Passing the equal marriage legislation doesn’t mean job done as far as changing attitudes is concerned. New polling commissioned by Stonewall Scotland shows that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continue to face discrimination in almost all walks of life.
The report Your Services Your Say shows that LGB&T people in Scotland still expect to face poor treatment from hospitals, police, schools and other local services.
Almost half (48%) of the 1,000 LGB&T people surveyed by YouGov expected they would face discrimination from fostering and adoption agencies when applying to become parents. Sixty-seven per cent of LGB&T people think their child would experience bullying in primary school if it were known that they had LGB&T parents.
These concerns are reflected across other public services, with more than a third (36%) of LGB&T people saying they would not feel confident reporting a hate crime directly to the police and more than one in five (22%) saying they would feel uncomfortable being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity with NHS staff. More than half of LGB&T people think they would be discriminated against in a construction and engineering apprenticeship and eighty per cent stated that they have never been consulted about their needs by local public service providers.
Director of Stonewall Scotland Colin Macfarlane said: ‘This report, the most comprehensive of its kind to be published in Scotland, starkly demonstrates that changing laws doesn’t change attitudes overnight. LGB&T taxpayers contribute millions to the cost of Scotland’s public services. They should be able to have confidence that they’ll receive the services they need when accessing hospitals, schools and policing and this report should provide Scotland’s public services with an insight into the needs of LGB&T people. It is time that their needs, both as citizens and service-users, were properly met.’
This report is also a clear indication that the implementation of the public sector equality duty still has some way to go. In many areas it remains little more than a tick box exercise.