Attitudes against Disabled Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people

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2013 National Disabled Members' Conference
7 June 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that despite the success of the 2012 Paralympics, attitudes towards disabled people have deteriorated in the current economic climate and this is exacerbated by the current Government.

This government provides misinformation about disabled people and their benefit entitlements. This 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 is on the increase. 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:

i)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

ii)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 the fuelling of hostility was negative media coverage about benefits recipients (84%).

Responding to “what would have a positive effect?”:

i)More disabled people in the media (87%)

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

iii)More disabled politicians (79%)

In a recent report “Fighting Back” commissioned by the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the findings were similar:

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

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

iii)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 Disabled Members’ Committee to:

1)Raise awareness of discrimination and stigma faced by disabled people, including disabled LGBT people, and dispel the myths.

2)Work with appropriate disability groups and campaigns on appropriate issues.

3)Include specific recruitment initiatives within their work programme focusing on the recruitment and organising of more disabled LGBT people and activists.

4)Work with the National LGBT Committee to ensure that disabled LGBT people are represented across the union and that materials and publications positively portray disabled LGBT people.

5)Work with the Police and Justice Service group to campaign for specialist and highly trained hate crime victim support units.