Bi Visibility Day is on 23 September and UNISON is marking the day by launching a new factsheet setting out why bisexuality is a trade union issue.
Bisexual people face particular issues at work. They can feel very isolated, experiencing stigma from both straight colleagues and lesbian and gay colleagues.
Although such discrimination is unlawful and many workplace equality policies refer to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, few do more than pay lip service to the existence and rights of bisexual workers.
UNISON can make a real difference by standing up for the rights of bisexual workers.
Biphobia is prejudice and discrimination against bisexual people. Research published in May 2013 showed that bisexual people experience even higher levels of discrimination at work than gay men. Bisexual people are much more likely to feel they have to hide their sexual orientation at work than lesbians and gay men – very few heterosexual people hide their sexual orientation.
Bisexual women were the least likely to report discrimination, believing it would not be taken seriously as it ‘happens all the time’.
Trade unions exist to defend their members from discrimination and to work for better employment conditions. So tackling biphobia in the workplace is clearly a trade union issue. There is more information in our new bisexuality factsheet that can be downloaded as a PDF.
UNISON works hard to make sure that bisexual issues are fully addressed in our LGBT work. There are annual meetings for bisexual members and reserved seats for bisexual members on the national LGBT committee.
Bisexual members also meet at our national LGBT conference. If you are facing biphobic discrimination at work, contact your local rep for support and advice.
Each of UNISON’s 12 regions has an LGBT group that meets regularly. Some branches have their own LGBT officer and LGBT group: your regional LGBT group can give you details. All branches should have an equality co-ordinator and many have workplace equality reps.
To find out more, visit our LGBT pages on this website.
You can also rng UNISONdirect 0845 355 0845, write to national officer Carola Towle at LGBT Equality, UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY or email firstname.lastname@example.org.