UK | More than a third of LGBT staff in the closet at work

Thirty-five percent of LGBT staff in the UK have hidden that they are LGBT at work for fear of discrimination, and black and transgender people are the worst off.

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 more than a third of LGBT people at work have hidden their identity in the last year because they were afraid of discrimination.

Bisexual people are the least out, with 38 percent not being out to anyone at work about their sexual orientation. This compares to seven percent of gay men, four percent of lesbians, and 26 percent of transgender people.

Workplace bullying continues to be a serious problem for LGBT employees. Almost one in five (18 percent) 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 percent) 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 percent) have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in the last year, compared to three percent of white people.

Nearly one in four trans trans (24 percent) said they did not get a promotion they were up for at work because they were trans, compared to seven percent of lesbian, gay and bi people who aren’t trans. Meanwhile, almost one in four LGBT disabled people (24 percent) say they were excluded by colleagues in the last year.

“Over the past decade, leading employers across all sectors have shown a real commitment to inclusion and have taken positive steps towards LGBT equality,” said Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, of Stonewall.

“Unfortunately, the findings of our Work Report show there’s still lots to do. 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.”

Earlier this month, the South African LGBT+ Management Forum announced plans for the first South African Workplace Equality Index which will asses how supportive and welcoming companies are to LGBT employees.

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