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Universal Understanding: Key Statistics & Concerns


20 Jan 2016

In the third part of our weekly feature sex, intimacy and relationships therapist, Emma Ziff, explores common LGBT concerns and key statistics.

Key statistics

The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) in 2010 asked: “which best describes how you think of yourself: a) heterosexual/straight; b) gay/lesbian; c) bisexual, d) other?”

Over an age-range from 16 to 74, 1 per cent of women and 1.5 per cent of men consider themselves gay/lesbian, and 1.4 per cent of women and 1 per cent of men think of themselves as bisexual. But there is a clear gradient with age, with a much higher proportion in younger people, particularly in women.

These figures were generated five years ago, so these statistics are believed to have changed significantly as people are feeling more comfortable divulging their sexuality.

The Office of National Statistics in 2013 released the following:

1.6 per cent of UK adults aged 16 plus gave their sexual identity as lesbian, gay or bisexual; men were twice as likely as women to state their sexual identity as gay or lesbian; 3.2% of London residents aged 16 plus identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual in 2013, the highest percentage across all areas of the UK.

Common LGBT concerns

As with heterosexual customers, note that sexual and physical violence could be divulged to you from LGBT clients, whether from a partner or someone they did not know. BrokenRainbow.org is an organisation specifically who support LGBT Domestic Violence.

IVF and Surrogacy are increasing tremendously due to clinics around the UK more readily offering services for the LGBT community. We are finding that this is being discussed more and more with pharmacists.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are higher in the LGBT community. Around half of lesbian and bisexual women have never had a sexual

health screening, which again suggests that they may be at higher risk of late diagnosis of chlamydia and possibly cervical cancer. Half of these women are not ‘out’ to their doctors for various concerns, but would like to, to enhance the medical care they receive.

Certain STIs, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis, can spread between women. Oral sex and sexual behaviour involving digital-vaginal or digital-anal contact, particularly with shared penetrative sex toys, can spread infections as well. Female sexual contact is also a possible means of contracting HIV.

Men who have sex with men are 11 times more likely to have chlamydia than their heterosexual peers, which suggests chlamydia rates may be higher among young gay and bisexual men.

They also have increased risk of contracting HIV, as well as other STIs, including hepatitis, HPV, herpes simplex, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis. However, I would always emphasise the importance of presuming a higher risk due to one’s sexuality.

Depression and self-harm: new research published in the Journal of Public Health showed bisexual women were 64 per cent more likely to report an eating problem and 37 per cent more likely to have deliberately self-harmed than lesbians. They were also 26 per cent more likely to have felt depressed and 20 per cent more likely to have suffered from anxiety in the previous year than lesbians.

Come back tomorrow as Emma Ziff explores the ‘T’ of LGBT and offers you advice on learning about your locality.


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