The Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London has welcomed a report into perceived homophobia in British society.
The Stonewall report is based on responses to a YouGov poll of more than 1,600 gay, lesbian and bisexual people across Britain.
It found that respondents thought they would get worse treatment on the grounds of their sexuality in employment, political representation, housing, health, education, the police and the criminal justice system.
47% of those polled think they would face barriers from the Lib Dem party if they wanted to be selected to run for Parliament.
61% said the same about Labour and 89% about the Conservatives.
Of those respondents who are party supporters, 71% of Conservatives, 46% of Labour and 28% of Lib Dems thought they would face barriers if they wanted to stand for Parliament.
“This report is all about perception and that is what political parties have to address,” Mr Paddick told PinkNews.co.uk.
As a former Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner and out gay man, he did not face prejudice when considering running for office.
“Far from experiencing barriers they encouraged me to stand.
“That is my personal experience and I think that my candidacy will help change people’s perception of the Liberal Democrats.”
Among the Stonewall report’s key findings:
9 in 10 lesbian and gay people feel they would face discrimination if they wanted to become a foster parent and 8 in 10 think their sexuality would be a barrier to becoming a school governor.
One fifth of respondents think they would be treated worse by police than a straight person if they reported a crime.
One in five think they would be treated worse by a magistrate if they were to appear before one because they are gay.
60% of gay men and 50% of lesbians think they would be treated worse by prison officers if it was known they were gay.
One fifth of gay people have experienced homophobic bulling at work.
“I wouldn’t place too much weight on the percentages and what they mean but instinctively it feels right to me as a gay man that lesbian and gay people should feel that they are not getting a fair deal,” said Mr Paddick.
“There is a great deal of difference between changing the law and changing people’s experience.”
Five candidates for Mayor of London have confirmed they will attend a hustings organised by gay equality organisation Stonewall.
Incumbent Mayor and Labour candidate Ken Livingstone, Conservative Boris Johnson, Mr Paddick, the Green party’s Sian Berry and Respect – The Left list candidate Lindsey German will all speak and answer questions at the event at BFI Southbank on Saturday 19th April.
PinkNews.co.uk is proud to be Stonewall’s media partner for the hustings, which will be held at the between 11am and 12.30pm.
The event is open to everyone, but in order to ensure a seat you must register here.
Full list of candidates for Mayor of London:
British National Party
UK Independence Party
Christian Peoples Alliance and Christian Party
The Left List
The Stonewall hustings will be the last before Londoners go to the polls on May 1st.
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