We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Summary

Summary: Sexual Orientation

There is currently limited data and evidence collected on the experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Scotland.

The Scottish Government have published a guidance note on collecting information on sexual orientation.

Sexual Orientation in Scotland, 2015

Population Estimates
  • In 2015, the overall proportion of those identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Other was 1.8%, whilst 2.4% preferred not to respond to the question

  • In 2015, younger people were more likely to identify as LGB or Other. 3.7% of people aged 16 to 24 identified as being LGB or Other, whilst 1.0% of people aged 55 to 64 identified as being LGB and Other and similar proportions could be seen in older age groups.

Source: Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2015 (Last updated: November 2016)

 

Characteristics of those identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual
  • In 2009-10 at United Kingdom level, people who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual were less likely to identify with a religion than people who identified as heterosexual or straight. One-third (34.5%) of lesbian, gay or bisexual respondents, said that they did not identify with a religion. This compares with one-fifth (20.5%) of heterosexual or straight respondents.

Source: Measuring Sexual Identity: An Evaluation Report (ONS. Published: 2010)

Social attitudes towards people who are gay or lesbian

Information on public attitudes toward people who are gay was collected in the 2015 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey.

SSA attitudes to same sex relationships 2015

  • In 2015, 69% said that sexual relationships between two adults of the same sex are either rarely wrong or not wrong at all, compared with 17% who thought they were always or mostly wrong.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, the percentage of people saying that sexual relationships between two adults of the same sex was always or mostly wrong has fallen from 48% to 17%
  • These changes in attitudes have occurred across most groups in Scottish society, including people brought up in an era when male same sex relationships were illegal (although it remains the case that older are more likely than younger people to hold discriminatory views towards people who are gay or lesbian.

Source: Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2015: Attitudes to Discrimination and Positive Action (Published: September 2016)

 

Crime and Justice
  • Offence aggravation data indicate that in 2015-16, 368 people were convicted in Scottish courts of an offence with an associated sexual orientation aggravation.

  • Nearly 84% of these were for a main charge of breach of the peace.

Source: Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2015/16 (Table 13. Last updated: January 2017)

 

More facts on this topic: Sexual Orientation and Crime and Justice Page

More equality characteristics for Crime and Justice: Crime and Justice Page

Demographics

NRS Chart of Opposite and Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnerships

Source: Scotland's Population 2015: Infographic Report (NRS. Last updated: August 2016)

 
  • The Civil Partnership Act 2004, which applies throughout the UK and came into force on 5 December 2005, allows same-sex couples to register their partnership. In 2015, following the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 coming into force on 16 December 2014, there were 1671 same sex marriages.

Source: The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends (NRS. Last updated: August 2016)

 

More facts on this topic: Sexual Orientation and Demographics

More equality characteristics for Demographics: Demographics Page

Employability, Skills and Life Long Learning
  • In April 2009 to March 2010, people (aged 16 and over) who identified themselves as gay or lesbian tended to be educated to a higher level than those who identified as either heterosexual or bisexual. 38.4% of gay/lesbian respondents were educated to degree level or higher, compared with 23.8% of bisexual respondents and 21.6% of heterosexual respondents.

Source: Measuring Sexual Identity: An Evaluation Report (ONS. Published: 2010)

 

More facts on this topic: Sexual Orientation and Employability, Skills and Life Long Learning Page

More equality characteristics for Employability, Skills and Life Long Learning: Employability, Skills and Life Long Learning Page

Health, Social Care and Sport
  • In 2014, after age standardisation, the proportion of the "LGB & Other" group reporting good or very good general health is significantly lower than the rest of the population (65.6% compared with 74.5%).

Source: Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2014 (Last updated: May 2016)

 

More facts on this topic: Sexual Orientation and Health, Social Care and Sports Page

More equality characteristics for Health, Social Care and Sport: Health, Social Care and Sport Page

Housing and Regeneration
  • 15 per cent of those who identified themselves as ‘gay, lesbian or bisexual’ reported that they had experienced discrimination in 2016 , compared to only 6 per cent of heterosexual people. However the base size for ‘gay, lesbian or bisexual’ was fairly small.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Neighbourhoods and Communities (Last updated: September 2017)

 
  • People living in the private rented sector are more likely to identify as either ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual or other’ (LGB) than the population as a whole: 3.4% per cent compared to 1.8%.
  • Single adult households are the most likely of any household type to identify as ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual or other; (LGB): 4.1%.

Source: Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2015 (Last updated: November 2016)

 

More facts on this topic: Sexual Orientation and Housing and Regeneration Page

More equality characteristics for Labour Market: Housing and Regeneration Page

Labour Market
  • In 2015, people who identified as ‘LGB and other’ were more likely to be unemployed compared to those who identified as ‘heterosexual’ (11.1 percent versus 3.1 per cent).  It is important to note that a higher proportion of those identifying as ‘LGB and other’ were in the age groups 16-24 and 25-34, which were also the age groups where unemployment was higher.

Source: Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2015 (Last updated: November 2016)

 

More facts on this topic: Sexual Orientation and Labour Market Page

More equality characteristics for Labour Market: Labour Market Page

Local Government
  • In the public appointments rounds for 2016, 4.4% of applicants declared they were lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or other non-heterosexual (LGBO). 7.1% of appointments were identified as LGBO.

Source: Public Appointments in Scotland 2016: Diversity Analysis Report (Last updated: March 2017)

Note: A Public Appointment is an appointment to the board of any of the public bodies across Scotland - either as a member, or as the chair. The board's role is to provide leadership, direction and guidance, it is not involved in the day-to-day running of the public body.

 

More facts on this topic: Sexual Orientation and Local Government

More equality characteristics for Local Government: Local Government

Rural and Environment
  • Due to the small number of individuals identifying as gay/lesbian/bisexual/other sexual orientation in the Scottish Household Survey, data for 2015 and 2016 have been combined to reach an adequate sample size. Over the 2015 and 2016 period, there was little difference in the proportion of respondents who identified as gay/lesbian/bisexual/other and the proportion of respondents who identified as heterosexual who visited the outdoors once a week or more (45% and 49% respectively).

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Environment (Last updated: September 2017)

 

More facts on this topic: Sexual Orientation and Rural and Environment Page

More equality characteristics for Rural and Environment: Rural and Environment Page

School Education

The Scottish Government does not have information available on sexual orientation of pupils or teachers. It is not appropriate to collect this for pupils.

  • Stonewall's survey on the experience of young people in secondary schools in 2017, found that in 52% of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) pupils report having been bullied.
  • Stonewall's survey found that 41% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) pupils reported not being taught about LGBT issues in school or college

External Source: School Report Scotland (Stonewall Scotland. Published: 2017)

This research has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government, the results are hosted on an external website and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

 

More equality characteristics for School Education: School Education

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

Scottish Household Survey 2016 (September 2017) This report presents reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics and behaviour of Scottish households, both nationally and at a sub-national level. This includes analysis of age, deprevation, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation

 

Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2015 (November 2016) Official statistics publication on equality groups across a range of measures from harmonised questions across the major SG population surveys. This publication provides statistics centred around protected equality characteristics and sub-national geographies: age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of birth, deprivation and Health Board/Police Scotland Division.

Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2015: Attitudes to Discrimination and Positive Action (September 2016) This report explores attitudes to discrimination and positive action in Scotland in relation to: age, disability, gender, race, religion, gender reassignment and sexual orientation.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to sexual orientation and transgender people

The Experiences of Children with Lesbian and Gay Parents: An Initial Scoping Review of Evidence (2009) Presents the findings from a review of evidence into the experiences of children of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) parents. The findings are taken from eight papers identified by experts in the field and an internal literature search. It should be noted that these identified papers were predominantly focused on lesbian and gay parenting and not on parents identifying as bisexual or transgender.

Future Developments

Future Developments

A question on sexual orientation was included as a core question in the following surveys from 2012: Scottish Household Survey, Scottish Health Survey and Scottish Crime and Justice Survey.

Disclaimer:

SELF-IDENTIFIED SEXUAL ORIENTATION

The question on self-identified sexual orientation was introduced to provide statistics to underpin the equality monitoring responsibilities of public sector organisations and to assess the disadvantage or relative discrimination experienced by the lesbian, gay and bisexual population. Despite this positive step in collecting such information, it is felt that the figures are likely to under-report the percentage of lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) people within society due to a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Asking about sexual orientation/identity is a new development in national surveys and such questions can be seen as intrusive and personal.
  • There is still significant prejudice and discrimination against LGB people in society. In a context where some LGB people will not have told friends and family about their sexual identity, there is a real question about whether LGB people generally would want to be open with an interviewer.
  • The default option for being uncertain about one's sexual orientation may be to respond 'straight/heterosexual' rather than to say 'Don't know / not sure'.
  • Particular LGB people are still less likely to be open where they belong to groups or communities where an LGB identity is less acceptable.
 

External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site. The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

External Publications and Outputs

Sexual identity, UK: 2016 (ONS, October 2017) Experimental statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics on sexual orientation within the UK

School Report Scotland (Stonewall Scotland, 2017) A survey of LGBT young people's experiences of secondary education including bullying, how schools responded, teaching, and support.

Inequality among lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender groups in the UK: A review of evidence (Government Equalities Office, July 2016) A review of evidence to identify the inequality and disadvantage experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the UK.

Measuring Sexual Identity: An Evaluation Report (ONS, 2010) An Office for National Statistics evaluation based on the Integrated Household Survey (IHS) experimental data, collected between April 2009 - March 2010.

External Research Organisations

Equality Network - Works for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality and human rights in Scotland

Office for National Statistics: Labour Market - ONS publications on UK labour market statistics

Stonewall Scotland - LGBT research and publications.

Equality and Human Rights Commission - The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) encourages equality and diversity, and is responsible for enforcing the Equality Act. EHRC produce research and analysis on equality characteristics

Government Equalities Office - The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is part of the UK Government and publishes research and analysis relating to equality legislation in the UK