Leaders address students’ fears at LGBT event in Canary Wharf

Experts discuss workplace issues at the LGBT leaders conference

Experts discuss workplace issues at the LGBT leaders conference - Credit: LGBT Leaders

Concerns over increasing numbers of students reportedly living in fear of hate crimes due to their sexuality were raised at the LGBT Leaders Conference.

Saturday’s event, held at Law Firm Clifford Chance’s Headquarters, in Canary Wharf, was the largest of its kind for undergraduates - with close to a hundred students in attendance.

The guest speakers addressed the recent spike in hate crimes and the proportion of students in the gay community who ‘go back into the closet’ when they enter the workplace.

They also offered advice to the audience on how to succeed in their careers and their personal lives and shared ideas on inclusion in the workplace.

According to latest statistics, fears among university students of homophobic hate crimes have skyrocketed. More than one third (37 per cent) of LGBT students have said they are worried about experiencing hate crime - up from last year’s figure of 19pc.

Pollsters found a similar surge in fears about workplace discrimination.

Anti-violence charity Galop reported that homophobic hate crime reports had more than doubled in the three months following the referendum.

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Cai Wilshaw, founder of LGBT Leaders and chair of the event, said the numbers were ‘yet another worrying indicator’ that students remain afraid of revealing their sexuality in the workplace.

“We seek to dispel this fear, and give future graduates the confidence to be out and proud at work,” said Cai.

The panel included international banking executives and shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith, who spoke on the topic of gay women in politics.

Cai said the main goal of the conference was to inspire students to be confident in the workplace and to achieve ‘amazing things’ in their careers.

“The recent statistics underline how important it is to empower each other in our own lives and careers,” added Cai.