Challenging Health Inequalities among the LGBT+ Community

This resource page has been developed because we know that sometimes people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender plus any other sexuality or gender identity, which includes, but not limited to, people questioning their sexuality or gender, intersex people, and people who identify as asexual, queer or non-binary may experience barriers or challenges when it comes to accessing Health services.

NHS Norwich is committed to supporting and engaging with LGBT+ people in ways that are supportive, inclusive and ensure respect and dignity to the LGBT+ community. We seek to improve the health and wellbeing access and outcomes for our local LGBT+ community, outlined in the universal overarching recommendations made within the national LGBT Public Health Outcomes Framework Companion Document.

Norwich is a diverse and vibrant city, and the LGBT+ community is a valued part of our wider community. You will therefore find more information and resources on this webpage on the following topics:

  • Understanding Health Inequalities: the LGBT+ Community
  • LGBT+ Older People
  • LGBT+ Health & Wellbeing Resources
  • Guidance and Resources for Professionals
  • Discrimination and Hate Incidents

You can use the Norfolk Directory, which gives contact details for a wide range of support organisations (LGBT+ and non-LGBT+) across the county that can be accessed for information, support, social events and opportunities.

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Also check out Norwich Pride and Norfolk LGBT+ Project for more information and local LGBT+ community resources, and services.

Understanding Health Inequalities

According to NICE (2017), health inequalities are differences between people or groups due to social, geographical, biological or other factors. These differences have a huge impact, because they can result in some groups or populations of people experiencing poorer health and shorter lives.

National data and the national LGBT Public Health Outcomes Framework illustrates how LGBT+ people can experience significant health inequalities, which impacts their health and wellbeing outcomes, and their experiences of the healthcare system. Some examples include:

  • LGBT+ individuals may experience discrimination and marginalisation that impacts on wider factors such as their education, housing and experiences of crime and violence, meaning that LGBT+ people may experience specific health inequalities as a result.
  • LGBT+ people may be less likely to engage with health interventions and screening programmes, and gender-specific screening can present particular challenges for transgender and non-binary individuals.
  • The evidence shows that LGBT+ people experience higher rates of smoking, alcohol and drug misuse, as well as higher levels of self-harm and suicide.

LGBT+ Older People

According to Age UK (2017), ‘it is a commonly held misconception that sexuality no longer matters in old age. In reality, sexuality and gender identity is often linked to many different aspects of a person’s sense of self, their life story and the way they interact with the world around them, irrespective of their age’.

Older LGBT+ people will have grown up in a time where they were not able to be openly ‘out’ about their sexual orientation or gender identity, so it is understandable that developing trust and feeling safe can still be a challenge. Health, care and support services can also sometimes place an emphasis on biological family relationships (e.g. ‘next of kin’).

However, it’s important that such services recognise that many older LGBT+ people create their own circles of significant friends and loved ones, and it is important to be sensitive and respect these relationships, which are likely to be important as a person ages and needs more support. It is therefore essential that health, care and support services ensure that they are inclusive, welcoming and safe spaces for older LGBT+ people.

Our section on Guidance and Resources for Professionals below has some useful links to resources around the interconnection between older age and sexual orientation and gender-identity.

LGBT+ Health & Wellbeing Resources

Generic Resources:

Wellbeing Norfolk and Suffolk offer help and support anyone who wants to improve their wellbeing and manage stress, low mood or anxiety. The Wellbeing offers a range of flexible services, including short term one-to-one therapies and counselling, short courses and workshops, online support and access to social networks and peer support. If you need help urgently: the Wellbeing Service is not for crisis or emergency situations; if you are experiencing feelings of despair or feeling suicidal, contact your GP or call the Samaritans on 116 123. If you need an emergency service to help you, dial 999.

NHS Choices: Gay and lesbian health

NHS Choices: Mental health issues if you're gay, lesbian or bisexual

Mind: LGBTQ Mental Health Web Page

Regard UK (Supporting Disabled LGBT People)

LGBT Health and Wellbeing

Young People Resources:

Brook sexual health & wellbeing for under 25’s: Gender

Brook sexual health & wellbeing for under 25’s: Relationships

Brook sexual health & wellbeing for under 25’s: Sexuality

LGBT Youth Scotland: the national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender plus youth work organisation for Scotland has a range of useful resources for young people, such as coming out guides, supporting transgender young people and more. 

Older People Resources:

Age UK: Transgender Issues in Later Life Factsheet

Alzheimers UK: LGBT Living with Dementia Booklet

Alzheimers UK: Supporting a LGBT Person with Dementia Booklet

Transgender Inclusive Resources:

National Osteoporosis Society: Transsexual people and osteoporosis

Gender Identity Clinic (GIC): for adults

Gender identity development service (GIDS): for young people

Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES)

Mermaids UK Support for Gender-Variant Young People, Parents and Families

NHS Choices: Transgender health

National LGB&T Partnership Trans Health Factsheets

Domestic Abuse Resources:

Broken Rainbow UK: an LGBT domestic violence helpline for LGBT+ people who experience domestic abuse, their friends and families, and the agencies that support them. 

Guidance and Resources for Professionals:

Age UK: ‘Safe to be me’ meeting the needs of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people using health and social care services - Resource Pack for Professionals

Macmillan: Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans people with Cancer - a practical guide health professionals

Marie Curie: Hiding who I am – the reality of end of life care for LGBT people. This report explores why LGBT people experience significant barriers to accessing palliative care.

Mind: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer good practice guide

Royal College of Nursing & UNISON: Not ‘just’ a friend - best practice guidance on health care for lesbian, gay and bisexual service users and their families.

Royal College of General Practitioners: Gender Variance e-Learning - this resource is designed to help GPs respond to the needs of adults and young people experiencing gender dysphoria.  

UK Government Gender Recognition Panel - Transgender people can apply to the UK Government Gender Recognition Panel for a Gender Recognition Certificate if they want their gender to be legally recognised in the UK.  

Taking Action against Discrimination and Hate Incidents

A hate incident is any occurrence which the victim, or anyone else, believes is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their actual or perceived age, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity. Incidents may include name calling, physical attack, vandalism, hate mail and texts, hate material on social media and theft or financial abuse.

Even if an incident is not a crime, there are measures the Police and public agencies can take to deal with incidents that are not reliant on evidence, physical injury or damage to property. We encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed a hate incident to report it to the Police straight away. It doesn’t matter if you have no personal information about the victim or perpetrator:

  • In an emergency always phone 999
  • In a non-emergency phone 101
  • Text 07786 200777
  • Minicom number 0845 345 3458
  • Fax number 1953 424299
  • Use the Police online reporting form
  • Or, make a report at your local police station or Norfolk County Council public building (e.g. public libraries).

You can also get support and advice from Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care if you have been a victim of a hate incident by contacting them on 0300 303 3706 or visit their website. Alternatively call their out of office support line on: 08 08 16 89 111