Homophobia still exists in workplace - Rainbow Project report finds

More than a quarter of gay, lesbian and bi-sexual people working in the private sector across the North conceal their sexual orientation in the workplace, according to a new report.

Launched by the Derry-based Rainbow Project, the research is entitled ‘Through Our Eyes - Experiences of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People in the Workplace.’

The report also found that one in three Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual (LGB) people working in the public sector believe their sexual orientation will have a negative impact on their chances of progressing in work.

38.1% of respondents from the community, voluntary and non-governmental sector said the organisation they work for does not have an anti-bullying procedure or policy or that they are unsure if there is one.

Derry man John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project, said: ‘This report provides the evidence base for what it is like for LGB people in work in Northern Ireland.

“It also provides the business case for acting to make the situation better. Government, employers and The Rainbow Project have considerable work to do in that regard.

‘I would urge our political representatives to read the report and commit to working together to implementing the recommendations.”

The report was commissioned by the Department for Social Development and will be launched later by the Minister for Social Development, Alex Attwood MLA.

Alex Attwood said: “The Rainbow Project report is an important piece of research. It is the first in depth study of the experiences and perceptions of LGB people in the workplace in Northern Ireland.

“This report will represent a baseline of understanding from which we can build.

“My Department is committed to the progression of a shared future for all in Northern Ireland.

“I commissioned the Rainbow Project to carry out this research as part of this process.”

“Not only does the report paint a picture of what working life is like for LGB people in Northern Ireland, it also recommends some measures that employers and government can take to ensure that equality and diversity is delivered here.”

Copies of the report are available at http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/through-our-eyes.pdf