Public sector unions play a critical role in educating and leading the community to a better understanding of LGBT+ issues, by using the workplace as a powerful and rare opportunity to reach across family, cultural and class divisions to engage and educate.

PSI and affiliates help raise LGBT+ voices, both within the trade union movement and within our communities. We will continue our fight to break down stereotypes, promote policies that respect diversity and ensure more inclusive and respectful workplaces, public services, unions and societies.


Global Unions LGBTI Workers website

the Council of Global Unions is releasing our LGBTI website to share the work of Global Unions promoting LGBTI rights at work at national, regional and international levels.

Click here to go the LGBTI website

In 2000 same-sex marriage did not exist anywhere. Today one billion people around the world live in one of the 29 countries that allow same-sex marriage. Yet same-sex relationships are considered a crime in more than 70 countries, sometimes punishable by death.

In the workplace, LGBT+ workers continue to cope with mockery and violence. Their career progression is often blocked by their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

Hiding an element of one's identity from colleagues can have terrible consequences, with many studies showing that the suicide rate is significantly higher among the LGBT+ population.

A recent study by the Harvard Business Review found these stresses can negatively impact workplace participation and engagement.

Trade unions have a duty to help create more inclusive workplaces, including through collective bargaining.

All over the world these sorts of prejudices remain stubborn. Work places, whether private or public, are not yet the safe spaces for all identities which they should be. Even companies which implement "diversity" policies often do not explicitly target the criterion of sexual orientation.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah Head of Political Campaigns and Equality, Public and Commercial Services Union - PCS, United Kingdom

As a trade unionist, a working class girl, and an out black African lesbian, I want to stand by my principles and values.

Trade unions have a duty to help create more inclusive workplaces, including through collective bargaining. We must also take a stand, unequivocally, against attacks that challenge LGBT+ rights, acquired after hard battles. Within our own ranks, we must get rid of all stereotypes that remain.

Diversity is an asset, not a problem.

We need to recognize the importance of cooperation and cohabitation. It is healthy and productive to have an inclusive work climate. Coming out works better!

A continuing struggle

LGBT+ Rights



continue to punish homosexuality as a crime


LGBT+ people

in the EU believe disclosing their sexual orientation could have a negative impact on their career



of LGBT+ people in Brazil alone in 2017

There are still too few LGBT+ trade union leaders, internal groups of LGBT+ employees, or union engagement in Pride struggles.

Public service workers have a key role to play in this fight. It is up to us to deliver a public service that is based on equality and respect for diversity, encouraging social and economic justice among all communities, including LGBT+.

Public Services International and Education International have done a considerable amount of joint work to advance LGBT+ equality. Today, trade unions are involved in national and international work to protect LGBT+ workers’ rights, in the same way they take action to protect many groups and individuals who face prejudice and discrimination.

What does PSI do?

PSI is committed to equality for all irrespective of sex, marital status, ethnic origin, national identity, disability, sexual orientation, age or religion, at the workplace, in trade unions and in the broader political, social, economic and cultural context. LGBT+ workers’ rights are trade union rights, and trade union rights are human rights. Trade Unions fight against discrimination and for an inclusive non-violent society.

Bringing the LGBT+ voice to the highest levels of Trade Unionism

We have created a Working group for LGBT+ workers within the Council of Global Unions

Fighting homophobia and stigmatization across borders and within our movement

We work with trade unions on the ground to break down stereotypes and build more inclusive societies

Linking LGBT+ issues to the wider struggle

We work in coalition with NGO partners to make sure the unique workers' rights issues of the LGBT+ community are addressed

Increase LGBT+ participation within our regions

We are building on the experience of PSI’s Inter-American LGBT+ Committee and work on the inclusion of LGBT issues in other SUBRAC, REC and PSI regional meetings

Develop a deeper understanding of how to combat discrimination

We contribute to ILO and Trade Union research and studies on how to build more inclusive workplaces

Advocating for inclusive work places in the public services

We contribute to ILO and Trade Union research and studies on how to build more inclusive workplaces

Reinforce intersectionality

We build links between different struggles and promote the understanding of workers and people as a variety of identities.