Public sector unions play a critical role in educating and leading the community to a better understanding of LGBTQI+ 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 LGBTQI+ 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.


In 2000 same-sex marriage did not exist anywhere.

Today one billion people around the world live in one of the 25 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, LGBTQI+ 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 LGBTQI+ 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.

There are still too few LGBTQI+ trade union leaders, internal groups of LGBTI 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 LGBTQI.

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.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah

For workers 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 LGBTI 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

LGTBQI+ Rights

70countries

continue to punish homosexuality as a crime

1/3LGBTQI+ people

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

380 murders

of LGTBQI+ people in Brazil alone in 2017

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. LGBTQI+ workers’ rights are trade union rights, and trade union rights are human rights. Trade fight against discrimination and for an inclusive non-violent society.

Bringing the LGBTQI voice to the highest levels of Trade Unionism

We have created a Working group for LGBTQI+ 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 LGBTQI issues to the wider struggle

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

Increase LGBTQI+ 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 intesectionality

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

The ILGA's map of Sexual Orintation Laws shows the absence of positive laws in most parts of the world.