LGBT Health

Issue 81

This originally appeared in BCN issue 81, Sept 2006

The first National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Summit was held in London in June and highlighted key health issues and inequalities for our communities.  150 delegates from across the United Kingdom shared experiences and heard presentations on key issues in LGB and T health, such as on disability, crime, mental health, the impact of stereotypes and identity, ageing, smoking, drugs, alcohol and transgender health issues.

Speakers and delegates from the statutory and voluntary sectors were welcomed by the Department of Health Equality and Human Rights Director, Surinder Sharma. Mr Sharma said: ‘I am delighted to be chairing one of the sessions so I can hear first-hand both the successes and the challenges for the NHS in meeting the needs of the LGBT community’.

The summit premiered a commissioned film on transgender people’s experiences of general health services such as dentistry and general  practice which will form the basis of a training resource on transgender health to be developed in partnership by Health First.  The summit also showed the Department of Health’s new web-based films for raising awareness of LGBT health issues – Real Stories, Real  Lives.

Will Nutland, from the Terrence Higgins Trust, reflected that the involvement of the Department of Health and the NHS represented a ‘massive political sea change in how the queer community is viewed’, he went on to say ‘it is essential that organizations, both voluntary and statutory, talk and listen to lgb and t people and work with them to provide services and resources that are accessible to all’.

Graham Rushbrook, Director of Health First, one of the summit sponsors, chaired a panel of the devolved nations presenting the wide range of approaches being taken to LGB and T issues across the UK. The Scottish Health Inclusion Project and the Department of Health Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advisory Group in England were both key sponsors of the event and supporters of a developing national agenda on LGB and T health.

Delegates called for engagement in this new LGB and T health movement in the UK at all levels and an e-group has been established to take forward the networking and development across the UK. The e-group details are at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LGBTHealthUK

The LGBT Health Summit 2007 will be hosted by the LGF in Manchester.