Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall (She/Her) said: ‘Many people in the UK today, including LGBT+ people, still face huge inequalities and the Women’s and Equalities Minister must remain committed to tackling them.
‘To do this, it is important to understand that there are many different things that can hold us back. LGBT+ people are part of every community and in every location. We can’t separate experiences of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, and racism from socio-economic status and geographic location. To tackle one, we need to tackle the others, which is why progress must include all LGBT+ people, including LGBT+ people who live in poverty, in parts of the country where there are few jobs, and who go to schools where they aren’t supported to reach their potential, and it must include LGBT+ people of colour, women and those of us with disabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this connection even more clear, with people of colour being disproportionately impacted by this crisis, due to racial discrimination as well being more likely to live in poverty.
‘While attitudes have been slowly changing, lesbian, gay, bi and trans people still face discrimination throughout our lives, and it holds us back from unlocking our potential. The GEO's National LGBT Survey found that at school, college or university, 21 per cent of LGBT+ people were outed without their permission, and 19 per cent experienced verbal harassment. Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people also have much higher rates of mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, with research finding that LGB adults were twice as likely to have attempted suicide in their lifetime than straight people, and that this increases further for trans people specifically.
‘LGBT+ people face discrimination in work, both in getting a job and once they have found employment, with the National LGBT Survey finding only 63 per cent of trans people were employed in the 12 months prior to the survey. Hate crime has also been steadily rising against LGBT+ people across the country, with the number of reported homophobic and biphobic hate crimes almost trebling in the last five years, and a 25 per cent increase in the reports of transphobic hate crimes in the last year alone.
‘As these figures grow, and as more column inches are dedicated to criticising ‘wokeness’, it certainly doesn’t feel like being LGBT+ is ‘fashionable’, nor is it fashionable to want to remove the obstacles that hold our communities back.
‘Data has continually shown that the more discrimination you face because of who you are, the more inequality you will experience – including financial stability, employment, mental wellbeing and physical health, as well as access to opportunities. While we welcome the Equality Data Programme and the continuation of the Equality Hub, it is vital that the Government provides reassurance that dedicated programmes of work, such as gender pay gap reporting and the LGBT Action Plan, which remain vital in tackling the inequalities highlighted today, will continue to be prioritised and developed.’