Homophobia and discrimination will continue to make life tough for people in the workplace until the UK witnesses a shift in social attitudes, the TUC will warn today.
Addressing the TUC’s annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Conference later today, general secretary Brendan Barber will remind delegates that the past 12 months have seen several important advances that have brought gay equality a step closer.
But Barber will say: “Unfortunately, while the legal framework may have changed beyond recognition, we’ve yet to see a parallel shift in social attitudes. For the most part we appear to live in a largely liberal, tolerant society. But scratch beneath the surface, and homophobia is alive and well.
“It’s a battle we must fight in the workplace as well as in society. And despite the lengths some employers have gone to in promoting diversity and tolerance, and rooting out homophobic bigots, others simply turn a blind eye. [They] actively encourage a workplace culture that makes it difficult for their lesbian and gay staff to be ‘out’ at work for fear of falling victim to the office or the factory bullies.”
Encouraging a change of attitude towards gay people at work is vital if we are to tackle homophobic abuse head on, he will say.
Barber will warn that unions will “keep up the pressure” on employers to raise their game and eradicate intolerance of every kind from all UK workplaces.