Background information


The workshops and panels in the 2002 Workers Out! conference were (as mentioned in the program):

Judie Alison and Robin Duff (New Zealand Post Primary Teachers Union NZPPTA): New Zealand Post Primary Education Strategies: Advances Since the Education International Resolution in Amsterdam, 1998
In this workshop, Alison and Duff will report on the work they have done around LGBT issues since Judie attended the Amsterdam conference four years ago. PPTA conducted research among LGBT teachers about the issues they faced, and developed an action plan for the union. This plan included promoting guidelines on LGBT issues for the boards which run New Zealand schools, and materials for PPTA branches to raise consciousness and provoke action. Judie and Robin will talk about this process, show the materials produced, talk about the results and what is left to be done.

Marta Ames (Executive director Pride at Work, AFL-CIO, United States of America) and Sue Genge (national representative Solidarity and Pride, Canadian Labour Congress): The Labour/Labor Movement and Transgender Organising in Canada and the US
Transgender workers are workers, trade unionists, and part of our movement. Presenters will discuss the challenges and successes incorporating transgender issues within the mainstream labour/labor movement in their respective organizations and countries. Attendees should come prepared to present their experience in this groundbreaking work. The Canadian Labour Congress Solidarity and Pride Transgender Discussion Paper will be distributed at the workshop.

Tom Barbera (Vice president of organising Pride at Work, AFL-CIO, United States of America), Kim Beemer (LGBT vice president Solidarity and Pride, Canadian Labour Congress) and Nancy Wohlforth (chair): The Labour/Labor movement and transgender organising in Canada and the United States
The presenter will briefly summarise alternative structures and challenges of bringing the issues of LGBT workers into the mainstream labour/labor movements in their respective countries. Attendees will be encouraged to summarise lessons from their particular experiences, and the workshop emphasis will be on the dialogue and exchange of information.

Michael Butler, Francis Lagacé and Jean-Pierre Leclerc (National Unions Confederation and CUPE): Quebec: legislation from discrimination against homosexual people, a trade union and community victory ( a potted history of Law 84)
  • Who are the trade union and community groups that worked together to develop the campaign for the adoption of Law 84 in Quebec?
  • The coming together of various Quebec trade unions and community organisations: a winning strategy (speed of the reaction, writing of many reports/submissions; a strong and united group in front of the parliamentary committee)
  • Law 84 (objectives, scope and limitations)
  • After Law 84 (changing attitudes, action and communication with schools)
Suzanne Covich (State School Teachers' Union of Western Australia): Penises in the pigeonhole: a birdseye view of homophobia
This workshop, which constitutes the first chapter of my master's research into heterosexism and homophobia in Western Australian schools, deals primarily with the experiences of lesbian as well as gay educators within an institution that has, until recently, been subjected to homophobic legislation since the late 1980s. Beginning from the point of my own experience of intense victimisation and harassment, as well as questioning why our education systems work to reinforce violence against lesbian and gay educators and students, I explore, within the context of a human rights framework, the theories and workplace practices that have worked to name, isolate, intimidate, violate and marginalise homosexual people. I take into account my own experience, as well as the experiences of local lesbians and Australian, British and American research, to support my claims that our education institutions - through homophobic laws, cultural conditioning, ignorance and the refusal to acknowledge the damage that homophobia and heterosexist thinking do - systematically work to violate individuals who stand outside of hegemonic masculine and emphasised feminine constructs of identity.

Stefano Fabeni (Centre for research and legal comparative studies on sexual orientation and gender identity CERSGOSIG, InformaGay): The Legal Protection for Lesbian and Gay Workers and the Need of Anti-Discrimination Legislation
This workshop focuses on the lack of legal protection for homosexual workers in the Italian legal system. No legal provision explicitly bans discrimination on ground of sexual orientation. From the analysis of legislative and constitutional (article 3) provisions, it emerges how the lack of an explicit reference to sexual orientation has important consequences, in particular in hate crimes legislation, family law and labour legislation. At present, legal protection for gay men and lesbians is provided by general legislation.
With reference to labour law, Act 300 of 1970 and legislation on equal treatment between men and women, contain non-discrimination and equal treatment provisions that can be enforced with respect to sexual orientation discrimination. A reform will be possible in Italy by means of the European Union Directive 2000/78/EC, which bans discrimination at the workplace and calls the member states to adopt national anti-discrimination provisions, positive measures, judicial remedies to protect workers in public and private sectors, and must be implemented in member countries by December 2003. The lack of legal recognition of same-sex couples has further consequences on the recognition of benefits for the worker's same-sex partner. On this purpose, the Court of Justice of the European Community excluded that European legislation recognises any form of protection for same-sex couples.

Stefano Fabeni (Centre for research and legal comparative studies on sexual orientation and gender identity CERSGOSIG, InformaGay): The Rights of Transsexual and Transgender Persons: the Italian Legal Framework and New National and European Challenges
This workshop focuses on the legal situation of transsexual and transgender persons in the Italian legal system: in particular, description of Act 164 of 1982 on gender reassignment and the decision of the Italian Constitutional Court 161 of 1985. Even if legal regulation is important, the Act does not deal with two essential aspects for the protection of transsexuals and transgender people, in particular in the field of employment: the divergence between the name (and legal papers and records) and the physical-psychical identity, and protection against discrimination.
There is no provision in the Italian legal system banning discrimination because of gender identity, and this affects in particular the situation of workers: on this purpose the Court of Justice of the European Community held that discrimination because of gender reassignment is forbidden in the light of the European provisions on equal treatment between men and women, which have been implemented by Italian Parliament. After a view over some European national legal systems (such as Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands) and a description of the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Goodwin v United Kingdom, the intervention focuses on the solution proposed by three Italian bills introduced in the Italian Parliament in July 2002, aiming at providing the possibility for the transsexual (during the transition) and transgender person to change her/his name according to the new psychical-physical identity. The workshop will provide a description of these bills.

Malcolm Fialho (NTEU/University of Western Australia): From Equity to Diversity - Forging New Directions
The University of Western Australia has demonstrated a strong commitment to the achievement of equal employment opportunity and workforce diversity. This is reflected in all spheres of university life and is supported by a broad range of polices, programs and initiatives. While UWA has an impressive track record with respect to gender equality, there has been a recognition for some time now of the need to broaden this focus through a greater emphasis on indigenous issues, race, religious and cultural diversity and sexuality. This awareness has been developed with the emergence of a new analytical and conceptual framework - 'diversity'. Diversity is a continuous process of change and involves analysing, understanding and changing the culture of the organisation. This workshop will describe both a strategic and operational framework within which sexuality can be identified and addressed.

Jen de Vries (NTEU/University of Western Australia): Rainbows and Allies - Queer Projects at UWA
The issues and needs of the GLBTI staff and students are the most recent addition to the diversity agenda of the University of Western Australia. It is not difficult to demonstrate a need for proactive initiatives that increase awareness of issues faced by the GLBTI staff and students and that seek to change the culture of the university campus to one that is supportive and affirming of GLBTI people. This workshop describes two projects that aim to make the University of Western Australia community safer and a more productive and positive work and study experience for GLBTI people. The Rainbow Project assessed attitudes towards GLBTI staff and students through an extensive survey, and paints an interesting picture of a tolerant majority with a vocal homophobic minority. The Ally Network extends this first initiative by developing a support and advocacy network of 'allies' throughout the university community and initiating awareness and education programs on GLBTI issues. Both initiatives are collaborative projects of Students Services, Staff Development, the Guild and the Equity and Diversity Office.

Ray Goodlass, Bronwyn Winter, Michael Zaar, Tarquam McKenna, Chris Game, Kylie Paintain (NTEU): From the Personal to the Industrial
Delegates from the (Australian) National Tertiary Education Union will speak of their experiences as queer academics or general staff in the higher education sector. There will be a focus on charting the journey from a personal response to one's situation through to organised activity in the shape of the Queer Unionists in Tertiary Education caucus. Issues discussed will include establishing the caucus, organising, lobbying, helping members, being a vocice for members, and incorporating queer concerns into enterprise agreements.
Speakers will include QUETE's co-founders, Bronwyn Winter and Michael Zaar, current national co-convenors Chris Game and Tarquam McKenna, and ACT convenor Kylie Paintain. The panel will be chaired by Ray Goodlass, current NSW co-convenor.

Charmine Hartel and Raymond Trau (Monash University), Stefano Fabeni (CERSGOSIB, Italy) and Kati Mustola (Finland): GLoBENET: Establishing a Global Network of Researchers to Enhance Understanding of GLBT Experiences in the Workplace
The workshop will launch the GLoBENET group. The group will be comprised of organisational scholars, industry researchers and GLBT officers who are interested in researching the experiences of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders in organisational settings.
The group will hold face-to-face meeting at future Workers Out! Conferences, with the intention of facilitating collaborative research networks, The intention will be to develop a critical mass of scholarly work in this area, leading to book series to be published in two-year intervals. The book will represent a collection of essays on GLBT experiences in the workplace with a particular emphasis on global benchmarking and comparison. The series will be edited by Charmine Hartel and Raymond Trau.

Charmine Hartel and Raymond Trau : Individual Factors and Contextual Factors Affecting the Quality of Work Life and Work Attitudes of Gay Men
With the current political environment (such as new legislation recognising gay and lesbian couples) and societal changes (such as increasing disclosure of sexual identity in the workplace) in countries such as the US and Australia, organisations are increasingly recognising the existence of their hay and lesbian employees. These changes mean that organisations need to understand the career experiences of their gay and lesbian employees if they are to have access to the full labour pool and if they are to retain the talent they attract. This workshop reports on an on-line survey of 582 working gay men and four in-depth interviews of organisational practitioners involved in sexual diversity program development.
The findings of the research provide a strong indication that both individual and contextual factors affect the quality of work life and work attitudes of gay men. In addition, the research supports the notion that sexual identification issues impact on the working lives of gay men and that career counselors need a good understanding of the issues involved in integrating one's sexual identity with one's career.

Robyn Haultain (Industrial relations lawyer): Out at Work: Is it Safe to be Out in New Zealand?
The workshop aims to compare the theory of the statutory protections with the reality when trying to access those statutory protection for queer workers.

Louise Pratt MP (Labor), Ray Goodlass (NSW Greens), Senator Brian Greig (Democrats), Tim Barnett MP (NZ Labour), chair: Ryan Heath: The Role of Left Parliamentary Representatives
This panel will explore what role the parliament has in protecting and advancing the workplace rights of members of the queer community. Specifically discussed will the tactics and issues that speakers need to be pursued, and those that have worked in previous campaigns.

Megan Janner, Jo Justo (Australian Services Union/GLAM): High Achievers, Obscurity, a Hopeful Future
This workshop will present the history of GLAM, the Gay and Lesbian Network in the ASU: its ups and downs and its future perspectives.

Leonard Kimuli (ARC): Homosexuality and Stigma in Rwandan Society
The workshop will look at the difficult situation of lesbian and gay workers in Rwanda. They face frequent violence and violation of their rights. Lesbian and gay workers face a range of workplace discriminations and often lose their jobs.

Erwin Kunnen and Grada Schadee (Algemene Onderwijsbond AOb, Dutch general education trade union) and Rebeca Sevilla (Education International): How to Come out as an Education Worker. Where to Find Support and What to Watch out for
Because of our work with children, we see people around us being more cautious than in other branches iof work when it comes to homosexuality. In this workshop we like to give some pointers for how to create a safer environment and for when it's best not to come out.

Virginia Mansel-Lees (NTEU): Homophobia: What's That? Academia in Post-Modern / Post-Feminist Era
In an increasingly 'post' most things era it is difficult to not feel marginalised and silenced. As an 'out' lesbian academic working on a small regional campus the internalised homophobia from staff and students manifests itself in curious ways one of which has become a mantra "But I'm not homophobic".
Much of the silencing is located through assumptions that everyone knows about gays and lesbians, therefore we don't need to talk about them/it. Popular culture adopts the lowest common denominator approach with the outcome that dialogue around sexuality is at best sensationalised and at worst trivialised or dismissed.
This workshop is party my own personal journey interwoven with observations of campus life across a range of regional and remote areas of Australia.

Michiel Odijk, Jan Willem de Jong, Ger Rolsma, Vincent Lorijn (Abvakabo FNV, Dutch public sector trade union) and Erwin Kunnen and Grada Schadee (AOb, Dutch education trade union): The Netherlands: Developments and Strategies
Many people consider the Netherlands as an example. A country in which marriage is open for any couple, is this the 'final frontier'? The presentation shows some backgrounds to the developments in the labour movement and the LGBT movement and offers some elements for a discussion on the questions: (1) what are the disadvantages of the 'Dutch strategies'? and (2) Which strategies are applicable under which circumstances?
The presentation is explicitly meant as an introduction to a discussion on strategies for LGBT labour rights on a national level.

Elisabeth Qvarford, Krister Falhstedt, Jukka Lehtonen and Christina Bran-Dannberg: EQUAL Sexualities at Work
EQUAL is part of the European Union's strategy for more and better jobs and for ensuring that no-one is denied access to them. Funded by the European Social Fund, EQUAL will test new ways of tackling discrimination and inequality experienced by those at work and those looking for a job.
An important ingredient of the EQUAL program is transnationality: to make it possible for individual development partnerships and national authorities to learn from each other and co-operate productively across borders. EQUAL Sexualities at Work is a transnational co-operation between three countries: Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden. Four development partnerships are represented. The common interest is to abolish discrimination and the inequality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in the area of employment and enabling LGBT persons to work under equal circumstances as their colleagues. Out of the 1510 EQUAL projects within the European Union, there are only four dealing with sexual orientation:
  • 'Sexual and Gender Minorities at Work', a Finnish project based at Helsinki University;
  • 'Enabling Safety for Lesbigay Teachers', a Dutch project;
  • 'Homosexuals and Bisexuals in the Care System', a Swedish project, and
  • 'Normgiving Diversity', another Swedish project.
Here our activity will be directed towards sharing our experiences.

Róisin Ryan-Flood (CEPP, London School of Economics): Beyond Recognition and Redistribution: a Case Study of Lesbian and Gay Workers in a Local Labour Market in Britain
The Government must introduce new anti-discrimination laws to comply with European Employment and Race Directives outlawing discrimination on the grounds off sexual orientation, religion and belief by December 2003. There is currently very little nation-wide data on the employment status of lesbians and gay men. Nonetheless, numerous small-scale studies indicate that lesbians and gay men experience discrimination at work. Such discrimination takes the form of harassment, lower wages and the denial of promotion.
This workshop seeks to explore the strategies used by lesbians and gay men working in Brighton and Hove to cope with homophobia in their work life. Initial findings suggest that lesbians and gay men employed in lower level jobs in the new economy choose to change employer if they encounter difficulties at work. Workers in the higher echelons of the labour market often choose careers in sectors that appear to have a more tolerant environment. Sexuality therefore shapes employment choices and experiences in significant ways. Unions were however rarely viewed as a potential helpful resource for lesbian and gay workers facing discrimination,. The researchers conclude that trade unions will continue to be seen as ineffective and unsupportive by many lesbian and gay workers unless they make greater effort to liaise with local lesbian and gay activist groups and organisations.

Rebeca Sevilla (Education International), Kürşad Kahramanoğlu (UNISON/ILGA), Jocelio Drummond (PSI Brazil) and Gerald Hunt (Ryerson University): Gay and Lesbian Trade Unionists and the Challenge for a Human Rights Based Approach
The fulfillment of human rights of every women, man, youth and child, to live in dignity and well-being lies at the heart of the human rights covenants and conventions. These instruments have become the yardsticks to measure the degree of respect for and compliance with international human rights standards, and that it continues to be a fundamental source of inspiration for national and international efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. During the last decades actions and campaigns related to discrimination based on sexual orientation are getting more visible, more international consensus and therefore more protected in many countries. Many trade unions have advanced specific rights for hay and lesbian people at the workplace in different regions. But that does not mean that gay and lesbian rights are being respected everywhere. The presentations include:
  1. overview: Mapping the world from a minority perspective (Rebeca Sevilla)
  2. ILGA's trade union work and trade union's work in ILGA (Kürşad Kahramanoğlu)
  3. Democracy and social inclusion: the Centro American and Brazilian trade union experience (Jocelio Drummond)
  4. Consider it done? Trade union's impact on anti-discrimination initiatives (Gerald Hunt)

Trevor Sharpe (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union CFMEU) and Stevie Claytion (Aids Council of New South Wales ACON): Safe Work, Safe Play
A joint union/Aids council project promoting safer sex and safe injecting for construction workers, focusing on HIV presentation and issues of homophobia at the workplace. Centered around a poster, information leaflet and safe sex pack, the campaign aims to educate workers about HIV transmission, refer them to relevant organisations and services, and raise issues of gay and lesbian health as a occupational health and safety issue. The workshop deals with the initial development of a project between a trade union and an Aids council, negotiation of memorandum of understanding, and the creation of production of campaign materials.

Howard Wallace (US Healthworkers Union): Issue 1: Lesbian and gay union organising under the post 9/11 'national security' state
The social and political climate has changed markedly, in the US at least, and requires a clear understanding og some of the most menacing challenges, yet significant opportunities which are sure to arise. In 20 minutes I will seek top put forward a broad historical backdrop as well as some thoughts as to both defensive and aggressive means of fighting back.
Issue 2: Early Coalition-Building in San Francisco: the Gay Movement and the Trade Union Movement in the '70s and '80s

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