Double Discrimination: Racism Is Rife In The LGBT Community, Leading Campaign Group Finds

'This is unacceptable and it causes damage and mistrust.'
Half of BAME LGBT people said they've faced discrimination or poor treatment from the wider LGBT community
Half of BAME LGBT people said they've faced discrimination or poor treatment from the wider LGBT community
fizkes via Getty Images

New research has revealed the shocking depth of racism within the LGBT community.

Half of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) LGBT people (51%) said they’ve faced discrimination or poor treatment from the wider LGBT community.

The situation is particularly acute for black LGBT people, three in five of whom have experienced discrimination from other LGBT people, according to a Stonewall study.

The research, based on YouGov polling of more than 5,000 people, exposes the extent to which BAME LGBT people face prejudice based on both their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and their race; a phenomenon also known as ‘double discrimination’.

The abuse reported included feeling excluded from LGBT specific spaces and racist language and behaviour, leaving already marginalised individuals feeling shut out and isolated.

Sanjay Sood-Smith, director of empowerment programmes at Stonewall, told HuffPost UK he was familiar with racist and derogatory language in the world of online dating, including phrases such as ‘No blacks, no Asians’ and ‘No chocolate, no curry, no rice, no spice’ becoming the modern-day versions of ‘No blacks, no dogs, no Gypsies.’

He said: “When I’ve been dating I have noticed profiles using such language and come across people who will proactively block people from BAME communities, it’s something that’s very, very prevalent.

“As a mixed raced, gay man I have experienced racism both within the LGBT community and out of it. And I’ve experienced homophobia on the outside. You might think that people in the LGBT community might have a bit more understanding and that discrimination might not be so prevalent but that’s not the case.

“There is a significant lack of visible BAME LGBT role models in the mainstream media and as a result the identities of young people who identify in that way can be invalidated.”

‘Remember that it’s not just white cis abled people who are LGBT+. I am an Arab, ex Muslim, autistic, mentally ill, poor brown girl who is also bi. No LGBT+ supports me or accommodates, I am invisible to you.’ Asha, 21 (North West)

Stonewall UK’s chief executive Ruth Hunt said: “This research gives a worrying insight into just how serious a problem prejudice is within our community, and we need to talk about it.

“Both online and in their daily lives, LGBT people of colour are excluded and face stereotyping from their white peers. This leaves BAME LGBT people feeling unwelcome within the wider community.

“This is unacceptable and it causes damage and mistrust. If real change for BAME LGBT people is to occur, we as a community need to hold a mirror to ourselves and have open conversations about how to change. This means learning to recognise our own privileges and to be active allies to each other.”

The group has launched a Come Out For LGBT campaign to encourage members of the LGBT and wider communities to stand up for those facing prejudice.

“This research shows just how much those voices are needed if we are to get to a point where everyone in our community is included as an equal,” Hunt added.

The report also investigates the experiences of different groups of LGBT people at home, in LGBT communities and their faith communities.

Acceptance from family and friends was found to still be a problem for many, with just under half of lesbian, gay and bi people (46 per cent) and trans people (47 per cent) feeling able to be open about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity to their whole family.

A third of bisexual people (32 per cent) say they cannot be open about their sexual orientation with anyone in their family.

The research also found that trans and disabled people and those of faith were at significant risk of exclusion from other LGBT people.

More than a third of trans people (36 per cent), one in four (26 per cent) of disabled people whose activities are limited a lot, and one in five LGBT people of non-Christian faith (21 per cent) said they’ve experienced discrimination from within the community.


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