Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010 and refers to the general attraction a person feels towards people of one sex or another (or both).

The 2011-12 Diversity Survey Report highlighted that the proportion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) respondents continues to be high in relation to general population estimates. 13 per cent of non-student and student staff defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual and 'other'. Whereas for officers, 31 per cent defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or ‘other’.  Moreover, the majority of LGBT staff and officers are open about their sexual orientation.

What NUS is doing to promote sexual orientation equality?

In the past few years NUS has won the equalisation of the age of consent, greater provision for estranged LGBT students in relation to student finance, fought for an end to the blood ban and campaigned for equal marriage.

This year the LGBT campaign will be focusing on removing the barriers to accessing education for many LGBT students based on the discrimination they face in society and the current education system.  We have launched cutting edge research into the experience LGBT students and the impact student union’s and LGBT societies have on keeping LGBT students in education. Find out more here.

Year on year the campaign runs training events for LGBT student activists equipping them with the skills to run successful campaigns as well as training sabbatical officers on how to support.

Accommodation services: supporting gay students

Equality Challenge Unit leaflet with information and advice for providers of student accommodation.

Advancing LGB equality

An Equality Challenge Unit toolkit providing guidance on improving the experience of lesbian, gay and bisexual staff and students in higher education.

Bisexual Students Guide

An NUS guide to becoming Bi-Inclusive for student activists and officers.

Delivering LGB equality: making your college LGB friendly

Equality Challenge Unit guide for senior management on a strategic approach to lesbian, gay and bisexual equality in colleges.

Experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans staff and students in higher education

An Equality Challenge Unit research report (2009) highlighting the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans staff and students in higher education.

Forum for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Post-School Education

The Forum brings together partner organisations to co-ordinate work that advances sexual orientation and gender identity equality in post-school education. The Forum provides information, advice and guidance, including a guidance on managing the interface between sexual orientation and faith.

Improving sexual orientation monitoring

Guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

International students' services: supporting gay students

Equality Challenge Unit leaflet with information and advice for staff supporting international students.

LGBT Foundation

A national charity delivering a wide range of services to lesbian, gay and bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities.

Out in sport: LGBT students’ experiences of sport (2012)

This report explores LGBT students’ levels of participation in sport, the experiences of those who participate, and the barriers to participation for those who do not participate.

Pink News

Gay news website including politics, law, policy, research, job adverts, activism and social developments.

Pink Parents

A website offering support and advice to same-sex parents and tackling discrimination affecting same-sex parents and their children.

Putting the LGBT into FE

An NUS publication offering advice on improving LGBT welfare and representation in Further Education institutions. 

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Acas guidance.

Sexual orientation equality

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provides a range of guidance to promote sexual orientation equality on areas such as: sexual orientation discrimination in different settings, sex discrimination in public services and guidance for employers on sexual orientation in the workplace.

Student services: supporting LGB students

Equality Challenge Unit leaflets to help student services support their lesbian, gay and bisexual students.


Charity promoting equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people through awareness raising, influencing policy-makers, legal test cases, publishing good practice and an accreditation scheme for LGB-friendly employers.