Young people’s experiences
A 2018 Stonewall survey estimates that one in five LGBT+ people are not out about their sexual orientation to any healthcare professional when seeking general medical care, and that one in seven LGBT+ people have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination.
Over a two-year period, we talked to young people about their experiences of being LGBT+ and accessing health care and hopes for when they are there. They told us their priorities for improving healthcare experience for LGBT+ young people:
- Have people to support them - so young people have someone to talk to, know the local support groups and have someone who can listen without judgement
- Increase awareness of LGBT+ issues among health professionals so they can create an open and welcoming atmosphere - this is particularly important for young people who have not been able to get support at home
- Be mindful of the support they might need and how sensitive it is - for example, when a trans young person who identifies and lives as male needs to get support from a school nurse, GP or hospital for heavy periods
- Be aware that young people may be not as confident, have all the knowledge or know how to ask about sex and relationships, and so need to have safe people to talk to for the right information and advice
- Remember they might still be living with family or with friends and in school/work environments where there are openly negative views about the LGBT+ community
The Rainbow Health Youth Supporters pack
Central Bedfordshire Youth Parliament launched their campaign, ALL DIFFERENT, ALL EQUAL in 2018, following a consultation in 2017 where over 500 young people locally told us they wanted more support to “Protect LGBT+ people”. The aim is to break the stigma, support the creation of support groups in the area and highlight the discrimination still experienced by members of the community.
Between December 2018 and April 2019, they have worked on this supporters pack, which is for young people wanting to improve LGBT+ health services. The aim is to support awareness, reduce stigma and increase inclusiveness across the NHS. The pack includes:
- How to set up a Rainbow Health Youth Support Project
- How to get in touch with your local health services about LGBT+ health needs
- How to raise awareness of LGBT+ health needs, including an activity session
- Ideas for fundraising
LGBT+ links and resources
Through this work, we have identified a number of resources:
Transform are a youth group in Central Bedfordshire who have created two resources, available from email@example.com – one on transhealth and one on creating sports for all, which has lots of tips on inclusion and to support awareness.
In 2019, the CB Youth Voice group were featured in the State of Child Health &Us report, sharing their involvement in the Rainbow NHS Badge project.
Juno Dawson’s This Book Is Gay, written by a young adult author and former PSHE teacher, is a book that aims to ‘smash the myths and prejudices surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity’.
Stonewall's guide, Coming out as a young person gives lots of answers to questions young people often have when they are thinking about coming out, or are wondering if they are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Young people working with Gendered Intelligence and the Department of Health have written A guide for young trans people in the UK (PDF), with lots of useful information if you feel that your gender identity is different to the one you were assigned when you were born.
More information about gender identity can be found on the NHS information website, as well as GIDS (The Gender Identity Development Service), a highly specialised clinic that supports young people in relation to gender identity.
The Albert Kennedy Trust provide support for LGBT+ young people who may be living in a violent, abusive or hostile environment, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.