One in three fear telling colleagues their sexuality or gender identity, study finds

Despite protections outlawing discrimination in the workplace, many Brits still fear coming out to colleagues.

A survey by charity Stonewall found that 35 percent of of LGBT people in the UK remain in the closet to colleagues.

Meanwhile 42 percent of non-white people hide their identity, a figure that rises to half among trans people in the workplace.

Worryingly, one in five (18 percent) say they have been a victim of abuse from colleagues due to their sexuality or trans identity.

The same number of LGBT Brits believe they have been discriminated against when looking for new employment.

The charity is now calling on employers to develop zero-tolerance policies in a bid to root out discrimination.

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of 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.”

One woman, Megan, 34, said: “My office is using the word ‘gay’ as an insult or a slang term. I feel their ignorance regarding bisexual people will be worse.

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY LUIS TORRES Gay pride flags fly from the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street June 23, 2009 in the Greenwich Village section of New York as the community marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The disturbances began on the night of June 28, 1969 as a protest by gays against police harassment and helped trigger the modern US gay rights movement. AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)


“If these particular individuals didn’t work in my office anymore I’d feel comfortable being out in the workplace.”

The survey reflects results of a similar survey in 2017 that half of gay men in Britain do not feel comfortable holding hands with their partner in the street.

Hate crimes against gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Britain has risen by a massive 78 percent in the last four years.

Stonewall Parade

The proportion of gay, lesbian and bisexual people who have experienced a hate crime rose from nine per cent in 2013 up to 16 per cent in 2017.

Currently, four fifths of hate crimes against LGBT people are not reported to the police, the research found.