New research from Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, reveals troubling discrimination in Britain’s workplaces.
The report, based on YouGov research with 3,213 LGBT employees, found that an astonishing 35 per cent of LGBT people at work have hidden their identity in the last year because they were afraid of discrimination; a figure that rises to 42 per cent for black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT staff and 51 per cent for trans staff.
Workplace bullying continues to be a serious problem for LGBT employees. Almost one in five (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the last year because they are LGBT. Nearly one in five LGBT people (18 per cent) who were looking for work reported that they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The situation is particularly bad for LGBT staff who are black, Asian or minority ethnic, trans or disabled, who were all found to be more likely to experience harassment and abuse in the workplace. Shockingly, one in ten black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT employees (10 per cent) have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in the last year, compared to three per cent of white people.
Nearly one in four trans trans (24 per cent) said they did not get a promotion they were up for at work because they were trans, compared to seven per cent of lesbian, gay and bi people who aren’t trans. Meanwhile, almost one in four LGBT disabled people (24 per cent) say they were excluded by colleagues in the last year.
On the basis of this report, Stonewall is calling for employers to develop zero-tolerance policies on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and harassment, alongside communicating clear routes to report anti-LGBT bullying.
The charity is also calling for employers to take an active role in supporting trans staff by running awareness sessions for all employees on trans inclusion and developing a transitioning at work policy.
At Stonewall’s annual London Workplace Conference on 27 April 2018, the charity will be discussing these findings and how workplaces can better demonstrate their commitment to LGBT people. The conference tackles best practice in supporting LGBT staff and creating an environment where LGBT people at all levels feel comfortable to be visible role models. The conference features a mix of public, private and civil society organisations including the likes of the London Ambulance Service, Clifford Chance, Sussex Police, and Cardiff University.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall, said: ‘Over the past decade, leading employers across all sectors have shown a real commitment to inclusion and have taken positive steps towards LGBT equality. Unfortunately, the findings of our Work Report show there’s still lots to do. The fact that more than a third (35 per cent) of LGBT staff have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination shows that change is still very much needed.
‘Creating a workplace that accepts everyone isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. When staff feel comfortable and happy, they will perform much better than if they’re having to hide who they are. We need more organisations and businesses to be active and visible in demonstrating their support for their LGBT employees.
‘We’re proud to work with over 760 organisations through our Diversity Champions programme to help bring forward the day when all LGBT staff are accepted without exception in the workplace.’
‘My employer is generally very supportive but doesn’t have a specific LGBT discrimination section in their policies and procedures should discrimination occur. So, if discrimination or harassment does occur – and it does – then they don’t effectively handle things and the LGBT person is blamed for causing problems and being over sensitive.’ – Mollie, 51 (Yorkshire and the Humber)
‘I have not come out to anyone where I currently live or work. I would not feel comfortable or safe coming out to any of my colleagues and have felt reluctant to make friends where I live now in case they find out about my trans history.’ – Tom, 42 (East Midlands)
‘While serving a customer at work I corrected them on pronouns and they laughed in my face and asked me if I had a penis and told me I was wrong. My supervisor witnessed the whole thing and told me not to be so dramatic about it.’ – Ross, 23 (Scotland)
‘My office is using the word ‘gay’ as an insult or a slang term. I feel their ignorance regarding bisexual people will be worse. If these particular individuals didn’t work in my office anymore I’d feel comfortable being out in the workplace.’ – Megan, 34 (Wales)
New research from Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, exposes alarming levels of poor mental health among LGBT people compared to the general population. Stonewall’s study also reveals a shockingly high level of hostility and unfair treatment faced by many LGBT people when accessing healthcare services.
The research, based on YouGov polling of over 5,000 LGBT people, shows more than half of LGBT people (52 per cent) have experienced depression in the last year, and three in five (61 per cent) had anxiety. This compares to one in six adults in England who faced a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, according to Mind.
Experiences of anti-LGBT abuse and discrimination on the street, at home, and at work were also revealed to significantly increase the risk of poor mental health. Two-thirds of LGBT people who’ve been the victim of a hate crime (69 per cent) experienced depression, while three in four (76 per cent) reported having episodes of anxiety.
The situation is particularly concerning for trans people. In the last 12 months alone, more than one in 10 trans people (12 per cent) attempted to take their own life, compared to two per cent of LGB people who aren’t trans. Almost half of trans people (46 per cent) have also had thoughts about taking their own life.
Shockingly, almost one in four patients (23 per cent) had witnessed negative remarks about LGBT people from healthcare staff while accessing services. One in seven LGBT people (14 per cent) said they have avoided treatment altogether for fear of the discrimination they may face.
Of those who do seek support, one in eight (13 per cent) have experienced some form of unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they’re LGBT. A quarter of LGBT people (25 per cent) also faced a lack of understanding of their specific health needs; a figure that rises to 62 per cent for trans patients.
On the basis of this report, Stonewall is calling for better training for all health and social care staff, with specific guidance on how to meet the needs of LGBT patients. NHS England should also make mental health a key priority for the new National LGBT Health Adviser.
Paul Twocock, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at Stonewall, said: ‘Simply being lesbian, gay, bi or trans shouldn’t mean you’re at higher risk of experiencing poorer mental health or should have to expect unequal treatment from healthcare services in Britain today. Unfortunately, this report shows that for many, it still does.
‘Despite some outstanding progress by committed individuals and institutions, we are still seeing a bleak picture of LGBT health – both mental and physical – in 2018. Half of LGBT people (52 per cent) have experienced depression, while three in five (61 per cent) reported having episodes of anxiety.
‘And it’s no wonder this is the case: LGBT people still face routine discrimination in all areas of their lives. The Government’s annual hate crime report revealed a 32 per cent rise in anti-trans hate crimes in the last year, while those based on sexual orientation jumped by 27 per cent.
What this new research shows is the devastating impact hate and abuse has on LGBT people’s mental health and well-being. Victims of anti-LGBT hate crime are at far greater risk of experiencing mental health problems compared to other LGBT people and the wider population.
‘We need the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments and the NHS to take action and ensure health service staff at all levels understand the needs of all LGBT people and how to support them. The £1m fund announced by the UK Government to improve health and social care for LGBT people in England is an important first step.
We look forward to working with the UK Government’s newly appointed National Adviser for LGBT healthcare in England, and alongside NHS Wales. In Scotland, we look forward to continuing our ongoing partnership with NHS Scotland. Across Britain, we want to help create a world where every LGBT person is supported to a lead a happy, healthy life.’
‘I am being treated for depression, which is caused in part by not being able to access any LGBT senior age-related groups within 80 miles of me. I would be actively involved in such a group if I could find one, but there is nothing. I feel very isolated.’ Rosemary, 70 (Wales)
‘I got sectioned after a suicide attempt and the nurse said that my mental health problems were due to allowing Satan in my soul. If I just accepted my true gender then God could forgive me.’ Elijah, 19 (South East)
‘Health professionals ask if I might be pregnant, and when I say no, follow up with ‘Have you had unprotected sex with your partner since your last period’ which, even if I had, would hardly get me pregnant. Having to decide whether to come out to people you hardly know and may never see again is never-ending and a little bit wearying.’ Tilly, 42 (Scotland)