LGBT equality is under attack. ILGA-Europe provides annual rankings of LGBT equal rights amongst 49 European countries.
In 2022, it ranked the United Kingdom in 14th place. That’s down from 10th place in 2021, the biggest fall of any country.
Employers and the government must take steps to help LGBT people. In July 2018, the government published the LGBT Action Plan to help LGBT residents. Yet very few people are aware of the plan.
What is it? How does it create equality for LGBT workers? What else does it talk about, and has the government lived up to its promises?
Answer these questions and you can fight for your LGBT coworkers through effective steps. Here is your quick guide.
The LGBT Action Plan
The LGBT Action Plan is a series of government policies for LGBT equal rights. The plan is a statement of intent from the government, not a piece of legislation. This means that the government can adjust its plans and forgo the recommendations.
The plan is based on a government survey from 2017 of LGBT people. Though this survey is five years old, its findings are similar to those from more recent surveys.
The plan focuses on workplace conditions, healthcare, education, and public safety. Housing, immigration, and other areas of public policy are not discussed.
The government published an update report in 2019. The report described the steps it took to build off of the LGBT Action Plan. Despite saying that the 2019 report was an “annual report,” the government has not released a subsequent report.
23% of respondents to the 2017 survey said they received a mixed or negative reaction from coworkers for being LGBT. 11% of respondents experienced outing. 11% experienced inappropriate comments and harassment, including sexual harassment.
In the Action Plan, the government promised to provide employers with training materials to promote inclusion. It also vowed to create a working group of employers to understand how LGBT employees were doing in different sectors.
The government stated in its 2019 follow-up report that the majority of LGBT respondents were reporting positive and neutral reactions amongst their workers. The government also discussed its plans to start events to promote workplace inclusivity.
However, there are several areas related to employment that the Action Plan fails to look at. Many LGBTQ workers report having a hard time finding a job. They may face discrimination during the job interview process, being asked invasive questions about their lives.
LGBT people are paid 16% less than heterosexual people. But the government is not requiring businesses to report LGBT pay gaps. Many LGBT workers stay in the closet so they can get high-paying jobs.
The government also failed to examine workplace diversity. Many companies would fail diversity assessments because they are not hiring LGBT staffers or promoting them.
16% of respondents to the 2017 survey reported negative experiences with public health services. 51% of respondents struggled with accessing mental health services.
The government promised to appoint a National Advisor on LGBT healthcare. Dr Michael Brady was appointed to the role in 2019. The government also promised to improve gender identity services for transgender adults, mental healthcare, and fertility services.
In 2019, the government gave grants to several LGBT healthcare organizations. In January 2019, the Department of Health allowed LGBT people to adopt children.
A 2021 study examined the politics of LGBT healthcare in the UK. It examined more than 80 articles about healthcare.
The study concluded that there is still limited knowledge about LGBT equality in the healthcare system. Many discussions are depoliticised, limiting lawmakers’ ability to pass strong legislation.
In 2022, the government announced plans to ban conversion therapy based on sexual orientation. However, the ban does not apply to transgender or gender non-conforming people. ILGA-Europe stated this as one reason why it dropped the UK’s ranking for LGBT equality.
21% of student respondents to the 2017 survey said they were outed. 19% experienced verbal harassment yet 83% of serious acts of harassment were not reported to school administrators.
The Action Plan suggested that the government fund anti-bullying programs. It also suggested investments in hiring more LGBT teachers, professors, and guidance counsellors.
In 2019, the Department of Education passed regulations for relationships education. Students would receive information about LGBT life. The government created grants for bullying interventions in schools as well.
A 2021 study examined LGBT educational policies in UK schools. It found that many schools were committing to LGBT education.
However, government regulations allow religious institutions to avoid teaching about LGBT life. Teachers also must take into account the religious backgrounds of students. They can avoid teaching about certain LGBT issues like discrimination if they feel they would be offensive.
These regulations may affect how young people behave in workplaces. They may speak to LGBT people out of a place of ignorance.
Many LGBT people experience harassment from strangers, which can drive their workplace productivity down. 40% of respondents in 2017 said they dealt with at least one negative incident. This included acts of violence and vandalism.
LGBT people also experience domestic violence. 29% of respondents experienced violence from people they lived with, including intimate partners.
The government promised to improve police responses to hate crimes. It also offered to raise awareness of LGBT support shelters.
In January 2019, the Home Office offered grants to domestic abuse charities. The government also funded the creation of domestic violence shelters throughout the UK.
Unfortunately, LGBT hate crimes have doubled in four years. More than 17,000 crimes were reported to the police in 2020/21. Other crimes occurred during the same year but went unreported to the police.
The state of LGBT equality
LGBT equality requires your help. The government’s LGBT Action Plan provides important recommendations for workplace equality as well as social justice.
The government has made investments in LGBT charities and businesses. Yet many workers continue to experience harassment and difficulty with finding work.
Most of the plan discusses other topics. Though the government has helped with school harassment and domestic violence, its efforts are lacking in health care.
It is up to you to join an LGBT equality alliance and fight for justice. Delta eSourcing helps UK businesses create equitable workspaces. Request a free demo today.