Health & Wellbeing
Meeting the health needs of a diverse society continues to present a challenge for all health providers both in the statutory and voluntary sectors. Research both locally and nationally still highlights that the health of people from marginalized groups are still falling below that of their ‘main stream’ counterparts and this is certainly so within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) communities of Derby and Derbyshire. As highlighted there is research evidence that clearly suggests that LGB people experience significant health inequalities, a view endorsed and echoed by Derby City Public Health Annual Report PCT Many LGBT people are likely to experience health inequalities or social exclusion as a result of the prejudice and discrimination they face.
“Problems of bullying for example initiated in school are often carried over into future life, having long term negative impacts on health and self esteem.” – Adrian Piggott It is clear locally that there are common experiences and barriers for LGBT people accessing appropriate health care. Health inequalities for the LGBT communities is an area that locally is poorly addressed, through Heterosexism, poor resources, lack of statutory commitment and the lack of a voice articulating the needs of this community. These are issues Derbyshire Friend and its partners will address in the future.
Many of the above factors in turn link with other health concerns to develop high incidences of HIV infection among young gay men, the resurgence of other STI’s in gay and bisexual men, increasing incidents of certain STI’s amongst lesbian and bisexual women, higher than average rates of suicide and self harm, homelessness often associated with sexual exploitation, academic underachievement and truancy.
Overall key indicators show that LGBT people, smoke more, drink more and take more recreational drugs, are more likely to suffer from mental ill health and more likely to take sexual risks increasing infection opportunities of HIV and STI than their heterosexual counterparts. Furthermore some LGB people continue to have reservations about accessing what can be seen as heterosexual reproductive orientated health care services, fear lack of confidentiality, particularly from GP’s and feel that they receive negative treatment from health care professionals.
Key issues from research and surveys:
Rate of smoking exceed those of general population (40% of gay men smoke compared to national average of 29%). Substance misuse and alcohol related issues is much more prevalent in LGB&T people and may be associated with social and relationship problems. Between 20 and 40% of gay and bisexual men have attempted suicide (LGB people are on average between 3 and 7 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts). Gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
Systematic neglect of sexual health of lesbians.
Est. that a quarter of all men self-harming and a sixth of all women is potentially attributed to same sex attraction. 55% of Gay men report to being afraid to be open to GP’s around their sexuality due to fears of homophobia and confidentiality of records. Gay women have a greater reluctance to accessing gynaecology services due to emphasis on fertility, reproduction and heterosexuality.
Transgender physical health issues – Current models of transgender care adopt a surgical and psychiatric focus and do not encompass a more holistic, social approach to the health and wellbeing of transgender people.