A new report released this week has revealed that more than half of black, Asian, and minority ethnic LGBTQ+ people have experienced discrimination from others within their local LGBTQ+ community due to their ethnicity.
The statistics form part of the key findings from the recent LGBT in Britain Home and Communities report, which is published by Stonewall and based on YouGov polling of over 5,000 LGBT people.
Discrimination from within the community is particularly acute for black LGBT people as three in five (61 per cent) people reported having experienced discrimination from other LGBT people.
In testimonials to the LGBT charity, Kasim, 25, said that “walking into gay bars and drag queens making jokes directed at me because I’m black on more than one occasion is pretty unwelcoming,” whilst Dalia, 32, commented that “casual racism is common place in LGBT bars and clubs.” She added that “LGBT community events, unless people of colour specific, are largely white attended and white led. This can feel exclusive. Feelings of being the ‘visible other’ aren’t nice and discourage me from attending events.”
It’s not just in LGBTQ+ spaces that ethnic minorities are discriminated within the community too. Dating apps see many users share racist language and behaviour, such as ‘no blacks, no Asians’, as if it were normal – all of which contributes towards BAME LGBTQ+ people feeling isolated and shut out of their own community.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall UK, said: “This research gives a worrying insight into just how serious a problem prejudice is within our community, and we need to talk about it. Users of dating apps will be familiar with phrases like ‘No blacks, no Asians’ and ‘No chocolate, no curry, no rice, no spice’ becoming the modern-day versions of ‘No blacks, no dogs, no Gypsies’. Both online and in their daily lives, LGBT people of colour are excluded and face stereotyping from their white peers. This leaves BAME LGBT people feeling unwelcome within the wider community.
‘This is unacceptable and it causes damage and mistrust. If real change for BAME LGBT people is to occur, we as a community need to hold a mirror to ourselves and have open conversations about how to change. This means learning to recognise our own privileges and to be active allies to each other. The same is true for Stonewall: we are absolutely aware that we too are on a journey and we have a long way to go. But we are committed to learning and getting it right going forward – both internally within Stonewall, and externally.”
The research also discovered that trans people, disabled people, and those of faith were at significant risk of exclusion from other LGBT people too. More than a third of trans people (36 per cent), one in four (26 per cent) LGBT disabled people whose activities are limited a lot, and one in five LGBT people of non-Christian faith (21 per cent) say they’ve experienced discrimination from within the community.
Meanwhile, acceptance from family and friends was still a huge concern for many LGBT people. Only half of lesbian, gay and bi people (46 per cent) and trans people (47 per cent) feel they can be open about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity to their whole family. A third of bi people (32 per cent) say they cannot be open about their sexual orientation with anyone in their family.
Concluding about how we can move forward together following the key findings from the report, Ruth Hunt added:
To truly work with and for all LGBT communities, we have to be an active part of the solution to many of the issues outlined in this report. Our ‘Come Out For LGBT’ campaign is all about being visible and doing something to stand up for others. This research shows just how much those voices are needed if we are to get to a point where everyone in our community is included as an equal.
It’s only by working together that we can create a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception.
The key findings from the report were revealed just as UK Black Pride unveiled a new advertisement encouraging people to ‘Keep The Noise Up’ and continue fighting for equality. UK Black Pride takes place on the 8th July.