A survey into LGBTI people’s experience of sexual harassment is being run by the LGBTIQ Legal Service, part of the St Kilda Legal Service.

Responses to the survey will form the basis of the Service’s submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

The working conditions of Australian LGBTI people has attracted new research in recent years as a number of organisations endeavour to create more inclusive workplaces.

According to the Out at Work: From Prejudice to Pride report by Diversity Council Australia (in partnership with RMIT University, Deloitte, QBE, and the Star Observer) only 32 per cent of LGBTI people are out to everyone in their workplace.

Based on a survey of 1,600 LGBTI workers and academic and industry research, and think tanks of 60 LGBTI workers, the same report found that employees in LGBTI inclusive organisations were at least twice as likely to work effectively, innovate, and provide excellent customer service.

Pride in Diversity’s 2018 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Employee Survey, an initiative of ACON, found that almost ten per cent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers in regional Australia have experienced casual homophobia at work.

The survey of more than 23,000 respondents at 89 different organisations also found that almost 12 per cent of regional LGB employees have been bullied at work, while more than 13 per cent of gender diverse workers described experiencing ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of anxiety during recruitment processes.

“Fear of abuse or discrimination forces many LGBTI people to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity when they access health and well being services, in many cases leading to an increase in anxiety or depression,” said Nicolas Parkhill, Chief Executive of ACON.

Despite this one in ten non-LGBTI employees believed LGBTI inclusion was no longer necessary following marriage equality, versus 91 per cent of LGBTI respondents.

In 2017 an Australian Human Rights Commission report, based on a survey of more than 30,000 students from 39 universities, found that LGBTI students experience higher rates of sexual assault and harassment on campus than their straight and cis peers.

Per the report 44 per cent of bisexual students and 38 per cent of gay or lesbian students were sexually harassed in 2016, while 45 per cent of gender diverse respondents reported being assaulted or harassed.

The Commission also heard that some respondents didn’t report the incidents because they were afraid the person they talked to may hold negative attitudes towards them because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The LGBTIQ Legal Service’s survey on workplace sexual harassment can be completed here.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is accepting submissions to the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace until 31 January 2019.

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