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We are LGBT

Taylor Humphris tells her story in LGBT history month
Taylor Humphris, Friday, February 26th, 2016

To some people LGBT is nothing more than a category of people, a description, a title, but to me it’s one big family.


We stand for people who can’t stand for themselves. We march for people who can’t march for themselves. We speak for people whose voice cannot be heard. We are LGBT.


I was fortunate enough to be employed by Unite the union, so discrimination at work for being a young lesbian isn’t something I am familiar with myself. But that doesn’t mean that outside of Unite, I haven’t had unfair treatment down to my visual looks and mannerisms.


I have been on the other end of abuse in the street by a group of youths, had all the funny looks by closed-minded mediocre people – but did it bother me? No it did not, because I know along with my union and the other 100,000 LGBT unite members we will win this fight for equal rights everywhere.


After all what harm can a dirty look do when you are a part of a movement as strong as this?



For us as a union, as a family, the fight continues day in, day out, so to me LGBT history month means it’s a chance to celebrate, a chance to look back and highlight exactly how far the LGBT community has come in and out of the workplace.


There is no better motivation than realising your self-progression.


I was recently asked why I felt so strongly about fighting for the LGBT community. Besides the obvious reasons, my answer was easy.


Why should I settle just because as an individual I’m not being affected by modern day homophobic bosses or being bullied in work? What about all those that have lost their jobs just because they are a gay man or woman? Or those that have committed suicide – fed up with being put down and abused by others?


Research shows that LGBT suicides are higher than the general population. In 2013 over 300 LGBT people were admitted to hospital for self-harming. That’s why I feel so passionately about fighting for the LGBT community – because not everyone is able too.


I was out as a young gay woman two years before I started at Unite, working in a nursery on minimum wage.


As a young person I wasn’t aware of what a union even was – let alone what they could do for me. I didn’t even know I was supposed to sign a contract when I was employed.


My employers changed my hours weekly, always gave me the lackey jobs around the nursery and didn’t provide me with one bit of training even though it was an apprenticeship – but I still decided to stick it out as at the time working with small under-privileged children was my passion.


Image cost me job

As I got more and more comfortable with my sexuality my image began to change to how I wanted to be. My clothes got more boyish and my hair got way shorter. Little did I know this would eventually cost me my job.


The weeks went by and slowly but surely they gave me less and less hours, when I was there I was rarely working with the kids, before eventually giving me the boot.


I left without a fuss and as I didn’t belong to a union they got away with it. This is still happening today – young people are constantly being discriminated against for their image, age and sexuality. It must stop.


Unite the union saved me and I know we can do the same for others. Let the fight continue!


Pic of Davina and Julia Cockshott, Leeds Pride 2015


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