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Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Homophobia – Stonewall report says it's still out there, but with no mention of religion

The gay-rights lobby group Stonewall says gay people still fear widespread discrimination. Yet there's no mention in its latest report of religion.

The report, carried out for the organisation by YouGov, says that 90 per cent of gay people expect barriers to becoming a foster parent, a quarter expect to be treated worse by police if they're victims of hate crimes and nearly a fifth are still bullied at work.

Despite recent legislative changes such as the age of consent and the right to form civil partnerships,

a majority still believe they will be discriminated against when accessing public services. Almost a third expect to be treated worse than a heterosexual when enrolling their child in primary or secondary school. Nine in ten think they would face barriers from becoming a foster parent. Three in five still think they'd face barriers if they wanted to be a parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party, a figure that rises to 90 per cent for the Conservatives.

The full report can be downloaded as a PDF. You'll need Adobe Reader to be able to read it, but you can download it free here.

Conspicuous by its absence is mention of how badly gay people are treated by religious bodies, especially the evangelical Christian right, Catholicism and Islam.

Among the report findings are that:
  • One in five expects worse treatment when applying for social housing.
  • Sixty per cent expect to face barriers to becoming a magistrate.
  • A fifth expect to be treated worse than a heterosexual when reporting any crime to the police, and a third think they would be treated worse by police if suspected of committing a crime, a figure that rises to 41 per cent in London.
  • Nearly a quarter think they would be treated worse if they appeared before a judge for committing a criminal offence.
The report is called Serves You Right, and also makes a range of recommendations offering simple ways of improving public service delivery for lesbian and gay people. But of course there are no recommendations about how to improve one's lot if one is discriminated against by the church, the mosque or the synagogue, whether as a believer wanting to be part of that religious "family" or as someone who, as so often happens, is harshly criticised by these organisations merely for being of a particular sexual orientation.

Were Stonewall afraid to ask these questions?

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