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Sexual orientation

Within the Act, sexual orientation is defined as sexual orientation towards persons of the same sex, persons of the opposite sex or persons of either sex.

Sexual orientation is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. Within the Act, sexual orientation is defined as sexual orientation towards persons of the same sex, persons of the opposite sex or persons of either sex. This means the Act applies equally to discrimination and harassment of heterosexual, gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

There is no agreed figure of the numbers of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals in the UK because of the lack of national surveys. The government uses a figure of between 1.7 to 1.9 % gained from a survey conducted by the Office of National Statistics in 2013. However, the general view is that a figure of 8-10% of the population is more reasonable.

In a recent UK study involving over 90,000 employees from across different sectors, just over 16,000 participants identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Feedback highlighted that 34% of gay men were most likely to be out to all colleagues, managers and customers or clients compared to 24% of lesbians and 15% of bisexuals. Bisexual men were slightly more comfortable in being out 18% than bisexual women( 15%).

A global report cited that 32% of all respondents strongly agreed that they feel their work colleagues treated them with respect as a productive and valuable member of the team. As a result it is estimated that 10% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees have stayed in their current job, thus saving the UK economy $1.02 billion USD. 

Leadership is a powerful influence in creating and sustaining an inclusive workplace culture for all. Half of executives surveyed (Pride and Prejudice: Attitudes and opinions toward LGB inclusion in the workplace, 2016) felt that business has a responsibility to drive change around lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) diversity and inclusion.