80% of homophobic discrimination not reported, Northern Ireland Equality Commissioner says

Submitted by Stephanie Stevens / http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transgendernews/

Gay Star News, UK

80% of homophobic discrimination not reported, Northern Ireland Equality Commissioner says

Anti-discrimination organization tries to reach out to LGBT Northern Irish through social media

13 May 2013 | By Anna Leach

[Photo: Northern Ireland Equality Commission staff launching Anti-Homophobia Week]

Eight out of ten Northern Irish lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people who experienced discrimination did not report it, a study from the Equalities Commission found.

Northern Ireland Equality Commission (NIEC) surveyed LGB people last year and found that half experienced discrimination, but only 20% reported it.

'We have already recognized the need to take special measures to address under-reporting of sexual orientation discrimination,' said equality commissioner Michael Wardlow, speaking at the start of Northern Ireland's Anti-Homophobia Week this week.

NIEC has started a social media campaign called So_Me (Sexual Orientation More Equality), but the Facebook page has only 165 'likes' despite being started in February and the campaign's Twitter page is similarly unpopular, with only 99 followers.

Wardlow added that there is one minority that suffers 'the highest level of negativity' - trans people.

'We know that we need to make particular efforts to reach out to LGBT individuals who may feel that they are totally alone and that they have no recourse against unfair treatment,' said Wardlow.

'These are the people who could really benefit from our staff’s advice, support and experience. And individuals can be reassured of receiving a confidential and supportive response when they seek our help.'

Northern Ireland's police said there were 246 homophobic incidents in the past year, 46 more than the previous year and 15 transphobic incidents, 11 more than in the previous year, The Belfast Telegraph reports.

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