Sexual orientation and gender reassignment
In 2017, 2.4% of people in Scotland identified their sexual orientation as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or other." A report by the Equality Network found that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transexual (LGBT+) disabled people were more likely to experience discrimination than LGBT+ non-disabled people with 59% reporting experiencing prejudice or discrimination within the last month at the time of the report compared to 47% of non-disabled LGBT+ individuals.
There is no robust data relating to the proportion of people in Scotland to whom the gender reassignment protected characteristic applies. However, we recognise that a potential barrier to trans and non-binary people accessing disability assistance is a requirement for individuals to provide their gender when making an application. This is often discriminatory as individuals are asked to tick a box to indicate their gender. This often involves a male-female binary which does not apply to individuals whose gender does not fit neatly into one of these boxes such as individuals who are non-binary, agender or genderfluid.
During our engagement with individuals, those who had undergone gender reassignment discussed feelings of being 'outed' by this process as they had to reiterate that they had changed gender and often felt disparaged by assessment staff. They also expressed frustration that the system could not cope with their attempts to amend their existing identity information, such as name and gender, within the current system.
Some people we engaged with who had undergone a Personal Independence Payment assessment in the current system reported experiencing homophobia/ transphobia by assessors. They also spoke of dismissive and disrespectful attitudes towards their shared living arrangements with same-sex partners.
Our application form has been designed to allow individuals to identify as 'male', 'female' or 'other'. Agency staff will be recruited who embody values of dignity and respect and all training for new staff will include LGBT+ awareness and be underpinned by human rights principles. We anticipate that these measures will have a positive effect on people applying for Adult Disability Payment with these protected characteristics.
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