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Stonewall Scotland reveals coming out at work still a problem

  • One in six (16 per cent) LGBT staff in Scotland have experienced negative comments or conduct from colleagues in the last year

  • Two in five (40 per cent) trans employees have experienced negative comments or conduct from customers or clients

  • A third of bi people (34 per cent) aren’t out to anyone at work

New research from Stonewall Scotland, one of Scotland’s largest organisations for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, reveals troubling reports of negative conduct and discrimination in Scotland’s workplaces.

The report, based on YouGov research of 799 LGBT employees across Scotland, found that an astonishing 36 per cent of LGBT people at work have hidden their identity because they were afraid of discrimination; a figure that rises to over half of trans people (58 per cent).

Workplace bullying continues to be a serious problem for LGBT people. One in six (16 per cent) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the last year because they are LGBT.

Trans staff tend to experience higher levels of negative comments or conduct, with two in five experiencing it from colleagues (39 per cent). 6 per cent have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in the last year because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Stonewall Scotland is calling for employers to develop zero-tolerance policies on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and harassment, alongside communicating clear routes to report anti-LGBT bullying. 

The charity is also calling for employers to take an active role in supporting trans staff by running awareness sessions for all employees on trans inclusion and developing a transitioning at work policy.

Colin Macfarlane, Director, Stonewall Scotland said: 

'Over the last few years employers across Scotland have shown real commitment to their LGBT staff by taking action to become more LGBT inclusive workplaces.  However, our Work Report shows not every LGBT person feels supported by their employer. The fact that two in five trans staff have faced negative comments or conduct from customers or clients shows just how much still needs to change. 

‘Organisations who can ‘get it right’ reap the benefits of happy staff who will perform better. It’s been proven that diversity among staff leads to a more productive, positive and creative workplace environment.  We need more organisations and businesses to ‘come out’ for LGBT equality and show their commitment to their LGBT staff and colleagues.

‘We’re proud to work with employers all across Scotland through our Diversity Champions programme to build a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff feel equal at work.’ 


‘While serving a customer at work I corrected them on pronouns and they laughed in my face and asked me if I had a penis and told me I was wrong. My supervisor witnessed the whole thing and told me not to be so dramatic about it.’ - Ross, 23

“I work in a shop that sells beauty products and I have been yelled at from outside the store, being called “gay or faggot”. One guy walked past the store and laughed and called me gay. Nothing physical but it did make me feel unsafe.” - Jacob, 22

“My colleagues often go to the pub after work and I never seem to be invited along. I think some of them are embarrassed in case we meet their friends and they get a negative reaction.” - Harry, 45 

Download full LGBT in Scotland - Work Report