Crowds gather in Soho to show solidarity
Solidarity with those killed in the Orlando massacre
James Baldwin wrote: “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”.
We, as trade unionists, have always faced down bigotry, campaigning against inequality and injustice. Our resolve, in light of the horrific massacre of the 49 LGBT people in Orlando, is stronger than ever.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with our sister trade unions in USA and with the leadership of the AFL-CIO, in condemning this horrific act. These were our friends and at least one a trade unionist. The people who were at Pulse had come together, in what they thought was a safe pace: to dance, to love and to simply exist as a community.
We know that for LGBT people simply holding hands with a partner, or exchanging a kiss, in public can put them at risk of abuse. We know that hate crime has soared in the UK with a 22% increase in LGB hate crime from 2013/14 to 2015 and a 9% increase for transgender hate crime during that same time. We acknowledge this and we will continue campaigning.
The killings had an added equalities dimension: those killed were overwhelmingly young and Latino. We know that communities at the intersection of race and sexuality or faith and sexuality are disproportionately impacted by inequality and injustice. Indeed the Orlando killings bring this into sharp focus.
This horrific act comes in the run up to pride events taking place all over the UK. Pride is about campaigning for LGBT rights and celebrating the LGBT community. It is about being out, being proud and being together. Pride as a movement, for trade unionists and our allies, is as important as ever.
These horrific acts should not divide us as a movement. We know our Muslim LGBT brothers and sisters have some of the most difficult struggles. They are part of our movement. The TUC urges trade unionists and allies to come together at this time, to provide comfort, to provide solidarity knowing that we are stronger together, stronger united.