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Sexual Orientation is a protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.   

Sexuality is protected under Equality Act 2010. It is illegal to discriminate against individuals for their sexual orientation. This includes discrimination based on a perception of someone having a particular sexual orientation (discrimination by perception) or discrimination based on someone who is connected to someone else with a particular sexual orientation (discrimination by association).  

Learn more about terms including: Sexual Orientation, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Heterosexual, Homosexual, Intersex, Asexual, Pan, Questioning, and more. 

Homophobia describes the discriminatory attitudes towards gay men and lesbians. The nature of discrimination can be verbal and physically violent.  

Biphobia describes the discriminatory attitudes towards individuals who identifies as bisexual.  

Discrimination of any kind based on sexual orientation is prohibited under Equality Act 2010 and is not tolerated at St Mary's. St Mary's has zero tolerance for homophobia and biphobia in our community. 

Research from organisations like Advance HE and Stonewall have found significant inequalities in the experiences of LGBQ+ staff and students and heterosexual staff and students. For example, Advance HE's research has shown that: 

  • Some LGB+ and/or  trans students may experience higher rates of non-continuation in studies, have specific needs around mental health support, and may face higher rates of harassment. 
  • Some LGB+ staff still perceive their sexual orientation as a barrier to certain training or progression (see for example our Research Insight: experiences of LGB academics). 

St Mary's is committed to working with our LGBTQ+ Staff Network in order to create a safe and inclusive environment for our LGBTQ+ colleagues and students. More information on our LGBTQ+ Staff Network and our Student Union's LGBTQ+ Society can be found in our Further Information and Guidance page linked below. 

Further information, resources, and support