Hidden Figures is a new report by LGBT Foundation which presents an assessment of the many health inequalities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities.

Health inequalities arise at different stages of people’s lives, and LGBT people often experience specific further discrimination and marginalisation when accessing services to address these health inequalities. This report uses a life course ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach to highlight the importance of these stages and their cumulative impact on health and wellbeing. It also attempts to showcase the unique inequalities faced by LGBT people throughout the entirety of their lives.

The report marks the largest and most substantive look at the health inequalities faced by LGBT people across their lives, bringing together research and insights from a wide array of organisations and public sector bodies. It draws from relevant research, papers, surveys, and NHS and Government data and statistics. It also contains a range of data on LGBT Foundation’s services and insights from LGBT Foundation service users. These have been gathered through analysis of the wide range of community services offered by LGBT Foundation such as our Substance Misuse programme, Domestic Abuse programme and Talking Therapies programme.

Key findings included in the report include higher rates of homelessness, domestic abuse and sexual violence experienced by people from LGBT communities. It further demonstrates generally poorer health outcomes, with lower rates of physical activity and a substantially higher instances of mental health issues and drug/alcohol dependency. Overall, the report highlights how multiple health inequalities across a lifespan can impact sequentially and can lead to significantly worse health outcomes.

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, says:

“To the casual observer, it may seem that there has never been a better time to be LGBT in the UK. What we are hoping to highlight with ‘Hidden Figures’ is the vast array of work that still needs to be done and the mountains we still have left to climb.

We want to ensure that no LGBT person is left behind. There is always a risk that people at the margins who experience discrimination, rejection, and multiple barriers, are not visible, and end up even more excluded. We want to shine a light on their experiences and ensure that their needs are recognised in the services of the future which focus on people, how they live their lives in their communities, and support them to achieve their aspirations.

By publishing this report, we hope that commissioners and decision makers can see the true extent of the health inequalities affecting LGBT people. By taking remedial action to give LGBT people more control over their own destinies and removing the structural barriers that many of our communities face, together we can achieve a fair and equal society in which all LGBT people can achieve their full potential.”