Toggle high contrast

Sexual harassment of LGBT people in the workplace

Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
- BME LGBT people’s experiences

Our findings also showed that LGBT people’s experience of sexual harassment and assault at work varied significantly depending on the respondent’s ethnicity.

  • More than half of lesbian, bisexual and trans BME women 18 (54 per cent*) who responded to our survey reported unwanted touching compared to around one third of white women (31 per cent*).
  • BME women were more than twice as likely to report being sexually assaulted at work (45 per cent* BME, 18 per cent* white) and almost three times more likely to experience serious sexual assault or rape (27 per cent* BME, nine per cent* white).
 
  • 18. Forty-nine BME women responded to the survey. This is considered to be on the threshold of the minimum number of responses required for results of a sub-group to be considered robust and reliable enough to allow for analysis.
Figure 5
Figure 5: BME women's experiences

A number of Black feminist academics and activists have highlighted the specific oppression faced by BME women and the fact that Black women have experienced sexual violence differently than white women. This includes the ‘othering’ and eroticising of BME women’s bodies and sexuality.19

In most areas BME gay, bisexual and trans men reported the same rates of sexual harassment as white men. In two areas BME men experienced higher rates of harassment than white men.20

  • Four in ten gay, bisexual and trans BME men who responded to our survey reported unwelcome verbal sexual advances compared to just over two in ten (23 per cent) GBT white men.
  • 27 per cent of gay, bisexual and trans BME men reported being exposed to displays of pornographic photographs or drawings in the workplace compared to 15 per cent of GBT white men.
 
  • 19.  TUC (2016) Still Just a Bit of Banter? Sexual Harassment in the workplace
  • 20. Fifty-one BME men responded to the survey. This is considered to be on the threshold of the minimum number of responses required for results of a sub-group to be considered robust and reliable enough to allow for analysis.
Figure 6
Figure 6: BME men's experiences

Although the research found statistically similar rates of workplace sexual harassment of BME gay, bisexual and trans men, and their white counterparts, it is likely the way sexual harassment is expressed differs depending on race, as highlighted by a number of Black academics and activists. Given the lack of qualitative information gathered which raised these issues, this report is unable to distinguish these differences.