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Sexual orientation: discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 states that you can’t be discriminated against simply because you are gay, lesbians, bisexual, or heterosexual. This is known as discrimination based on sexual orientation.

It is illegal to discriminate against someone who is not in compliance with the Equality Act. You may be able do something if you have been discriminated against.

This page explains more about discrimination based on sexual orientations.

What does it mean to be sexually oriented?

You must determine if you are exempt from Discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 before you can file a discrimination case.

According to the Equality Act, discrimination is only illegal if it is based on certain factors. These are known as protected characteristics. The Equality Act protects sexual orientations.

When you are sexually attracted to someone Sexual orientation:

  • People of your own sexual health preference – if you’re gay, lesbian or bisexual
  • People of opposite sexual orientations – when you are heterosexual
  • Sexual experience can be people of both sexes.
  • Gender reassignment and sexual orientations

Gender reassignment and sexual orientations are two different things. Transgender people are not eligible for discrimination. If, however, the reason you are being treated unfairly is that you are gay, this would be discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Discrimination based on someone else’s sexual orientation

It is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation. This could include a parent, child or partner, as well as a friend.

Discrimination based on who you think you are Sexual orientation

It is illegal for someone to discriminate against you because they believe you are of a certain sexual orientations. This is known as discrimination by students perceptions.

  • Additional useful information
  • Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS).
  • The EASS Discrimination Helpline can help you if you’ve been discriminated against.

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