Gay people ‘face disadvantages’
Tuesday 27th August 2013, 4:10PM BST.
Gay people face “disadvantages in many walks of life”, a charity has warned, after a new report concluded that many feel discriminated against by public organisations.
Stonewall said that p ublic services and politicians have “failed” to tackle gay people’s fear of intolerance.
Many l esbian, bisexual and gay people feel as though they would be discriminated against police, local authorities and schools among others, according to Stonewall’s report Gay in Britain.
The gay rights charity said in spite of huge advances in legal equality – with new legislation which will allow same-sex marriages in England and Wales from next summer – gay people still expect to face poor treatment because of their sexual orientation.
Stonewall also said that fear of prejudice is also present in private organisations such as work places and in the media.
Almost half of the 2,000 gay people surveyed on behalf of the charity said they would expect to be treated less fairly than a heterosexual person when applying to adopt a child.
One in five said they would expect to be treated worse than a heterosexual person when reporting a crime and 18% said they would expect discrimination if they needed to apply for social housing, the report states.
Seventy per cent expect barriers to becoming a school governor and 61% believe the child of gay parents would be bullied in primary school, the charity found.
And 6% would expect to be treated worse than a heterosexual person if they needed urgent medical care.
Stonewall said these concerns are reflected across other public services, with a third of gay people expecting worse treatment in a care home and one in five believing they would be treated less fairly by a judge.
Meanwhile in the private sector, one in five gay, lesbian or bisexual workers say they have experienced verbal bullying from colleagues or customers because of their sexual orientation.
Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “Completion of our work on marriage means that one strand of Stonewall’s domestic focus – legislative equality – is effectively complete. But this polling demonstrates starkly that changing laws doesn’t change attitudes and lives overnight.
” Gay taxpayers contribute £40 billion every year to the cost of Britain’s public services. They should be able to have confidence that they’ll receive the services they need when accessing schools, hospitals or policing.”
He added: ” This research examines the expectations and lived experiences of Britain’s 3.7 million gay people. For all the progress that’s been made, they continue to face disadvantages in many walks of life; from education and healthcare, to playing sport or reporting a crime. Many lesbian, gay and bisexual people also expect to be discriminated against if they stand for political office, want to foster a child or consider becoming a magistrate or a school governor.
“This hard evidence presents clear challenges to many organisations across both the public and private sectors. These findings send a strong message that there remains much to be done until equality is meaningful for many citizens in 21st century Britain.”