Gay people deterred from teaching due to homophobia

Jessica Geen October 14, 2009
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Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are choosing not to enter professions such as teaching for fear of homophobia, research has found.

According to a study commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), only 51 per cent of lesbians, 52 per cent of gay men, 44 per cent of bisexual women and 10 per cent of bisexual men felt they could be open about their sexuality in schools, colleges or universities.

In higher education, 33 per cent of LGB staff reported negativity about their sexual orientation from colleagues. Eighteen per cent said that students were negative about their sexual orientation.

Respondents said that teaching and working with children was negatively associated with public debate about the teaching of gay issues in schools and parents’ reactions to their children being taught by an LGB person.

Other professions which gay and bisexual people were reluctant to enter included the police services, the armed forces and manual trades.

The reasons cited for this were perceptions of homophobia, working culture and organisational policies.

Gay men were the most likely to feel they could not work in some professions, with 40 per cent agreeing with this. A third (32 per cent) of lesbians felt the same way, as did 13 per cent of bisexual men and one in ten biexual women.

The data was collected for the EHRC’s Beyond Tolerance report, which looks at the experiences of LGB people in the public sphere, such as in the workplace, in healthcare and in education.

It recommends that monitoring sexual orientation should be done in the same way that race and gender and routinely monitored in surveys and administrative data.

Sexual orientation and religion was cited as an area of debate that need developing, while the commission also pledged to ensure smoother workings between voluntary gay organisations and public bodies.

To read the full report as a PDF, click here

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