Trade Unions Championing LGBT Equality at People’s History Museum

LS2 TUs at Pride

Peter Purton, who retired recently as the TUC’s LGBT officer, has written a book to fill a big gap in the history of how we won LGBT rights in Britain: trade unions played an enormous part in all our victories but this is invisible to most people. From the beginning of our struggle for equality, trade unionists were part of the fight, and over the 1970s and 1980s – when it was not popular – made sure that trade unions added equality to their agendas. And instead of sitting back and letting others talk to a more sympathetic government after 1997, unions kept up the fight and have continually campaigned for full equality.

LS2 TUs at PrideThe trade union contribution has been at all levels. Not just lobbying governments, but even taking them to court when they fell short; negotiating decent policies with employers; defending individuals who faced discrimination; and helping to change public opinion from negative to positive: trade unions have done all these things and more.

Now, when hostile forces everywhere threaten to roll back progress and equality, unions continue to stand up for what is right.

Based on interviews with the ordinary working women and men who made these things happen, and deep personal experience as a participant in many of the battles as well as the organiser of the TUC’s own work on LGBT rights for eighteen years, Peter Purton’s first book is the first to describe – and to analyse – what happened and how it helped to change the world.

Peter will present his findings, using some of the personal accounts that underpin it, at the National Festival of LGBT History in Manchester on 26 February.

OUTing the Past: Manchester, People’s History Museum, 26th February at 1pm