Over the last two decades, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities have seen legislative change which has led to greater acceptance. However, there is still a huge lack of evidence about LGBT people, our needs and experiences. Monitoring sexual orientation, gender identity and trans status is a proven way to address that lack of evidence. Championing sexual orientation and trans status monitoring for service users and staff across all public services is a key an organisational priority for LGBT Foundation. You can read more about our recommended approach and download our guidance to implementing monitoring in the resources section at the end of the page.
Sexual Orientation Monitoring
LGBT Foundation worked with NHS England and a number of stakeholders to make sure that healthcare services collect information on patient sexual orientation and use this to improve services by creating a sexual orientation monitoring Information Standard.
What is an information standard for sexual orientation monitoring?
Information standards are used across the health and social care system to help collect and process information. This standard enables health and social care organisations to monitor sexual orientation in a way that is consistent with all other parts of the healthcare system. It is classed as a ‘fundamental standard’, meaning that it applies across all of health and social care.
Key benefits for patients and service users are:
· Equality of access to services.
· Improved services, more specific to your needs.
· Creating a culture of inclusivity and openness with the service provider.
We know from research that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people experience health inequalities compared to heterosexual people, such as being at higher risk of poor mental health, or missing out on routine health screening. If your healthcare service collects information on patient sexual orientation, they will be able to target specific health promotion and services to LGB patients: for example, promoting cervical screening to lesbian and bisexual women; or referring young LGB people experiencing poor mental health to a specific LGB young people’s service.
Trans status monitoring
LGBT Foundation supports monitoring trans status as there is a significant lack of evidence about the needs and experiences of trans people. We believe that monitoring, sensitively implemented, is a clear way to address that lack of evidence and make our needs and experiences heard. Not counting trans people as part of wider equalities monitoring suggests that trans people’s needs don’t count, and we want to contest that. You can download our briefing sheet on trans status monitoring below.