A week full of events, networking and education all about LBT women’s health
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE BY RACHEL MANNS
For the fourth year running, LBT Women’s Health Week returned to highlight the inequality faced by lesbian, bisexual and trans women in the UK when it comes to healthcare.
While it is well-known that there is a disparity of healthcare between genders, the fact that LBT women face poorer care than straight, cisgender women remains an issue that is rarely discussed.
During this year’s LBT Women’s Health Week, numerous events took place all over the UK where LGBTQI women and non-binary people were able to share their time and expertise to make sure that our community is educated and informed on the matter of LBT Women’s Health.
According to a survey conducted by the Government Equalities Office, 8.1% of lesbian, 5.9% of bisexual and 12.1% of queer cis women and 15.4% of trans women experienced inappropriate questions or curiosity because of their sexual orientation when accessing healthcare in the last year. Health professionals frequently make heteronormative and cis-normative assumptions that lead to misunderstandings, making the experience of seeing a doctor a hugely uncomfortable experience for many.
LBT Women’s Health Week 2020 also provided women and non-binary people all over the UK with an opportunity to meet like-minded people from our community and to build connections which can extend beyond the week to make awareness of our health inequalities more prevalent and give us the tools to address them. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights of the events that took place last week.
Monday 9 March
For the first day of the week, Yorkshire MESMAC held a sexual health workshop including information and STI and pregnancy testing for women and non-binary people.
This is extremely important for the LGBTQI community as the teen pregnancy rate is higher for lesbian and bisexual women than for heterosexuals, with adolescent bisexual women being twice as likely as heterosexual women to become pregnant.
There was also a lunch and learn session for parliamentary staff and a lecture on the experiences of lesbian parents of adopted children in Birmingham.
The launch of the week took place in the evening, hosted by ELOP and London Friend, where the community came together to celebrate the start of LBT Women’s Health Week 2020.
Tuesday 10 March
Day two of LBT Women’s Health Week included a debate in the Main Chamber of the House of Commons, where LGBTQI women’s health and social care was discussed in depth. You can read the full transcript from the debate here.
A Reception for LGBTQI women and non-binary people working to improve our communities’ health and wellbeing took place in the evening, supporting and recognising the work of this group by bringing individuals together to network and hear about some of the key issues we’re facing.
Wednesday 11 March
The third day of LBT Women’s Health Week fell upon National Stop Smoking Day so discussions took a particular focus on smoking, drugs and alcohol. This is an important to discuss within the LGBTQI community as statistics from the LGBT Foundation show that 31% of lesbians and 22% of bisexual women smoke, compared to 17% of heterosexual women.
Sexual health drop-ins took place at Hull Women’s Centre and Preston Road Women’s Centre and a sexual health workshop for LBT women took place at the University of York.
In the afternoon, Baroness Liz Barker hosted a panel discussion in the House of Lords where researchers, practitioners and other experts shared their knowledge on LGBTQI women’s health inequalities.
Thursday 12 March
A Twitter Q&A took place online, where people could come with their questions and learn more about LBT Women’s Health no matter where they were based in the UK.
A great question for the #LBTWomensHealth20 panel here. @birminghamlgbt, @LGBTfdn, @MindOutLGBTQ, @ELOP_LGBT, @OpeningDoorsLdn you all cover different areas, what’s near you & how can we find stuff nationally? @roropanolo how can bi women in particular find networks & spaces? https://t.co/2CQvY8K46T— LGB&T Partnership (@LGBTPartnership) March 12, 2020
Friday 13 March
As LBT Women’s Health Week drew to a close an LBT Dance Workshop took place in East London enabling participants to express themselves through movement and mindfulness.
An all day LGBT Health Best Practice event also took place in Manchester where many LGBTQI women and non-binary people came together (alongside their male colleagues) to expand their knowledge.
Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 March
To round off the week, Sugar and Spice in Manchester hosted two separate events: Sexual health testing and a wellbeing event in order to support the LGBTQI community.
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