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Sexual Orientation: Resources & Support

What is 'Homophobia'?

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. 

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

Our aim is to ensure that everyone regardless of their sexual orientation can thrive during their time at St Mary’s. We have a range of policies, activities, and resources in place to support this aim.

Any student or member of staff who has been affected by discrimination, bullying, harassment, violence, or hate crime is encouraged to visit our Report & Support pages for staff and for students for detailed information about their options.

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. 

The following resources have been curated in relation to Sexual Orientation - a protected characteristic under Equality Act 2010.

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. 


  • Join the student LGBTQ+ Society  
  • Access the St Mary's LGBTQ+ Staff Network Keeping-in-Touch service for students: 
    • You are very welcome to have a confidential chat with a member of the staff network. If they are concerned that you or another person may be at risk, they would need to tell someone -- but even in this situation they will take care not to out you as LGBT. 
  • Seek support from a trained counsellor in our Student Wellbeing Service. 
  • Seek support from a member of our St Mary's Student Union student officer team. 
  • StonewallExternal link  Stonewall is one of the biggest LGBTQ+ charity in Europe, they can help you find LGBT support services and community groups that are local to you. 
  • LGBT Foundation LGBT Foundation is a national charity for LGBT people which provides advice, support and information services to communities.  
  • Galop Galop offers support for LGBT+ people who have become victims of violence and abuse.