Researchers at the University of Surrey and King’s College London looked at how often lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experience discrimination, harassment and violence. Using responses from the LGBT survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, they compared the results of more than 28,000 people who identify as LGBT in Germany, Portugal and the UK.
The study is rare in comparing the experiences of LGBT communities in different countries and shows that the experiences of LGBT individuals differ depending on where they live. It also presents considerable differences within each country, drawing attention to the diverse experiences within LGBT communities, which are often treated as a homogeneous group.
The study, published by the journal Current sociology, found that some groups were less likely to report discrimination in all three countries. Bisexual cisgender men were the least likely to experience discrimination, but cisgender gay men and bisexual women were less likely to feel discriminated against than cisgender lesbians. Trans people in Germany and the UK were the groups most likely to experience discrimination.
However, the groups most likely to experience violence were different. Cisgender gay men were more likely to be abused than lesbians in all three countries. There was a gender trend that put cisgender gay and bisexual men at greater risk of violence than cisgender lesbian and bisexual women. Trans people were the most likely to experience violent attacks or to be threatened with violence in Germany and the UK. Overall, LGBT people in the UK were the most likely to be victims of violent incidents, with almost a third (31%) of respondents reporting being victims.
Other factors also influence the likelihood of experiencing discrimination, harassment and violence. The likelihood of discrimination decreased with age in all three countries, while having a partner was associated with an increased experience of discrimination in Germany and the United Kingdom. LGBT people from ethnic minorities seemed less likely to experience discrimination in Germany and the UK, while religious minority status was linked to a higher likelihood of discrimination in all of the countries studied.
The study found that having greater socio-economic resources, such as higher family income, education or employment, reduced the likelihood of experiencing violence in all countries. This suggests that the risk of unfair treatment was linked to low socioeconomic status.
Professor Andrew King, Head of the Sociology Department at the University of Surrey and responsible for the project, said:
“In addition to causing stress, anxiety and physical harm, discrimination, harassment and violence shape the lives of and disadvantage LGBT people, which is why understanding the scale of the problem is crucial. By studying these issues from an intersectional and comparative perspective and examining the likely experiences of different groups within the groups, we begin to get a clearer picture of the lives of individuals and can better understand diversity.
Note to editors
The research, titled “LGBT Discrimination, Harassment and Violence in Germany, Portugal and the UK: A Comparative Quantitative Approach”, is published in Current sociology, the official journal of the International Sociological Association. It was supported by NORFACE (New Opportunities for the Cooperation of Research Funding Agencies in Europe) as part of a grant from the CILIA-LGBTQI + project: Comparing intersectional life course inequalities among LGBTQI + citizens in four countries Europeans. Further results of the project are available online.
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LGBT discrimination, harassment and violence in Germany, Portugal and the UK: a quantitative comparative approach
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