With the political landscape as fraught and depressing as it is, it’d be great to hear some optimistic news from across the pond. Unfortunately, today is not that day. The UK government released the findings today from a survey of more than 100,000 LGBTQ participants, and the conclusions were unsettling.
The study revealed that queer people are still afraid to hold hands in public. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed confirmed that they have avoided holding hands with their significant other in public, so as to avoid any sort of negative confrontation.
What’s worse, people aren’t totally out yet either. 70 percent of the queer people surveyed said they avoided being open about their sexuality to avoid confrontation, too. To break it down even further, 59 percent of trans women, 56 percent of trans men, and 76 percent of non-binary people said they have avoided expressing their gender identity for the same reason.
Because of these alarming realities, LGBTQ participants were generally “less satisfied with their life” than cishet-identifying participants, answering with a 6.5/10 satisfaction rating, as compared to a 7.7 ranking from their non-LGBTQ counterparts.
Luckily, the news also broke today that the UK would be banning gay conversion therapy (something the United States has yet to do). However, at the time of the survey, five percent of respondents answered that they had been offered such “therapy,” while 2 percent confirmed that they had undergone it.
Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equalities, expressed her concern over the government’s findings. “Everyone in this country should feel safe and happy to be who they are, and to love who they love, without judgment or fear,” she insisted. “I am incredibly proud of the UK’s global leadership on LGBT equality and the fact that this is the largest survey of its kind, but many of the results are very disturbing.”
She added, “It’s unacceptable that people feel they cannot hold hands with their partner in public, and that they are unable to walk down the street without fear of abuse. It is also deeply worrying that LGBTQ people experience difficulty accessing public services such as healthcare and that so many are being offered the abhorrent practise of conversion therapy. This Government has done much to promote a diverse, tolerant society and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – but it is clear we have more to do.”
Luckily, the results of the survey engendered positive change in the UK government. Mordaunt launched the action plan today to put a stop to “gay cure” therapy.
Finally, negative results bringing about positive change—what a concept! Take note, America.