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LGBT in Britain

Health Report

Despite the strides we’ve made towards LGBT equality in recent years, many LGBT people still face significant barriers to leading healthy, happy and fulfilling lives in Britain today.

This report, part of our state-of-the-nation LGBT in Britain research series with YouGov, uncovers worryingly high rates of poor mental health experienced by LGBT people in Britain today, as well as the challenges many LGBT people face when accessing wider healthcare services.

In the last year alone, half of LGBT people have experienced depression and three in five have suffered from anxiety, far exceeding estimates for the general population. And our findings show that poor mental health is also higher among LGBT people who are young, Black, Asian or minority ethnic, disabled or from a socio-economically deprived background. It’s a shocking picture, that must serve as a wake up call for healthcare providers across the sector.

While there are committed individuals and organisations doing outstanding work, this report shows that instances of discrimination, hostility and unfair treatment in healthcare services are still commonplace. Many LGBT people – particularly those who are trans – continue to be ‘outed’ without their consent, treated with inappropriate curiosity and subjected to unequal treatment because of who they are. Mirroring the findings of the UK Government’s recent National LGBT Survey, a worrying proportion of LGBT people say they’ve been pressured to access damaging ‘conversion therapies’ to change their sexual orientation and gender identity.

This discrimination – both experienced and expected – can deter LGBT people from accessing help when they’re in need: one in seven LGBT people, including more than a third of trans people, have avoided treatment for fear of prejudice.

The persistence of these inequalities calls for leadership from the very top and action at all levels. The UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments must play an important role in this. For example, the UK Government implementing the commitments it made in the LGBT Action Plan, including ensuring that the National Adviser for LGBT healthcare in England has the remit and resources to drive change.

Knowing that we have somewhere to turn when our health is in crisis is crucial. These findings stand as a stark warning that for too many LGBT people, this still isn’t the case. With strong leadership across government and the NHS, building on the best practice of health and social care providers across the country, we can bring forward the day when every LGBT person gets the healthcare support they need to lead a happy, healthy life.