Continuing our series on diversity training, Berkeley Wilde explores the issues in training on gender and sexuality identity.
Wading through the legislation
However, there is still work to be done. Whilst the Civil Partnership Act is a step forward, it is not complete equality, and is different from marriage, treating gay and straight people differently. Successive Home Secretaries have given visas and work permits to reggae singers who incite the murder of gay people. Such incitement is a serious criminal offence. The Equality Bill in the current parliament denies lesbian and gay people protection against harassment. (Tatchell. 2009). The census in 2011 does not include fields relating to sexuality such as “lesbian”, “gay”, “bisexual” or “trans”. In recent research carried out by Minotaur Communications for a local authority the overwhelming majority of respondents, 82%, said they were happy to be asked questions monitoring sexuality, especially if it helps to improve access to services. (Wilde. 2009).
Today in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, as well as in parts of Nigeria and Somalia same-sex couples are punished with the death penalty. An additional 72 countries throughout the world punish same-sex couples with imprisonment. In many countries throughout the world I could be writing this article from prison, or indeed in fear for my life, simply for being in a relationship with another man.
Mind your language
- Homophobia: Results in lesbian, gay and bisexual people experiencing hatred, discrimination or inequality.
- Heterosexism: The belief that heterosexuality is the only “natural” and “normal” expression of sexuality, and it is inherently superior (and healthier) to other types of sexuality.