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No one should have to deal with discrimination, prejudice or intimidation because of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. If you do face discrimination, it's important to remember that you can complain or report it.

What legal protection do I have against prejudice?

No one should ever face discrimination or worse treatment because of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment – but unfortunately it’s something many LGBTQ+ people still experience.

However, LGBTQ+ people are protected under the Equality Act 2010, which makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on gender reassignment, sexual orientation or sex.

The Act covers you at work and when you're accessing goods and services – for instance, in care homes, healthcare settings, shops and hotels. It means an organisation can’t refuse you services or treat you worse than others because of your sexual orientation or because you've undergone gender reassignment.

What should I do if I'm being discriminated against?

If you’re being intimidated or harassed, or if someone's being violent towards you, it’s important to seek help.

Report what's going on to the police. If a crime is motivated by homophobia or transphobia, the police can take this into account and it can be used in sentencing.

If you’re unhappy with the police’s response, you can contact the professional standards department of the police force in question.

If you have a complaint about the way an organisation has treated you, you must first go through their standard complaints process – this might be writing to the manager, for instance. If you’re unhappy with the response you get, you might need to seek further advice about how to take your case forward, depending on the organisation.

How do I complain about health and care services?

If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly in a health or care setting, you can always complain. You shouldn’t worry that you’re making a fuss or causing more problems – everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and you have the right to expect good quality services from the NHS.

All NHS organisations must have a complaints procedure explaining who to contact if you're unhappy and detailing how they investigate and respond to complaints. If you’re in England and you're not happy with the way your complaint is handled, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to look into it.

Care workers are also required to treat you with dignity and respect. If you experience prejudice or intimidation from a care worker, you should make a complaint to the service manager.

All care services should have a complaints procedure. It can feel daunting to make an issue of a prejudiced comment – but it’s worth it for your peace of mind, and for others who use the service in the future.


Want further information? Click the links below for guides from Age UK National

LGBT+ Information Guide 
Resolving problems and making a complaint about NHS care