Skip to main content

Sexual Orientation


Sexual Orientation is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

The Act protects bisexual, gay, heterosexual, lesbian and heterosexual people. The law also covers perceived sexual orientation and discrimination by association.

Sexual orientation means a person's attraction towards:

  • Persons of the same sex
  • Persons of the opposite sex
  • Persons of either sex

(Government Equalities Office - Equality Act 2010)

  • Over 60% of lesbian, gay or bisexual students are not out to their tutors and lecturers because they fear discrimination
  • 15% of lesbian, gay and bisexual students fear losing financial support if they come out to their parents

(Source: Experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans staff and students in higher education: research report 2009 (ECU))

Useful websites

The Equality Challenge Unit research into the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans students and staff in Higher Education.

Stonewall - Stonewall works to achieve equality and justice for lesbians, gay, bisexual and trans people.

ACAS - Understand the four main types of sexual orientation discrimination.