Mike Cullen at the LGBT Foundation wrote the following blog post for us about Sexual Orientation and Trans Status Monitoring and Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Women’s health.
LBT Health Week is a great opportunity to talk about monitoring, which continues to be a key part of the work of the LGBT Partnership and has been for a number of years. For those of us working in the sector we’re very aware of the health inequalities that LBT women experience, such as poor mental health, sexual and reproductive health inequalities and higher rates of cancer. Yet often these inequalities are not addressed by mainstream services and so the needs of our communities go unmet. To put it simply, if we’re not counted we don’t count.
Invisibility within services means that they are unaware of the specific health needs our communities often experience. Monitoring the sexual orientation, trans status and gender identity of service users is the simplest way to start addressing that.
It means that an evidence base can be built and as a result targeted preventative work can be done to help reduce these inequalities. We know for example that LB women are less likely to access cervical cancer screenings than their heterosexual counterparts. Monitoring means that when LB women access services health care professionals can ensure they are given the correct information.
Another benefit of monitoring is that it shows you are acknowledging someone’s identity and are seeing them as a whole person. This helps to reduce barriers to accessing services and creates an environment of openness where people are more likely to discuss their health concerns. When services have a fuller picture of who is sat in front of them, they are able to diagnose and treat people faster, as well as signpost to services suited to individual needs. Monitoring alone isn’t going to reduce all of the health inequalities that LBT women experience, but it’s a great first step.
For further guidance on monitoring please visit lgbt.foundation/monitoring