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» Equality Policy - Sexual Orientation

Equality Policy - Sexual Orientation


Christ Church welcomes diversity amongst its members, staff and visitors, recognising the particular contributions to the achievement of its statutory objects that can be made by individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

This section provides a general overview of legislation relating to sexual orientation, and our response which seeks to ensure that discrimination on the grounds of an individual's sexual orientation or gender reassignment does not take place.

Legal context

Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010.

Sexual orientation relates to an individual's orientation towards:

  • persons of the same gender (gay or lesbian);
  • persons of the opposite gender (heterosexual); or
  • persons of both the same gender and opposite gender (bisexual).

Discrimination (all types), harassment and victimisation are all prohibited. However, the legislation allows that indirect discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation may be legal where the indirect discrimination can be objectively justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Under the Equality Act people are also protected from discrimination on the grounds of their perceived sexuality as well as their actual sexuality. For example, if a person is the subject of homophobic teasing even though they are in fact heterosexual and the perpetrators know that the person is heterosexual, the individual concerned is still protected under the law.

In addition, it is unlawful to discriminate against people on the grounds of their association with those of a particular sexual orientation (e.g. friends and/or family).

Although people are protected from discrimination on the grounds of their religion or belief, it is still illegal for them to discriminate against someone else on the grounds of sexual orientation (even if, for example, their faith teaches that homosexuality is unacceptable).

The Equality Act does not cover sexual practices and preferences such as sado-masochism.

College Response

The relevant Christ Church policies and practices are as follows:


Recruitment and selection

The code of practice on staff recruitment and selection is published on the Christ Church website. See Staff Handbook.


Students are admitted to Christ Church solely on the basis of academic merti



Conditions of service
Student Support


Adoption leave is on the same basis as maternity leave and is published on the Christ Church website. See Staff Handbook.

No relevant policy.



Current guidance from the Equality Challenge Unit and HEFCE is that universities should only monitor sexual orientation of staff and students after extensive consultation with interested parties.

Christ Church is monitoring the sexual orientation of new staff on a voluntary basis.




Christ Church does not currently publish statistics on the sexual orientation of staff.


Christ Church does not publish statistics on the sexual orientation of students.


Support and Advice

Guidance on our personnel policy may be sought from the Steward or, the Sub Dean in relation to the Cathedral. Students should contact the Senior Censor.

The University Equality and Diversity Unit (DEO) provides a network of harassment advisers and is also responsible for updating the Code of Practice on Harassment.

The University offers training in best practice for those involved in the admissions process, recruitment and selection, management and teaching.

Further information

The University website contains useful links to relevant legislation, as well as providing details of the ways in which the University has sought to fulfil its commitments to promoting equality in the area of sexual orientation.

In particular, the University website provides links to the LGBT societies for staff and students.

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