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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 October 2003, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Gays 'forced to quit jobs'
Gay couple (generic)
The Stonewall survey points to anti-gay discrimination in Wales
A quarter of gay people in Wales have been forced to leave their jobs because of their sexuality, according to a new survey.

The first survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Wales, by campaign group Stonewall Cymru with Cardiff University, also found that more than a third said they had been the victim of physical violence or bullying.

The figure of 25% claiming they have had to leave their jobs due to discrimination is double the UK average and Stonewall Cymru has called on the Welsh assembly to fund a "homophobic hate crime officer" for Wales.

Welsh Social Justice Minister Edwina Hart is launched the survey, Counted Out, at the assembly on Tuesday.

We've experienced constant and extreme abuse
Survey respondent

"It is shocking that 25% of respondents reported having been dismissed from their jobs because of their sexuality, while many more face daily harassment." she said. The survey, carried out by Stonewall Cymru with Cardiff University, involved interviews with 364 lesbian, gay and bisexual people across Wales.

The key findings of the Counted Out report include:

  • More than one in three respondents reported being the victim of physical violence or bullying.
  • More than half of those aged 18-25 had been physically assaulted or bullied.
  • According to the survey, a quarter of respondents reported "having been dismissed" from a job because of their sexuality.

    Derek Walker, of Stonewall Cymru, told BBC Radio Wales: "Lesbian and gay people are notoriously difficult to survey because of the discrimination found by those who come out, so we were pleased with the 364 who responded to the survey.

    "We went to the Cardiff Mardi Gras in 2002, we went to community groups across Wales and we surveyed people in our annual conference - so those people are already out in the community.

    Homophobic bullying

    "People are finding it difficult to be out in today's Wales - we are finding it difficult to hear from them but the findings are still important.

    "We think they flag up important issues to do with community safety, discrimination in the workplace and the situation in schools."

    The survey found examples of homophobic bullying in schools and the workplace.

    One anonymous quote said: "At school and college other students threw stones and spat at me and some other girls who were lesbians."

    Another respondent said: "I currently live in my parents' home town.

    "We've experienced constant and extreme abuse. Eggs, mud and water balloons thrown at the house, names and obscene comments being shouted at us in the street."

    Stonewall Cymru said a homophobic hate crime officer could provide support and advice to police forces and local community safety partnerships.

    Mr Walker added: "In the job I do, I hear these stories every day of the week and it's very depressing that it still goes on.

    "But on the positive side I think things are getting better.

    "Fewer and fewer people are experiencing discrimination and we need to do more."

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