More than a third of LGBT holidaymakers face discrimination abroad, study finds

A new study has found that 37% of LGBT holidaymakers have suffered discrimination or abuse while away. The worry statistic, included in a report by Virgin Holidays, includes everything from being refused shared accommodation to being verbally abused and even assaulted. The study also found that almost two thirds of travellers from the LGBT community actively boycotted parts of the world where LGBT people are treated particularly badly. The report also highlighted that sexuality had a major influence on where LGBT Brits travelled, with two thirds (63%) refusing to travel somewhere that had an unwelcoming attitude towards the LGBT community. Furthermore a quarter (23%) of LGBT travelers change the way they act and try to camouflage their sexuality when on holiday. 80% of those surveyed said that holiday companies weren't doing enough to keep them informed about sexuality and gender expression laws in the countries they wanted to visit. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, said: "At Virgin Holidays, we believe everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to be whoever they are, wherever they are. "That’s why it is shocking that in today’s society some of us can’t even enjoy a simple holiday without fear of discrimination." virginholidays-9 In response to the reported experiences of LGBT travellers, Virgin Holidays has developed plans to address the issues faced by the community abroad. As part of their commitment to equality, the company will stage a LGBT equalities conference in conjunction with international tourism partners, encouraging partners in conservative regions such as the Caribbean to adopt more LGBT-friendly policies. Mark Anderson, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, said of the plans: “We want everyone to feel comfortable when travelling abroad and encourage everyone, regardless of their sexuality, to take on the world.  We will continue to address this complex issue, and will be a proactive force for change in the LGBT community.” The announcement comes less than a week before the Attitude Awards 2016, which are being supported by Virgin Holidays for a fifth successive year. The event is famed for its recognition of LGBT milestones and representation, with those honoured at last year’s awards including Yoko Ono, Vivienne Westwood, Boy George, Holly Johnson, April Ashley, Lorraine Kelly, Newnight’s Evan Davis and many more. logo-768x377-1 More stories: Watch the trailer for stunning new coming-of-age film ‘Moonlight’ These two newly-married grooms are serious first dance goals – WATCH