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More than two-thirds of LGBT people avoid holding hands in public out of fear, reveals survey

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Tuesday, 3rd July 2018

More than two-thirds of LGBT people avoid holding hands in public out of fear, reveals survey

A government survey gathering information about the experiences of LGBT people in the UK has revealed some shocking statistics.

The report found that LGBT respondents feel less satisfied with their life than the general UK population, scoring on average 6.5 out of 10, compared with 7.7.

Further to this, the survey found that more than two-thirds of LGBT respondents said that they had avoided holding hands with a same-sex partner, out of a fear of a negative reaction from others.

LGBT+ charity Stonewall say that the results of the survey do not paint a pretty picture, but that for anyone who is LGBT, 'these results will be sadly recognisable'.

The survey of more than 100,000 people was commissioned by Penny Mordaunt, the minister for women and equalities.

In response, the government have now revealed a £4.5 million, 75-point action plan to tackle issues and improve the lives of LGBT people.

The survey also revealed that conversion therapy is still happening, with 5% of respondents saying they had been offered a 'cure' – the government's action plan, however, will ban these controversial 'gay conversion therapies'.

Carried out between July and October of 2017, 61% of survey respondents identified as gay or lesbian, with a quarter identifying as bisexual, and 13% as transgender.

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: 'It’s a sad fact that holding hands in public isn’t something same-sex couples do with the ease that carefree love encourages. 

'It's an act that's fraught, it's uncomfortable – the thoughts of 'are we safe' overwhelm the moment.

'That sense of safety is not something legislation can achieve. That's for all of us to work towards.'

The charity has particularly welcomed the government's commitment to appointing an LGBT health adviser to improve access to vital services. Previous Stonewall research had found that one in ten health and care staff had witnessed colleagues express the belief that someone could be 'cured' of same-sex attraction.

She finishes: 'This survey is important because the reality of this needs to be revealed. We're pleased the government has not only asked, but listened.

'Today's news is an important first step but we must see action that leads to tangible change.'