Jocasta Mann for Shelter Scotland writes on LGBT rights and housing.
When LGBT people make up 24% of the homeless population in the UK – and when 19% of ALL trans people in Scotland have been homeless at some point – questions spring to mind. Is there enough discussion about why this is happening? Is there enough support in place for those affected?
If you’re a landlord or agent, it’s illegal to discriminate against someone because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. That means that anyone should feel welcome to view, buy, rent or live in a property.
But this doesn’t seem to be curbing the problem. According to a YouGov poll, 1 in 10 LGBT people were discriminated against while looking for a home to buy or rent in the last year.
“LGBT people constantly have to judge whether it’s safe for them to be open about their identity,” says Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall UK – the charity committed to protecting the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans people all over the country. As Vice Chair of Shelter, Ruth knows only too well the trials faced by LGBT people in housing.
“Housing is a key area where LGBT people face discrimination and risks to their safety,” she continues. “1 in 10 LGBT people have been discriminated against when looking for a home, but this rises to:
- 1 in 4 trans people
- 1 in 4 BAME (Black, Asian & minority ethnic) LGBT people.
If you are living at home and your family are giving every indication that they don’t accept LGBT people, you might feel you either put up or shut up. Leaving home, especially at a young age, sees a devastatingly high proportion of LGBT people become homeless.
But there’s a huge mental health cost to living a life that is not true to your identity.”
“Stonewall Housing provide important housing advice and support for LGBT people. But we need the help of allies to change attitudes across society so that being LGBT doesn’t force someone into bad housing or homelessness.
That’s why Stonewall has launched the Come Out For LGBT campaign: We want everyone – whether you are a housing adviser or a landlord, a housing association or someone looking to fill a room in their flatshare – to show their support LGBT people. It could be as simple as noting on your advert that you welcome and accept LGBT people. And it could be as big as bringing your residents together for a big Equali-Tea to celebrate LGBT life in your community as part of the Stonewall Season.
We all have the power to influence those around us. Please take the time to think about how you will Come Out For LGBT and play your part.
This week we were delighted to have spoken to YouTube vlogger and racing driver Charlie Martin, who shared her thoughts on housing, equality and Stonewall Season. Check out her video:
If you are experiencing discrimination while trying to find a home, or feel scared you might lose your home because of your gender or sexual identity, don’t suffer in silence. Visit Stonewall Housing or browse Shelter Scotland’s advice for information and support.