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Research reveals impact of pandemic on LGBT+ communities in Britain

09 November 2021

A new report published today by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) highlights the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK LGBT+ communities.

The report, undertaken by NatCen with the support of Consortium, LGBT Foundation, Intercom Trust and Stonewall, is the first large-scale review of evidence on the experiences of LGBT+ people in Britain during the pandemic.

It identifies how the loss of safe and supportive spaces and peer groups, including disruption to LGBT+ services, have impacted on the mental health, wellbeing and safety of LGBT+ communities in the UK.

In surveys and research studies conducted during the pandemic, trans and younger LGBT+ people reported being more likely to self-harm and attempt or think about suicide.

This is attributed to increased feelings of loneliness and isolation, compounded by difficulties accessing mental health support during lockdowns.

Trans participants in research studies also described how lockdowns and reduced access to medication and transition-related care during the pandemic had exacerbated gender dysphoria and mental health difficulties.

Members of the LGBT+ community also reported increased substance use and impacts on their financial wellbeing during the pandemic.

The research highlights a need to explore the experiences of specific groups, in particular LGBT+ people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and LGBT+ people of colour, as well as LGBT+ disabled people, for which there are significant evidence gaps.

The research team is currently conducting focus group research with underrepresented LGBT+ communities to fill these evidence gaps, and will be publishing findings in due course.

Nathan Hudson, Research Director at NatCen, said: “LGBT+ communities’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been wide-ranging, with negative impacts on mental health, safety and access to services. That there are significant evidence gaps for particular LGBT+ communities is concerning, and shows the need for further research to help ensure no group is left behind in our recovery from COVID-19.”

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of Consortium, said: “These findings are important as they confirm what LGBT+ organisations have been saying during the pandemic. Our communities have been hard hit when many inequalities already existed. I am pleased this research will now go further and look at what solutions we can put in place to create stronger, sustainable and resilient LGBT+ communities.”                                                                                                                

ENDS

Click here to read the full report. 

With all media enquiries please contact:

Oliver Paynel, Communications Manager, National Centre for Social Research
email: oliver.paynel@natcen.ac.uk, tel: 0207 549 9550, mob: 07734 960 071

Katie Crabb, Head of Marketing and Communications, National Centre for Social Research
email: katie.crabb@natcen.ac.uk, tel: 0207 549 8504

Notes to editors

1. The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), Britain’s largest independent social research organisation, aims to promote a better-informed society through high quality social research (www.natcen.ac.uk).

2. Researchers from NatCen systematically reviewed and synthesised available evidence on the experiences of UK LGBT+ communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, they analysed survey data collected from 1,745 people who participated in surveys held in April and June 2020 by Intercom Trust, LGBT Foundation and Stonewall.

3. The evidence reviewed and synthesised in this report provides rich and much-needed insight into the experiences of UK LGBT+ communities across a wide range of policy areas. However, due to methodological limitations, it is not statistically representative of the LGBT+ community.

4. This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) under grant ES/V01546X/1 (www.esrc.ukri.org).

5. Consortium is the UKs umbrella body for LGBT+ voluntary and community organisations. Consortium provides support to approx. 420 LGBT+ organisations (www.consortium.lgbt).

6. The Intercom Trust is a community-led, LGBT+ provider of support for individuals, communities, and organisations in the South West. We aim to work together to build a South West where LGBT+ people and others can live with equality and respect, whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity (www.intercomtrust.org.uk).

7. LGBT Foundation is a national charity delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. With a history dating back to 1975, they campaign for a fair and equal society where all LGBT people can achieve their full potential. (https://lgbt.foundation).
 
8. Stonewall is Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, working to create a world where every single person can be accepted without exception.  It campaigns to eliminate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in communities, and empowers LGBT people and their allies to be role models wherever they live, work, study, shop, socialise or pray (www.stonewall.org.uk).