News Press release

Public meeting to discuss teaching of gender identity in schools should be cancelled as it puts staff and public at risk, says UNISON in Edinburgh city branch

UNISON City of Edinburgh branch is calling on the council to cancel a ‘Schools and gender identity event’ to protect library staff and members of the trans community.

The event which its organisers say is “a group of concerned adults organised a public meeting in Portobello Community Centre to discuss the teaching of gender identity in schools” is due to be held at Portobello Library on Tuesday (14 March) evening has already gathered national media attention and some community campaigners have also called for its cancellation.

UNISON City of Edinburgh branch has been in dialogue with the council to express safety-fears for library staff and local trans-individuals. UNISON argue that library staff are being placed at the centre of something that is going to impact their ability to provide a high quality public services to the local community, including the LGBT+ community.

UNISON City of Edinburgh branch is also concerned that the event indirectly endangers the wider safety of the UK trans community.  Should the event be allowed to continue, the branch will peacefully protest with other community activist protesters and would ask other who feel the same to join them.

UNISON City of Edinburgh branch secretary, Tom Connolly said: “UNISON Edinburgh city branch represent library staff across the city and we do not want to see them placed at the centre of something which could impact on their ability to deliver high quality public services. We are concerned that this event has been granted permission to go ahead. UNISON Edinburgh city branch is clear in its commitment to trans and non-binary members. We recognise the importance of supporting trans members in our local communities.”

UNISON City of Edinburgh branch equalities officer, Elaine Wishart said: “UNISON supports trans rights and wants to be at the forefront of promoting an inclusive debate. You don’t have to be trans to fight for trans rights, you can be a trans ally. The national debate is very divisive and harms trans-people who need our compassion and support. UNISON have produced many campaign materials around combatting the gender critical narrative. Trans rights are human rights and making sure our trans members are able to go to work, and just be themselves in the wider community free of fear, harassment and bullying is paramount.”

 Notes for editors:

 UNISON Launched a Trans equality campaign in July 2022 – Louder and prouder: UNISON launches trans equality campaign | Article, News | News | UNISON National

The campaign has for key objectives:

  • to roll out trans ally training across all UNISON regions;
  • to build trans and non-binary member activism to organise and campaign on workplace issues;
  • to ensure workplaces are safe by adopting UNISON’s model trans policy; and
  • to fight to make sure UNISON’s activism is heard by politicians.