House of Lords debates health care for lesbian, bisexual and trans women

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The House of Lords has passionately debated on health care needs for lesbian, bisexual and trans women.

Baroness Barker opened the debate, and talked about lesbian and bisexual women’s unique issues when accessing health care. She mentioned health care professionals assuming their patients are heterosexual, and not having accurate information about sexual health for lesbian and bisexual women.

She asked the government to put forward a strategy to promote the health of lesbian and bisexual women, to accurately monitor sexual orientation data in the NHS, and to ensure GPs are trained to treat lesbian and bisexual women with respect.

Lord Cashman was keen to point out discrimination against trans people in particular. He said: “I make a special plea on behalf of the trans community. Trans women and men are so often forgotten in the language of non-discrimination. Their needs are overlooked and it is shocking, indeed shameful, that the World Health Organization still classifies trans as a pathological disorder.”

Baroness Gould outlined the medical pathway many trans women take, and discrimination faced by trans women from healthcare professionals. She discussed the many accounts of trans women having their trans status brought up during unrelated medical care.

Earl Howe, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Health, praised Baroness Barker for securing a debate on the subject for the first time. He detailed the government’s funding of health projects by LGBT organisations, agreed that more needed to be done to tackle poor treatment of LGBT patients and outlined how the Deparment of Health was dealing with problems in trans health care.

Baroness Barker told PinkNews “Members of the House of Lords gave strong support to the excellent work of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, Trans Health network and Stonewall to highlight how the NHS must improve health services for lesbian, bi and trans women.

It is now up to the RCGP, the RCN and Health Education England to address their professional deficiencies and stop neglecting LBT women patients. Our communities should be healthy communities and it is up to us to ensure that the NHS treats LBT patients with respect.”