Sexual orientation

Equality Act 2010, Section 12: Sexual orientation


Spectrum is the LSE network for LGBT+ staff at LSE. Spectrum represents staff from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other minority sexual orientation and gender identities. Spectrum holds open meetings on the second Thursday of each month. There is an agenda but it's also an informal space to get together and chat. All are welcome to attend.

Twitter: @LSESpectrum

LSESU LGBT+ Alliance

The LSESU LGBT+ Alliance is the LGBT+ society of LSE’s Students' Union. They provide welfare and advice for LGBT+ students, and also organise social events, talks and debates, civil rights campaigns and other LGBT+ related events on campus and around London.

LSESU have created a guide for LGBTQ+ students at LSE.

LGBT+ Role Models and Allies Directory

In common with many other higher education providers, LSE has a directory of LGBT+ role models and allies.

This is designed to support people to feel confident being themselves while working and studying. Role models are LGBT+ members of staff at LSE (academics and PSS (professional services staff)). Allies are people who do not identify as LGBT+ but who are willing to take a stand for promoting and supporting LGBT+ equality. Both the role models and the allies are available to support and speak with members of the LSE community.


Stonewall is Europe's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) charity. It believes that people perform better when they can be themselves.

The Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme, the leading employers' LGBT programme, is a framework for creating a workplace that enables LGBT staff both to be themselves and to reach their full potential. It ensures that every LGBT staff member without exception is accepted in the workplace. LSE joined the Stonewall Global Diversity Champions Programme in 2017. With the ever changing legislative and social landscape for LGBT people worldwide, the Global Diversity Champions Programme provides both expertise and a network to keep international organisations like LSE informed of changes and implications for their staff wherever they operate. It provides the tools needed to take a strategic and structured approach to LGBT equality initiatives globally.

One of the Stonewall initiatives is the Workplace Equality Index, a definitive benchmarking tool for institutions to measure their progress on lesbian, gay, bi and trans inclusion in the workplace. Annually, participating employers demonstrate their work in 10 areas of employment policy and practice. Staff from across the organisation also complete an anonymous survey about their experiences of diversity and inclusion at work. Institutions then receive a score, enabling them to understand the good practices within the institution and where there may be gaps that need to be addressed. Institutions also have the ability to see how they have performed in comparison with the sector and region. The 100 best-performing organisations are celebrated publicly.

It is widely recognised that trans staff in particular face distinct challenges in the workplace which differ significantly from lesbian, gay and bi experiences. That is why in its 2016 index Stonewall included trans-inclusive questions for the first time, providing a baseline assessment of the work that was being done by employers and enabling Stonewall to gather best practice from organisations across the UK.

In 2018, 434 employers participated in the Workplace Equality Index. Building on previous progress, LSE made a dramatic improvement in its ranking for the second year in a row. From 2017 to 2018, the School climbed 130 places in the index, up to 114th place out of 434. This is LSE’s best result yet and the new ranking follows a 52 place leap from 2016 to 2017. This was the result of excellent work undertaken by Spectrum (LSE's LGBT+ staff network) and the consistent support demonstrated by the School's senior management for developing a more inclusive work and study environment. Our participation in the index serves as a framework not only for improving the experiences of our LGBT+ staff and students but also to plan and improve our work across all other diversity strands.


The following list of LSE resources, policies and procedures are all inclusive of LGBT+ staff:

Equality Act 2010, Section 12: Sexual orientation

There are many ways in which sexual orientation can be defined; one starting point is the Equality Act 2010, which protects LGBT+ staff and students. Sexual orientation is defined in the Act to include a person's sexual orientation towards people of the same sex, opposite sex or both.

Section 12 of the Equality Act defines ‘sexual orientation’ as follows:

(1) Sexual orientation means a person's sexual orientation towards—
(a) persons of the same sex,
(b) persons of the opposite sex, or
(c) persons of either sex.

(2) In relation to the protected characteristic of sexual orientation—
(a) a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person who is of a particular sexual orientation;
(b) a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who are of the same sexual orientation.

This legislative definition is a limited one. It does not, for example, acknowledge asexuality, and it assumes a binary notion of gender. The LSE support services listed on this page are open to all LGBT+ staff and students at LSE, not just those who fit the legislative definition.