Health care providers need to learn LGBTI health is not only about sexual health

World Medical Association takes stand against trans 'cure' therapy

Health experts have shared their ideas of how to improve the UK’s health care for LGBTI people admitting a ‘silver bullet’ won’t quickly fix the issues. They also said health care professionals need to learn that LGBTI health has more nuances beyond sexual health.

Those admissions came from a public session on how to improve health care access and experiences for LGBTI people.

‘Healthcare professionals might not understand LGBTI people have specific needs,’ said Sophie Meagher, policy officer, LGBT Foundation during Wednesday’s session.

Last year, the UK government ran a survey 108,000 LGBTI people which found some had experienced inappropriate questioning and curiosity from healthcare staff. Many said they felt stigma – real or perceived – because of their gender identity or sexuality. Others said they felt their specific needs are not taken into account.

The subsequent enquiry received more than 60 written evidence submissions. Those submissions provided a range of insights into the problems associated with LGBT people. Those included LGBTI people self-excluding from health and social care services or failing to access the support that they need due to poor experiences.

The Committee

The Women and Equalities Committee headed by Conservative MP, Maria Miller, ran the first of about five sessions to further investigate how the NHS (National Health Service) could improve its services for LGBTI people.

A number of MPs sit on the committee but only Miller, Labour’s Tonia Antoniazzi and Jess Phillips, and Conservative Philip Davies.

‘It really is great to have people here who have never done this before,’ Miller told the four witnesses.

The witnesses included; Professor Carrie Llewellyn from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Wendy Irwin, Head of Equality and Diversity, Royal College of Nursing, Dr Duncan Shrewsbury, Local medical director, Practice Plus Brighton and Meagher.

Wednesday’s session focused on how frontline health care services could be more inclusive to LGBTI people.

Sexual health is not the entirety of LGBTI health

Irwin reiterated that nurses most likely were not openly homophobic but could have unconscious bias. She said there may be a tendency to have heteronormative expectations of patients.

‘When they see the person, nurses aren’t give the time (to be more nurturing),’ she said.

‘Systemically there are things nurses could do, but structurally it prevents them.’

Meagher suggested healthcare practitioners should always record or ask a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

‘Always ask their trans status and sexuality, it may or may not be relevant,’ Meagher said.

‘Healthcare professionals say we treat everyone the same, but they don’t understand the barriers LGBTI people face. They don’t see beyond HIV and sexual health.’

When MP Phillips asked for feedback about the public health messaging for LGBTI people, all witnesses agreed it was dominated with messages about sexual health.

‘LGBTI health goes beyond sexual health,’ Meagher said.

Meagher responded with an anecdote about an older person. That person had dementia and had forgotten they had transitioned, which led healthcare staff to misgender them.

How to fix the problem

Shrewsbury admitted he felt nervous giving testimony, but understood it was important.

‘It was nothing short of terrifying,’ he told Gay Star News.

‘We do have a responsibility, I’m responsible for leading and developing general practice services where I work and through that I came into contact with the issues that our community face, and I have a responsibility to voice that.’

Irwin was a lot more blunt in her closing remarks to the session. When Miller asked ‘it sounds like we’re starting in the foothills on this?’, Irwin said it would take a lot of work.

‘I was speaking with a friend about it and she asked if this was the “silver bullet” that would fix and I told her “holster your weapon”,’ Irwin told the committee.

‘We have to be in this for the long haul.’







Author: Shannon Power

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Researchers to figure out why LGBTIs have poorer health than straight people


LGBT+ people have poorer health than the straight, cis population.

Sadly, we have been hearing this for many years. Lesbian women and gay men are at higher risk of death from any cause, LGBT people are at higher risk of certain cancers, and are also at increased risk of life-limiting illnesses.

It is reasonable to assume that health and social care services would always be open to improving the health and wellbeing of all their patients. However, what if sometimes those services that should be supporting unwell people make LGBT+ individuals feel the opposite: unsupported, unwelcome and, in the worst of cases, excluded.

Unfortunately, recent reports, from the likes of Stonewall, the Government Equalities Office and a research team at King’s College London.

Across these projects, many LGBT people reported fears or experiences of discrimination, negative remarks, lacking understanding and heteronormativity when accessing healthcare services.

National study

That is exactly why the research team at King’s College London have launched a national study. They are seeking to understand, and ultimately improve, the experiences that LGBT+ people living with or affected by serious illness have with their health and social care professionals. The ACCESSCare C team are also interested in hearing from significant others

Findings will be used to produce guidance and education materials for health and social care professionals, to improve communication around sexual orientation, gender history and

If you would like to express an interest in participating in a one-off interview for the ACCESSCare C project, or if you have any questions, please email or for more information visit 

Author: Debbie Braybrook

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Bollywood actress opens India’s first LGBTI health center

Bollywood actress Richa Chadha opens India's first LGBTI health center (Photo: Twitter)

India’s commercial hub, Mumbai, on Thursday (6 March) welcomed the country’s first LGBTI health center.

One of India’s oldest LGBTI health organization, the Humsafar Trust, launched the pilot Integrated HIV clinic with help from an international NGO and state HIV group.

Bollywood star Richa Chadha cut the red ribbon on Wednesday.

The center will offer HIV prevention and treatment services to at-risk communities in Mumbai, including men who have sex with men.

It will also offer counseling and mental health advice.

‘It’s great that there can be a space where people can come forward without the fear of being judged, and get the mental and physical support they need’Chadha said, according to local media.

‘The Humsafar Trust has been working in this direction for many years, and has a sense of the problems that need to be addressed’.

There were 2.1 million people living with HIV in India in 2017 and 88,000 new infections, according to Avert.

About 2.7% of men who have sex with men were HIV positive.

Section 377

Last year, India’s Supreme Court dismantled a colonial-era anti-gay law and decriminalized gay sex.

The Supreme Court ruled the colonial-era law, which punished gay sex with up to 10 years in prison, was unconstitutional.

HIV and AIDS advocates also welcomed it as an important step in combatting India’s epidemic.

But, LGBTI Indians still face widespread stigma and discrimination. They are, therefore, often shy about visiting mainstream health services.

Chadha said since Section 377 has been repealed, NGOs and charities could open more such health centers.

They would help ‘bring more inclusivity and access’ Chadha said.

Author: Rik Glauert

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