Attitudes against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Disabled (LGBT) Disabled People

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2012 National LGBT Conference
21 September 2012


Conference notes that attitudes towards disabled people have worsened in the current economic climate and have been exacerbated by the Government.

The government provides misinformation about disabled people and benefits which has led to a hate campaign by tabloid press and the scapegoating of disabled people. Labelled as ‘scroungers’ one tabloid newspaper stated:

‘They cannot be bothered to find a job or they claim to be sick when they are perfectly capable of work because they prefer to sit at home watching widescreen TVs – paid for by you.’

At the same time, police figures show disability hate crime has increased. A total of 1,942 disability hate crimes were recorded by police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2011, up by 14 per cent on 2010 and doubling since the start of the financial crisis in 2008.

ComRes carried out a poll between November 2011 and January 2012 for Scope finding:

• 46% of disabled people feel attitudes towards them have worsened in the last year. 13% feeling that they have improved. 40% believing that they have remained the same

• 76% of disabled people have experienced people refusing to make adjustments or do things differently; 73% experienced the assumption that they don’t work and 64% of disabled people have experienced aggression, hostility or name calling.

One reason given for fuelling of this hostility was negative media coverage about benefits recipients (84%)

On responding to ‘what would have a positive effect?’:

• More disabled people in the media (87%)

• Greater public discussion of the issues facing disabled people (84%)

• More disabled politicians (79%)

In a recent report ‘Fighting Back’ commissioned by the MS Society, the findings were similar:

• One in five (21%) British adults surveyed think disabled people need to accept they can’t have the same opportunities in life

• More than one in four (26%) Britons think bars and nightclubs are not places for wheelchair users

• One in four (24%) Britons believe disabled people often exaggerate the extent of their physical limitations

Conference welcomes disability and LGBT equality campaigns that have reached out to trade unions to work on common goals such as protecting public services and the rights of disabled and LGBT people in the workplace. One example is the Hardest Hit coalition where trade unions, campaigners and charities have come together to organise conferences, rallies, protests and written reports about the effects of government policy.

Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to:

1)work with the National Disabled Members Committee to Raise awareness of discrimination and stigma faced by disabled people and dispel the myths

2)work with appropriate disability groups and campaigns on appropriate issues

3)consider holding a workshop at 2013 conference on disability issues

4)include specific recruitment initiatives within their work programme focusing on the recruitment and organising of more disabled LGBT people.