Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Health Week
Published: 13 March 2017 Tags: lgbt partnership, healthcare, womens programme By John Walding
The first ever National Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Health Week takes place this week (13-17 March 2017) launched by the National LGBT Partnership. The aim of the week is to raise awareness about lesbian and bisexual women’s health inequalities, to make it simple for service providers to empower service users.
It can be easy to put off important health checks, especially if you are a lesbian or bisexual woman who has experienced discrimination when accessing your local primary care service.
To help challenge this,Pride in Practice our quality assurance service offers support, training and advice to GPs, dentists, pharmacists and optometrists to help make services more inclusive to LGBT people.
From challenging women over contraception to lesbians being told they do not need cervical screening there are still many ways in which GP’s and primary care staff are not aware of the health needs of many lesbian & bisexual women.
The National LGBT Partnership have put together many useful factsheets on access to Health Care, Mental Health, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Smoking and Alcohol and recommendations for health care providers to help improve services and access for lesbian & bisexual women.
Below are a some quotes from lesbian & bisexual women who share their experiences of how some GP’s could be a little more educated about LB women’s lives:
‘When I saw my GP to address some health problems, I explained I'd had same sex partners, and he had a coughing fit so bad I offered to get him a glass of water.’
‘My GP does not acknowledge my sexuality and assumes as I have children I identify as heterosexual.’
‘I was told I was greedy by a GP for being Bi even though I've been with my partner for five and a half years and we are due to get married.’
“I have had GPs stare at me in silence when I said my partner was a woman. One GP told me she didn't know what STIs I could get as a women who was having sex with women.”
Pride in Practice is working with some fantastic GPs and we do receive many positive comments from lesbian & bisexual women about their experiences of primary care but clearly there is still a lot of work to do!
If you have any experiences you would like to share, either to celebrate good practice or to highlight where more work needs to be done why not let us know via email: [email protected]
Find out more about LGBT Foundation’s Women's Programme which aims to support and empower all lesbian and bisexual women to improve their health and wellbeing, increase their skills, knowledge and confidence, and reducing their feelings of isolation.