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Global LGBT+ workers' survey underway

19 April 2022

Nautilus has contributed insights into research on LGBT+ issues faced by transport key workers which is being carried out by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF).

This continues the ITF's work to promote LGBT+ rights, as adopted in a resolution by affiliates including Nautilus at the ITF's 44th Congress in Singapore in 2018. Congress Resolution 5 agreed the need to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex trade union policies.

To this end, the ITF also set up a working group with members from its various sections, regions and departments, which culminated in the release of a toolkit to support unions in organising and representing LGBT+ workers.

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton said of the latest survey work: 'I and the ITF president Paddy Crumlin have been clear that the labour movement needs to provide an alternative to 'rainbow capitalism', which co-opts the struggle of LGBTQI+ people without a commitment to genuine social and economic justice.'

Recently the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) published its annual report stating that 69 countries have active discriminatory laws that criminalise same-sex relationships. These laws make it possible for governments and public bodies to arrest, prosecute, imprison and even execute LGBT+ people within their borders.

'Figures such as these show just how important it is that trade unions actively protect and advocate for their LGBT+ workers,' said Mr Cotton. 'The ITF reaffirms its commitment to building respect and dignity for all workers. We believe every worker is entitled to work and live free from discrimination and violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics.'


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Free and Equal: UN guidance on definitions

People use a wide variety of words to describe themselves and their identities, and it's important to respect the terms, names and pronouns people use to refer to themselves. For the full United Nations definitions the UN Free and Equal website:

LGBT/LGBTI: LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender; and LGBTI for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex.

Transgender/Trans: Transgender (sometimes shortened to 'trans') is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of identities whose appearance and characteristics are perceived as gender atypical.

Intersex/Sex characteristics: Intersex people can have any sexual orientation and gender identity.

Sexual orientation: Sexual orientation refers to a person's physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction towards other people.

Gender identity: Some people may later identify and express themselves with a wide range of identities other than the sex recorded at birth. Trans women identify as women but were classified as males at birth. Trans men identify as men but were classified female at birth. Cisgender is used to describe people whose sense of their own gender is aligned with the sex that they were assigned at birth.

Gender expression: Gender expression is the way in which we express our gender through actions and appearance, and is not always linked to a person's biological sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.

UN Free and Equal definitions
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Nautilus advice

Nautilus is here to support you in recognising and tackling the problem of workplace bullying and harassment. It is an issue the Union has been addressing for many years. Following feedback from members the Nautilus Protect and Respect guide was drawn up, which is aimed at those members who may be experiencing bullying or harassment in the maritime workplace, and the colleagues who want to help them. If, as a female member, you would like to speak to a female official about a bullying or harassment issue, email

Download the guide Email a female official

Meet the Nautilus Equality and Diversity team

Equality and Diversity Forum secretary Danny McGowan

Danny McGowan heads the Nautilus Equality and Diversity Forum. He provides reports to the Union's general secretary and puts member requests in action as required. Email Danny

Young Maritime Professionals lead Martyn Gray

Martyn Gray leads the Nautilus Young Maritime Professionals (YMP) Forum and can provide advice to members who wish to speak to a younger union representative Email Martyn

Women's lead Rachel Lynch

Rachel Lynch is our organiser dedicated to assisting female members with any workplace issues or provide advice to members who wish to speak to a female representative. Email Rachel


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