Young people still discriminated against over sexuality, study finds

By Neil Puffett

| 21 May 2012

Young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are still not able to be completely open about their sexuality without fear of negative reactions, a poll has found.

The poll found young people still face prejudice over their sexuality. Image: Metro

The study commissioned by health, community and youth services provider Metro, found that despite strides towards equality in recent times, 65 per cent of people have witnessed or are aware of LGBT discrimination and abuse.

The poll of more than 1,000 people, conducted by Populus, found that 76 per cent of respondents believe young LGBT people face negative reactions when they are open about their identity at school.

The poll also found that the same proportion think young LGBT people experience negativity in the street if they are open about their sexuality.

A further 66 per cent said that young LGBT people are likely to go through discrimination at work, and nearly 60 per cent believe that young LGBT people encounter negative responses from their parents regarding their identity.

The findings come as a national survey of 15,000 young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) 16-25 year olds is launched. 

The Youth Chances survey is seeking the views of young LGBTQ people across England and will use the data to identify their needs and to make recommendations for change. 

Dr Greg Ussher, deputy chief executive of Metro said: “We still have a long way to go to eliminating discrimination and ensuring that sexuality and gender identity are not barriers to young people’s happiness and wellbeing.  

“The findings are perhaps not so surprising when we consider the questioning of equality in current debates about equal marriage, which must be bewildering for most young people. 

“Youth Chances offers us an opportunity to turn things around and make a real difference.”

Dan Baker, Youth Chances Project Manager said: “These findings really demonstrate the importance of Youth Chances and the need for us to understand directly from young people themselves about the challenges they face. 

“It saddens me that when young people need the most support and understanding, they still face discrimination and fear because of who they are.”

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