Report puts bi & lesbian women’s health needs in focus

"beyond babies" lgf report cover‘Beyond Babies & Breast Cancer – Expanding our understanding of women’s health needs’ is a new report for all those interested in providing appropriate and equitable health services published by Manchester-based Lesbian & Gay Foundation.

The report has been produced following a large-scale research review of over seventy pieces of research from Britain and across the globe. It brings together evidence from many different sources including large-scale general population studies, smaller scale community studies and qualitative research to paint a vivid picture of the health needs of lesbian and bisexual women and of their experiences of accessing health care.

Pleasingly, it frequently separates out bisexual and lesbian experience – sometimes highlighting some stark differences.

The health needs of lesbian and bisexual women are sometimes doubly hidden – both within information on ‘women’s health’ and information on the health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in general. We believe ‘Beyond Babies and Breast Cancer’ is the first large-scale report which tries to bring together evidence to address this invisibility, in a similar way to how the Bisexuality Report assembled information about bi life.

As well as bringing together evidence, the report makes five central recommendations. These are:

  • COMMUNICATE in a non-discriminatory way, without making assumptions about sexual orientation, to create a safe and respectful environment for everyone.

  • MONITOR sexual orientation as part of your equality data and use the findings to inform future plans.

  • INCLUDE lesbian and bisexual women’s needs in mainstream health information, services, policies and strategies.

  • TARGET bisexual & lesbian women with specific health information and campaigns.

  • DEVELOP specialist health and support services for bisexual and gay women, their partners and families.

The report is accompanied by four action plans, aimed at Clinicians, Commissioners, Managers, Decision Makers and Researchers, which give practical advice on how these recommendations can be implemented. The report and action plans can be downloaded as pdfs here.

If you would like a paper copy of the report, or have any questions about healthcare for lesbian and bisexual women, please email women@lgf.org.uk or call 0845 3 30 30 30.