Fifty-one years after the Stonewall riots LBGTQ+ people still face discrimination and violence in all aspects of their lives

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LGBTQ+ people in the UK and across Europe still face discrimination in all aspects of everyday life, according to a survey conducted last month by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The survey, the largest of its kind ever conducted, focused on the social experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people in 30 European countries, and found that little progress has been made over the past few years.

Compared with a similar FRA survey from 2012 the number of LGBTQ+ people in the UK who say they have been harassed in the past five years has risen from 55% to 62% - six points higher than the European average. The number of people in the UK who say they have been violently attacked at least once has gone up by nine points.

This latest research confirms the findings of other studies carried out in the last few years.  A government survey, published in 2019, of 108,100 people who self-identified as LGBT or intersex, also found equally disturbing results. The survey found that at least 2 in 5 respondents had experienced an incident because they were LGBT, such as verbal harassment or physical violence, in the 12 months preceding the survey.

The survey also found that 59% of trans women and 56% of trans men said they had avoided expressing their gender identity for fear of a negative reaction from others. For non-binary respondents, the figure was much higher, at 76%. Generally, respondents with a minority gender identity avoided expressing their gender identity in all contexts, but particularly when out in public (e.g. 68% avoided it on the street).

Research by Stonewall revealed that one in five LGBT have experienced a hate crime or incident in the last year, and this rises to two in five trans people (41%). A Stonewall survey in 2018 found that one in eight trans employees has been physically attacked by a colleague or customers.

Trans people and discrimination in the workplace

A TUC survey found that half of trans people surveyed had been bullied or harassed at work and seven in ten saying their experience of workplace harassment or discrimination has a negative effect on their mental health

Research by Crossland solicitors in 2018, found that 1 in 3 of the UK companies surveyed would not hire a transgender person with 43% unsure if they would recruit a transgender worker. The survey identified the retail sector as having the highest number (47%) of businesses unlikely to employ a transgender person, followed by IT (45%), leisure and hospitality (35%) and manufacturing (34%).

Disgracefully, only 12% of employers surveyed had a zero-tolerance policy on transphobic bullying and harassment in the workplace. Given the high levels of discrimination faced by trans people, the lack of zero-tolerance policies represents an abject failure by employers in their legal duty to protect employees.

If you are having problems in your workplace contact SolFed for advice and support