Sir Michael is quite right on this. But it’s been the same for private and public sector bodies until very recently. Even when setting up a public sector LGBT group, there were cries of outrage from the Christian Right amongst the staff (and these are people who are supposed to be signed up to the equality mission statement of the Local Authority!)
@ Mike … sad to say it is STILL the same for many public sector bodies. When homophobic harrassment is reported it is often dealt with by the ‘inhouse’ Personnel Department or Human Resources staff …. and these people haven’t the faintest idea of what they are dealing with, often totally fail to recognise that they are dealing with a possible criminal offence – way too often their strongest desire is to sweep it under the carpet.
Oh, of course they’ll put up posters that bullying, etc. are sacking offences and all the rest of it, but they, and Senior Management rarely have the balls to follow through on their own policies.
Of course very often Senior Management dare not follow through because they are too afraid the sacked person will take a case against them and their inadequacies and indiscretions will be under the spotlight.
Sadly I speak from experience [not mine, but a friend's].
I am fully out to my friends and family. I am out at work also (in that everyone knows I’m gay) but I have learned that it is far better to keep my mouth shut about my weekend plans or my social life. Nobody is stupid enough to make comments but if you work in an environment where it is predominantly straight males then it is very unwise to upset the apple cart as you will be the 1st to get targetted when things go wrong. I suppose that’s not that different from female employees working in a male dominated environment.
I recall the late unlamented Freddie Laker saying he could not imagine a gay person succeeding in the aviation industry because it was a man’s world!
Funny thing is that working in finance in London, I’ve never had hostile homophobia directed at me nor even, from what I’ve been told, behind my back. There are so many gays, women, blacks, foreigners and other “minorities” around, that bigots never know who else is bigoted or who might rat on them (or better still, just tell them to shut up to their face). Friends in other industries (such as manufacturing) face far more racism, homophobia, sexism etc.
Ele, I too have not had a problem working in the Police and the local authority (thankfully) but a lot of people do suffer quite badly. Sniggering’ Just the comments were once made in a training session when I mentioned homophobic crime and the trainer, a rather formidable WPC of ample proportions immediatly said ‘ I hope no one has a problem here?! Just the way to tackle purile comments! BUT a friend of mine doing traing for Probation services on sexual health was casticated by a “religious chritian” probation officer for daring to mention the G word and the manager said nothing to support my friend!