Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender LGBT+ (health and wellbeing needs in South Tyneside)


Although good progress has been made in the field of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the UK, there are still people who experience discrimination across the life-course as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT+ people are also unequally affected by a number of health issues and wider determinants which may also impact on their future outcomes.

Policy and decision makers have a duty under the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010 to take the health needs of LGBT+ communities in planning and delivering publicly funded services.

This health needs assessment contributes to both these duties by highlighting the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population in South Tyneside. By building a better understanding of these needs as part of the JSNAA- public sector organisations can use this knowledge to further reduce the health inequalities experienced by sexual and gender minorities.

In law, the term "LGBT+" covers two protected characteristics under the Equality Act (2010): sexual orientation and gender identity.  However, for the purposes of understanding different needs, the term LGBT+ is used here to cover four distinct groups with very different needs and expectations:

  • Lesbian - a woman who is attracted to other women
  • Gay - a man or woman who is attracted to people of the same gender
  • Bisexual - a person attracted to the same gender and / or opposite gender
  • Transgender - a person whose gender identity and / or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. 

There are two additional groups - men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with women (WSW). These people do not identify as gay or lesbian and would not consider themselves to be part of the LGBT+ community, but because of common behaviours may also share similar inequalities and health risk factors.

These terms are used interchangeably for the purpose of this report however. individuals may also use different terms to describe their sexuality which aren't covered here.

It is worth noting that LGBT+ people should not be defined by their sexuality alone. Within the LGBT+ population there are intersectionality's of race or disability which create greater health inequalities. These complexities or not covered by this chapter.