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conclusions and recommendations   

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openness about sexual identity
civil partnerships
consultation and research

The survey asked nearly one thousand LGBT people across Scotland about a wide range of issues and the circulation of the survey was as wide as possible to encourage a cross-section of people to respond. A number of issues have emerged for consideration and these are detailed below.

openness about sexual identity

Openness about sexual identity with different types of people varied. Respondents were most open with friends and family (although this was often qualified to be some family members, but not others, particularly fathers). People were open with work colleagues and employers as appropriate but some people felt that they could not be open about their sexual identity as this would affect their chances of promotion and how colleagues interacted with them. Openness with banks and GPs was mixed as some felt that the issue had never arisen so they had not considered it, but a small core of people felt inhibited about revealing their sexual identity for fear of prejudice, particularly with regard to life insurance.

Work therefore needs to be done in this area to address any discrimination (real or perceived) with health and financial professionals. Beyond Barriers (UK) , in partnership with Inclusion NHS Scotland (a project working for LGBT health and wellbeing) will be working with local LGBT organisations and individuals to improve access to health services.


The majority of children appeared to be from heterosexual relationships, although some respondents had self/donor inseminated. Female respondents in particular had children who lived with them and the majority of comments around relationships with children were positive. A core of respondents would like to bring up children in the future so children may become more of an issue for these respondents and other LGBT people. This is obviously a sensitive issue.

civil partnerships

Three in five respondents who felt the question was relevant would like to register civil partnerships, particularly female respondents. Given the recent announcement by the Westminster Government to allow the civil registration of same sex partnerships (with the accompanying benefits), the support indicated by respondents shows that a change in legislation would be welcomed.


Whilst over half of respondents felt part of the wider community, a quarter did not. There is obviously some work to be done in encouraging greater understanding, acceptance and integration of LGBT people within the wider community, as this sentiment ran throughout the survey.

58% of respondents considered there to be an LGBT community in Scotland and 42% in their own area. 45% of respondents felt part of the LGBT community and one third of respondents are involved in LGBT groups. Those aged 25 – 49 were less likely to perceive there to be an LGBT community or to feel part of it than other age groups. Those in rural areas were also less likely to feel part of it.

People’s understanding of what the LGBT community was focussed around places to meet and find support with like-minded people, but a minority found it to be exclusive, a ghetto and threatening. This was particularly the case for those respondents who were bisexual or transgender rather than gay or lesbian. Work therefore needs to be done to encourage the LGBT community to be as inclusive as possible.


Access to information was not as bad as anticipated, with 22% to 28% of respondents experiencing problems in this regard. Female and transgender respondents had more problems accessing information than male respondents. They should therefore be targeted more effectively.

The top issues people would like to see on the Beyond Barriers (UK) website were partnership rights, health, LGBT groups, equal opportunity issues, human rights and pubs/clubs. This should therefore be reflected in the site.

Beyond Barriers (UK) has recently published a directory of services and organisations, which is also available online through this website. Results from this study indicate that there is a need for this type of directory, with respondents particularly welcoming an online version.

consultation and research

Partnership rights, discrimination and equality generally were seen to be the main three issues facing LGBT people today and LGBT people would like to have a say on these issues. Respondents were much more active than other members of the community, as voting behaviour shows. Male respondents in particular have been regularly surveyed, particularly on sexual health issues, homophobic crime and drug use and there were some concerns over the effective use of research. Any research should therefore be widely distributed and researchers should work together to avoid duplication and resultant respondent fatigue. More importantly, action should be taken on the findings of research.

Further topics which people would like to see researched are bullying at work/school, discrimination and funding of LGBT projects and organisations.


Two-third of respondents have been verbally abused or threatened by someone who has assumed they are LGBT and a third have experienced this in the last year. A quarter have experienced physical abuse because of their perceived sexual identity and 5% have experienced this in the past year. This has primarily happened in the street and male and transgender respondents have been more likely to have experienced this than females. However, these disturbing statistics are compounded by the under-reporting of these incidents to the Police. Many respondents stated that they did not think that the incidents were serious enough, and that the police would not or could not do anything about it. For those who did complain to the police, only half felt it was handled well. There is therefore work to be done in raising the profile of taking action if abused, and with the police to handle such complaints more effectively. A suggestion made by a focus group contributor was to appoint incident numbers to each complainant, who could then indicate advocates they were willing to have act on their behalf to pursue the complaint.

In view of this, Beyond Barriers (UK) is committed to working with Police forces and other relevant bodies across Scotland to ensure that a national strategy is in place to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have been effected by hate crimes. We would strongly recommend that a co-ordinated system be implemented as a matter of urgency to turn these statistics around and ensure the safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people wherever they may live in Scotland.


15% of respondents had experienced barriers to mainstream healthcare services. The main issues were inappropriate advice or treatment due to uninformed staff and homophobic staff. It is clear that more information and training must be provided to ensure that staff working within mainstream healthcare services are aware of the needs of LGBT people. In view of this, Beyond Barriers (UK) welcomes a new NHS project, Inclusion NHS Scotland, which has been established to work with health boards to improve services for LGBT people.

Click here to download the Conclusions and Recommendations section as a pdf (16 kb)

Click on the titles below to access sections from the first out .

Executive Summary

Introduction to first out

Profile of Respondents - key findings

Community - key findings

Information - key findings

Consultation and Research - key findings

Safety - key findings

Barriers to Healthcare - key findings


If you would like to receive a copy of first out , then please contact Beyond Barriers (UK) . Click here to email the Beyond Barriers (UK) team.

Alternatively, you can download a copy of the report. This make take some time as it is a large file.
Click here to download a copy of first out (pdf 949 kb)

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