Current Affairs

More students are living in fear of homophobic hate crimes, polling reveals

Nick Duffy October 21, 2016
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The proportion of LGBT students living in fear of hate crimes has risen in the past year, polling has shown.

YouGov polling published ahead of this Saturday’s LGBT Leaders Conference in London revealed that there has been a sharp rise in concern about sexuality-related hate crimes over the past 12 months.

The figures show that more than one third (37%) of LGBT university students are worried about hate crime as a result of their sexual orientation – nearly a two-fold increase from 2015, when the figure on last year’s figure of 19%.

Nearly one quarter (23%) of LGBT students are also worried about workplace discrimination as a result of their sexual orientation, up from 11%.

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Sarah Champion MP, linked the poll to other reports suggesting a rise in hate crimes following the EU referendum earlier this year.

She said: “The increase in hate crime since the Brexit vote is truly frightening and needs to be challenged head on; nobody should ever have to live in fear of violence or intimidation.

“Labour has a proud tradition of fighting inequality and standing up for marginalised communities and we will continue to build on our commitment to this.

“We all need to take responsibility to challenge hate and discrimination and particularly support LGBT young people as they enter the work place.

I’m really grateful to LGBT Leaders for commissioning this important survey, which will inform my work as Shadow Secretary of State, and I look forward to working closely with them to challenge prejudice in all its forms.”

Cai Wilshaw, Founder of LGBT Leaders said: “In a year when the LGBT community has been under threat, this is yet another worrying indicator that students feel afraid to be their authentic selves not only in the workplace, but also going about their daily lives.

“The LGBT Leaders Conference seeks to dispel this fear, and give future graduates the confidence to be out and proud at work.

“These figures just go to show that there has never been a more important time to champion LGBT rights for young people across the country.”

The survey was commissioned by Emerald Life, the UK’s dedicated insurance provider to the LGBT community, on behalf of LGBT Leaders.

It also revealed that LGBT university students are more likely to fear discrimination in the workplace than any other LGBT group in the UK.

Emerald Life Chairman Steve Wardlaw saod: University students are the future of every industry in the country. We need those individuals to know they will be accepted in to the workplace, and that their individual careers will evolve and progress year on year, free from discrimination. At Emerald, we are committed to supporting young LGBT people as they set out to achieve their full potential in life.”

The third annual LGBT Leaders Conference is set to be held on Saturday, at the Clifford Chance headquarters in Canary Wharf.

The conference, open to LGBT students from across the country, was founded in response to the worrying proportion of LGBT students who go back into the closet when they enter the workplace.

This weekend’s conference will host speakers including the Chief Executive of Shaftesbury plc, Brian Bickell, the Chief Executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, Ian Green, and the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Nia Griffith.

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