Current experience of Health & Wellbeing in Hampshire:
Large numbers of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) are able to live openly, happy and successful lives. However, many others face complex challenges. The day-to-day experience of many LGBT people is:
- hate crime based on their sexual or gender identity.
Many continue to experience rejection or the fear of rejection by family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, and as a result avoid ‘coming out’ or revert to their birth gender in many spheres of their lives. Whilst many have no issues or concerns regarding their own identity, they are often aware of others, such as a partner, who are and will contend with and deal with these issues – the intolerance of other people, a lack of understanding or acceptance from others.
- is ignorant,
- is outright hostile
…and can result in acute health inequalities including depression, anxiety or other forms of stress-related illness and poor mental health, which then leads to drug or alcohol abuse and sometimes continues onto excessive sexual encounters. It can lead to breakdowns between partners, families, neighbours and colleagues which might lead to loss of a job and even experience homelessness.
Many LGBT people feel unable to access mental health services, even in a crisis.
Reasons may include:
- previous experience of poor, non-inclusive treatment or support,
- fear of having to explain or ‘out’ themselves a first time or again and again, even when it is in their notes
- not wanting to challenge a person’s incorrect assumption.
Coupled with these complex needs is a widespread lack of understanding of the day to day experiences and challenges faced by many LGBT people.
The response of many mainstream health and support services often fails to fully meet the needs of LGBT people.