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Lord Browne Not Alone - Half Of UK Gay Workers Are Afraid To Come Out


London, UK (OUT NOW) May 3, 2007 -- Resigned CEO of BP, Lord Browne is in good company - half of all UK lesbians and gay men say they do not feel able be out as openly gay in the UK workplace. Out Now Consulting gay market research for Diva and GT magazines reveals the extent of the problem.

Research findings from gay market research show that up to half of UK lesbians and gay men do not feel able to reveal their sexuality to all those they work with. The research also discovered that as many as one in ten gay men, and one in eight lesbians are harassed at work because of their sexuality.

These workplace research findings are uncovered in the UK by the Out Now Consulting Diva and GT Readers Surveys.

Only 52% of gay men and 51% of lesbians say they can be completely honest about their sexuality with their work colleagues.

Official Whitehall figures say that 6% of the UK adult population, or around 3 million people, are lesbian or gay. This Out Now research reveals 1.5 million UK workers do not feel they can be honest about such a fundamental aspect of their lives at work.

“Lord Browne of BP is far from alone. Out Now’s research for Diva and GT shows that there are around 1.5 million other UK workers that are in a similar position,” according to Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now Consulting, a specialist gay marketing consultancy which conducted the research. “Heterosexual people do not experience the same pressures to conceal such a major aspect of themselves when they are at work.”

“Being accepted by government in the UK is a big step forward in terms of Civil Partnerships, but being able to be yourself at work is something all workers in the UK really ought to be able to do,” says Johnson.

“In the medium to long term that affects workplace productivity, loyalty and ultimately can result in otherwise well-qualified lesbian and gay staff leaving a job because they can no longer keep up a pretence of being heterosexual,” says Johnson.

“Perhaps it may be understandable why many UK lesbians and gay men choose to keep quiet about their sexuality, when we consider what our research showed about how likely people are to be harassed for their homosexuality at work in the UK,” says Johnson.

9% of male respondents and 12% of female respondents reported they had been harassed at work during the previous 12 months because they were gay.

These figures compare poorly with research Out Now Consulting undertook in the Netherlands in 2004 where only 2.8% of gay men said they had been harassed at work.

UK gay men seem three times more likely than Dutch gay men to have experienced this situation.

“This is quite alarming,” said Kim Watson Deputy Managing Director of MPG, publishers of Diva and Gay Times magazines. “How many heterosexual people in the workplace feel the need to keep the existence of their partner a secret? Practically none.”

Johnson said he felt that companies need to do more to improve on these results.

“We recommend UK companies should improve their workplace equality and diversity policies. Training on gay and lesbian issues is also likely to help improve the current situation. This would build improved comfort levels, for all staff, working together, irrespective of sexuality. Often Human Resources managers say ’but we don’t discriminate’ - and that might be true. But the situation on the ground, as revealed by these figures shows half the UK’s gays and lesbians do not feel they can just be themselves at work.”

Notes to editors: Gay Market News has more information from Out Now on this story.

6% of UK adults are believed to be lesbian or gay. Source: Whitehall, December 2005.

Publication of this information must be credited as the “Out Now Consulting GT and Diva Research Report”, for copyright reasons.

The report by Out Now Consulting, was undertaken following independent research with more than 1,000 readers of Diva and Gay Times magazines between March and October 2005. Sample size is 1118 respondents.

Gay Times and Diva (published by Millivres Prowler Ltd.) are Europe’s best selling gay and lesbian glossy news stand magazines. Millivres Prowler Ltd. is Europe’s largest media business targeting the gay and lesbian market.

Established in 1992, Out Now Consulting is a leading source for gay marketing research and strategy, and is a global gay market agency relied upon by organisations involved with lesbian and gay people. Services include market research, training, advertising, public relations and strategy development.

Out Now clients include Barclays Bank, IBM, Toyota, German National Tourist Office, Qantas Airways, British Tourist Authority, Lufthansa, South African Tourism and Citibank.

For further information please contact:

Ian Johnson, CEO
Out Now Consulting
UK landline: +44-(0)20-8123 5288
BE landline: +32-2-514 6443
BE mobile: +32-4737 60886

Kim Watson, Millivres Prowler Ltd.
Mobile: +44-7813 475402
Direct Line: +44-20-7424 7460



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