The Government has published a comprehensive action plan setting out the steps it will take to address some of the biggest issues facing LGBT people in the UK.
The action plan was published in response to the findings of the National LGBT survey, which had over 108,000 respondents and revealed that LGBT people are experiencing prejudice on a daily basis.
The survey ran from July to October 2017 and aimed to develop a better understanding of the experiences of LGBT and intersex people, particularly in the areas of health, education, personal safety and employment. It received over 108,000 valid responses, making it the largest national survey to date of LGBT people anywhere in the world.
Although respondents were generally positive about the UK’s record on LGBT rights, the survey nevertheless indicated a number of areas that require action. For instance, more than two thirds of LGBT respondents said they avoid holding hands with a same-sex partner for fear of a negative reaction from others.
Furthermore, at least two in five respondents had experienced an incident because they were LGBT, such as verbal harassment or physical violence, in the 12 months preceding the survey. However, more than nine in ten of the most serious incidents went unreported, often because respondents thought ‘it happens all the time’.
The Government’s action plan therefore contains 75 commitments to tackle discrimination and improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the UK. This includes a £4.5 million fund to address inequality and support the delivery of actions in the plan in areas including health, education, personal safety and the workplace.
Further actions are as follows:
- Bringing forward proposals to eradicate conversion therapy, as 2% of respondents had undergone and 5% had been offered conversion therapy.
- Appointing a national LGBT health adviser who will focus on reducing the heath inequalities that LGBT people face.
- Working with the police to improve the response to LGBT hate incidents, and refreshing the Hate Crime Action Plan to include measures to improve the awareness and skills of police officers and staff to respond to the needs of hate crime victims – including LGBT victims.
- Supporting LGBT students and teachers to improve diversity and tolerance in educational settings.
Although only organisations based in England or operating nationwide will be able to access the funding the plan makes available to deliver specific projects, the UK Government is committed to working closely with the governments of the devolved administrations on the delivery of the commitments in this action plan.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“We can be proud that the UK is a world leader in advancing LGBT rights, but the overwhelming response to our survey has shone a light on the many areas where we can improve the lives of LGBT people.
“I was struck by just how many respondents said they cannot be open about their sexual orientation or avoid holding hands with their partner in public for fear of a negative reaction. No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love.
“This LGBT action plan will set out concrete steps to deliver real and lasting change across society, from health and education to tackling discrimination and addressing the burning injustices that LGBT people face.”