What is important is that we start by changing the conversation.
Attitudes take time to change. Policy changes can take even longer. When we open people’s minds; when we make them see a problem where they thought there was none before; when we make administrators realize that our policies cater to heterosexuality, and not to diversity, we would have taken a big step forward. And we would be that much closer to our ultimate goals.
Five priorities for 2015-2017
- We will continue to push for new parental policies across the UN system that treat all families equally. We believe parents are parents. They deserve equitable parental leave time whether their children are adopted, born through surrogacy, or given birth by the staff member.
- We will continue to push for equal pension benefits for all staff members. At a time when the majority of organizations of the UN system now recognize all legal same-sex unions, the UN provider of pension benefits, the UNJSPF, should do the same. No same-sex spouse of a staff member should go unrecognized. We have recently written to the Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General on this. She has promised to look into it.
- We will introduce proposals for inclusive workplaces for transgender and intersex staff members. All staff members deserve dignity and equal opportunities.
- We will introduce proposals for inclusive workplaces for staff members with HIV/AIDS. A stigma-free workplace is our cause, and we’ll embrace it.
- We will introduce a survey to measure the satisfaction of LGBTI staff in the UN system, and to measure attitudes towards LGBTI issues. Having hard numbers can benefit us all, staff and administrators alike.
The UN system may rarely change overnight.
But we will continue to push for our causes until the changes do come.
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Safe & Equal Mobility and opportunity
We call for the UN system to ensure that all LGBTI are able to remain mobile, and that it give utmost consideration when life in a so-called family duty station becomes a de facto hardship duty station because they cannot bring their families, or they face homophobia or transphobia-based hostility due to workplace, cultural or legal tensions.
Homophobia and transphobia in the workplace
We advocate for clear messages from the leaders of UN entities that homophobia and transphobia in the workplace will not be tolerated in any shape or form, and that there will be consequences for those who engage in such acts, and for managers who become aware of homophobic and transphobic incidents and do nothing.
Equality in Parental Leave & Pension Benefits
We believe parents are parents and partners are partners. They deserve equitable parental leave time whether their children are adopted, born through surrogacy, or given birth by the staff member. Similarly, no same-sex spouse of a staff member should go unrecognized in the eyes of the UN provider of pension benefits, the UNJSPF.