Gay couples are still afraid to hold hands in public, are less happy

LGBT people in the UK still have a significantly worse life satisfaction than the general public, a landmark government survey has found.

The UK government today (June 3) published results from a survey of LGBT people across the UK.

More than 100,000 people responded to the survey, which makes it the largest national survey of LGBT people conducted in the world to date.

The survey found a number of shocking disparities between the LGBT community and the general public, underlining the level of work still required on LGBT rights.

LGBT people have significantly lower life satisfaction

Respondents were significantly “less satisfied with their life” in general than the UK population, scoring it 6.5 out of 10 on average – compared with 7.7 for the general UK population.

Over two thirds (68 percent) of respondents said they had avoided holding hands in public with a same-sex partner, fearing a negative reaction.

70 percent said they had avoided being open about their sexual orientation due to fears about a negative reaction.

59 percent of trans women, 56 percent of trans men,  and 76 percent of non-binary people said they had avoided expressing their gender identity for fear of a negative reaction from others.

Elsewhere, five percent of respondents said they had been offered so called ‘conversion’ or ‘gay cure’ therapy, and a further two percent had undergone it.

Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt described the results as “disturbing”.

Penny Mordaunt (Amy Ashenden/PinkNews)

She said: “Everyone in this country should feel safe and happy to be who they are, and to love who they love, without judgement or fear.

“I am incredibly proud of the UK’s global leadership on LGBT equality and the fact that this is the largest survey of its kind, but many of the results are very disturbing.

“It’s unacceptable that people feel they cannot hold hands with their partner in public, and that they are unable to walk down the street without fear of abuse. It is also deeply worrying that LGBT people experience difficulty accessing public services such as healthcare, and that so many are being offered the abhorrent practise of conversion therapy.

“This Government has done much to promote a diverse, tolerant society and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – but it is clear we have more to do.”

Penny Mordaunt (Dan Kitwood/Getty)

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall said: “These findings reflect what many LGBT people already know, that there’s still a long way to go until we reach full equality.

“The simple act of holding hands is something all same-sex couples do with a high degree of caution. Attitudes have changed but there are still pockets of society where we’re far from safe.”

Mordaunt today launched an Action Plan vowing to eradicate gay ‘cure’ therapy and tackle a string of other issues.