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'It's difficult to be gay' in UK businesses

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In the offices of the law firm Clifford Chance yesterday, gay people from a number of professional industries gathered for the Out on the Street summit, an offshoot from the regular event in New York where prominent gay and lesbian people working on Wall Street get together to talk about equality within the financial industry.

Among those taking part in the London event was Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP, who has spoken in the past about the need to end discrimination against gay people in the workplace.

Ashley Steel, who is vice chair of the professional services firm KPMG also took part.

Today business presenter Justin Rowlatt heard from Ms Steel who explained that "in my early years at KPMG I was far from out".

"There was a lot of homophobic… conversation going on and you just didn't want to out yourself in that kind of environment," she explained.

"Why should who you sleep with have any impact whatsoever on what your you career or your career prospects."

"It is still very very difficult" in a lot of industries and business in the UK, she added.


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