LGBT people and public services

A good practice guide from Stonewall Scotland

Quiz

The following multiple choice quiz is intended to help you understand the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, and covers some of the current equalities legislation and how it relates to LGBT people.

This quiz can be printed and used to raise awareness about LGBT equality issues with your colleagues, for example during LGBT History Month in February or for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (17 May).

Many of the questions draw on research by Stonewall Scotland. A full list of Stonewall publications citing that research can be found in the reading and downloads section later in this resource.


1. According to the government treasury estimate, what percentage of people in the UK identify themselves as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual?

  • 1 per cent
  • 6 per cent
  • 15 per cent

In 2005 HM Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry completed a survey to help the Government analyse the financial implications of the Civil Partnerships Act (such as pensions, inheritance and tax benefits). They concluded that there were 3.6 million gay people in the United Kingdom – around 6 per cent of the total population.

Most of the time, the figure of between 5-7 per cent of the population is used. We feel this is a reasonable estimate; however, as this question has never been asked in the UK census there is no way of knowing for sure how many LGB people there are in the UK. Equality organisations estimate that around 1 per cent of the population identify as trans.

2. What percentage of LGBT people have experienced NHS staff making incorrect assumptions about their sexual orientation or gender identity?

  • 25 per cent
  • 33 per cent
  • 55 per cent

55 per cent of LGBT people have experienced NHS staff making incorrect assumptions about their sexual orientation or gender identity, a figure which is even higher among lesbians (75 per cent) and trans people (60 per cent). This might not feel like a particularly big deal, however, when this happens on a regular basis, it can be very damaging for the relationship between services and LGBT customers. Respondents reported that it happens so frequently that it is difficult to continually challenge it.

“We are lucky to have so many services in this country, especially the NHS, I just wish they would acknowledge my partner as my partner and not as my ‘friend’.” – Jessica (lesbian), 27, Central Scotland

If you would like to find out more about LGBT people's experiences of public services, please see our Your Services Your Say research publication

3. Two women who are in a civil partnership have a baby, using sperm from a known donor. The donor is not named on the birth certificate, but both women are. Who are the legal parents of the child?

  • Just the birth mother
  • The birth mother and the non-birth mother
  • The birth mother and the male donor

The birth mother and the non-birth mother are the legal parents of the child, if the baby was conceived after April 6th 2009. When the birth is registered, if both mothers attend the registration and indicate they are in a civil partnership, both names are added to the birth certificate.

For babies who were conceived before 6th April 2009, only the birth mother can be the legal parent. The non-birth mother will have to apply to adopt the child in this situation.

More information on this area is available in our publication titled Pregnant Pause

4. What is the maximum amount of compensation that can be awarded to a person who has been discriminated against in provision of goods, facilities or services, if the case has gone to the Sheriff court?

  • £200
  • £4000
  • No limit

There is no limit to the amount of compensation that can be awarded in discrimination cases – the amount reflects the loss caused by the discrimination, as well as injury to feelings. The court process, however, becomes more complicated when the amount of compensation sought is over £5000.

For more information about previous discrimination cases, please see the Help and Advice page on the Stonewall Scotland website.

5. What percentage of LGBT people would expect to face discrimination from their GP?

  • One in eight
  • One in ten
  • One in twelve

Stonewall Scotland’s research showed that one in ten LGBT people would expect to face discrimination from their GP. LGBT people who had been to their GP in the last year were also more than four times more likely than the general population to have rated their experience as ‘poor’ or ‘extremely poor’ (nine per cent, compared to two per cent).

“I experienced poor treatment and attitude from a Practice Nurse when having my first, and only, smear test. The nurse believed I did not need a smear test as I was a lesbian, and also remarked that ‘I wanted this’ during the smear test after I stated how rough she was. I chose not to report the nurse, instead I changed GP practice.” – Sophie (lesbian), 34, Mid Scotland and Fife

If you would like to find out more about LGBT people's experiences of public services, please see our Your Services Your Say research publication

6. Can a council-funded library be able to restrict access to books and other materials dealing with LGBT issues and same-sex relationships to people over the age of sixteen?

  • Yes
  • No

As a rule, no; it depends whether similar books and materials dealing with opposite-sex relationships are also restricted to users over sixteen. It is unlawful for a service to discriminate against a service user based on their sexual orientation or because they are trans, so a public service cannot treat treat LGBT service users any better or worse than any other service user.

7. A woman who works at a community centre that often holds support meetings for LGBT people is verbally abused when leaving her place of work one evening. Her abuser shouts derogatory and offensive words referring to the woman being a “tranny”. Can the woman report her abuser to the police as committing a hate crime, even though she doesn’t identify as trans

  • Yes
  • No

Yes. Anyone can experience harassment and abuse based on their sexual orientation or trans identity, or because they are perceived to be LGBT – it is the motivation behind the harassment or abuse that matters. You don’t need to be LGBT to be the victim of a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic hate crime. A woman who is perceived to be a trans and is experiencing harassment because of this is able to report it as a hate incident.

Stonewall Scotland research in 2014 found that one in six LGBT people had experienced a homophobic hate crime in the last three years, and of those people, more than two thirds did not report it to anybody.

To find out more about LGBT people’s experience of community safety, please see our Help and Advice pages.

8. What percentage of LGBT people who have used NHS services don’t think that the NHS provides information that is relevant to their sexual orientation or gender identity?

  • 18 per cent
  • 26 per cent
  • 37 per cent

37 per cent of LGBT people who have used NHS services don’t think that the NHS provides information that is relevant to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Ensuring that patient communications consider the needs of LGBT people, including different families and specific health concerns, is crucial in ensuring that LGBT people feel fully supported and included in their care. A Stonewall Scotland Guide to Inclusive Communications is available.

9. What percentage of trans people would feel uncomfortable being open about their gender identity with NHS staff?

  • 22 per cent
  • 35 per cent
  • 44 per cent

44 per cent of trans people say that they would feel uncomfortable being open about their gender identity with NHS staff. Whilst there are many circumstances where this information may not be directly relevant to a patient’s treatment, it may well impact on their care and it is important that trans people feel confident to disclose information about their trans status to staff, knowing they will treat that information with sensitivity and confidentiality.

If you would like to find out more about LGBT people's experiences of public services, please see our Your Services Your Say research publication

10. Please write, in as much detail as you can, what you understand by the terms “trans” or “transgender”.

“Trans” or “transgender” are used as umbrella terms to describe a wide range of people whose experience of their gender differs in some way from the expectations and assumptions that society makes based on their sex at birth. This includes:

  • People who transition to live permanently in the opposite gender to their sex at birth
  • Non-binary people who do not identify simply as men or as women but instead find that either they are somewhere on a spectrum in-between the two or they don’t have a definable gender. (This is different to being born with an intersex biological sex variation.)
  • People who cross-dress occasionally or more regularly without any wish to transition

This is a vast simplification and there are many trans people who wouldn’t feel that their identity fits within these descriptions. You will hear more about the experiences of trans people in case study six, but for more information about trans identities and how you can support trans staff and services users, please see our Help and Advice pages.

Understanding all your customers and users makes good business sense but it's not just a nice thing to do – there have been vast changes in equalities legislation over the last few years bringing about more protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.

Stonewall Scotland’s Diversity Champions programme can support employers to ensure that they are getting it right for their LGBT staff and service users. More information about the programme is available on our website.

Case studies >