaces for us.”
Ms Opoku believed the motion’s intentions had to be political saying: “I ask that with this motion we don’t just send messages of solidarity but that we continue to talk about it, that we continue to normalise these lives.
“Let’s talk about these LGBT+ lives that matter and not just tick a box.”
She added that while many “pandered to the rhetoric” of Islamophobia, the approach was “dangerous and we need to eradicate that.
“When we talk about the crime, this massacre that happened to our people, our family, our brothers and sisters, we have to make sure we shape the frame of our narrative and nor demonise particular people.”
The motion was accompanied by a reading of all the Orlando victims’ names.
It also came as London’s gay community prepared to celebrate it’s 44th Pride parade this weekend.
TUC LGBT committee chair Maria Exall added in her opening speech that while there have been many victories for gay rights, “we also have to remember hate crimes get committed against the LGBT community around the world on a daily basis.”
Her cry “we need to go forward in hope and not backwards in fear” was followed by loud applause.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady also mourned the events of the last week, including the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, saying: “Thank you, delegates, for everything you do representing workers and standing up for LGBT rights day in, day out.”
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