A new poll commissioned by METRO suggests that despite huge strides towards equality in recent times, young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are still not able to be completely open about their sexuality and identity without fear of negative reactions and 65% of the population have witnessed or are aware of discrimination and abuse of LGBT people.
The same poll also shows that whilst awareness of discrimination against LGBT people is high, 72% of the population support the need for more and improved services for young LGBT people.
The poll of over 1,000 people of all ages across Great Britain conducted by Populus finds that:
- 76% of people believe that young LGBT people experience negative reactions when they are open about their identity at school
- The same proportion (76%) believe that young LGBT people experience negative reactions in the street when they are open about their identity and worryingly this figure rises to 84% of 18-24 year olds
- 66% believe that young LGBT people experience negative reactions when they are open about their identity at work
- Nearly 60% believe that young LGBT people experience negative reactions from their parents when they are open about their identity
These findings are perhaps not surprising when set alongside other findings from the poll about discrimination and abuse of LGBT people with one in 10 people being aware of or having witnessed physical abuse of LGBT people and a third having witnessed or been aware of verbal abuse of LGBT people - rising to half of all 18-24 year olds. The poll also confirms that the use of the term 'gay' in the negative is widespread.
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. Youth Chances is the biggest ever social research and influencing project of its kind, aiming to find out direct from young people about their experiences of education, employment, health, community and relationships. Youth Chances is also engaging service providers, service commissioners, policymakers to make a commitment to make improvements for LGBTQ young people.
Dr Greg Ussher, Deputy CEO of Metro said:
Metro's expertise in working with young LGBTQ people over nearly 30 years was the catalyst for Youth Chances. There have been major steps forward in LGBT equality and in understanding the needs of young people, but as the findings of this poll show 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. I want to encourage as many young people as possible to take part in the Youth Chances online survey so that their experiences can be counted. There is clear support in the general population for more and better support for young LGBT people and I am committed to ensuring that Youth Chances results in recommendations for change and a real difference to young people's lives
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1. Youth Chances is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and is led by Metro in partnership with the University of Greenwich and Ergo Consulting. It is a five year social research project working directly with individuals, providers and commissioners to influence service provision and policy for 16-25 year old LGBTQ youth. www.youthchances.org
2. Populus interviewed a random sample of 1029 GB adults aged 18+ from its online panel between 4th -7th May 2012. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at http://www.populus.co.uk/
3. It is estimated that there are approximately 6.7 million 16-25 year olds in England. Information about sexuality and gender identity is not routinely collected. Current estimates of how many 16-25 year olds identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual in England range between 2.1% or approx.142k (source: Office for National Statistics) and 7% or approx. 472k, (source: Equality & Human Rights Commission). There is no data on transgender young people.
4. Metro is a health, community and youth services provider. We conduct research, challenge discrimination and promote equality. We work across London and the South East with national and international projects and partnerships. The charity is based in Greenwich and has offices in Vauxhall, Woolwich and very recently, Rochester. Metro's Youth Service provides free and confidential services to young LGBT&Q people in South East London including groups, counselling and an alcohol service, anti-bullying work in schools and training to professionals working with young LGBT&Q people. www.metrocentreonline.org
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