LGBT+ History Month 2024

Author: Sian Dickie

In this blog, we will be exploring LGBT+ History Month and its theme for 2024 #UnderTheScope which according to Schools Out aims to celebrate “LGBT+ peoples’ contribution to the field of Medicine and Healthcare both historically and today.” 

What is it and why does it exist? 
  • LGBT+ History Month is celebrated every February across the UK
  • According to Schools Out, it was created to “claim our past, celebrate our present and create our future” 
  • LGBT+ History Month “was founded in 2004 by Schools OUT UK co-chairs, Paul Patrick & Professor Emeritus Sue Sanders.”
Why is the area of Medicine so important for LGBT+ people?

In 2021 the UK Census asked for the first time about sexual orientation and gender identity. This revealed that there were “More than 1.3 million people in England and Wales identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual [2.8%]”. Further, that there were “262,000 people (0.5%)” who “said their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth.”

While these questions around sexual orientation and gender identity were voluntary, the data tells us that there are LGBT+ people across our region. Therefore, it is important to make sure that there are health and care services which are accessible to this community. A report by The LGBT Foundation called “Hidden Figures: LGBT Health Inequalities in the UK” highlighted that “health inequalities are often further exacerbated by the barriers that [LGBT+] people face when accessing services to treat or support them” and that there is “a lack of understanding and training on how to adequately treat the person”. 

The “Hidden Figures” report sets out a “life course approach” which is designed to show the “importance of these stages and their cumulative impact on health and wellbeing.” It also demonstrates the intersectionality of the LGBT+ community, and how accessing services can be more complex if you are LGBT+ and disabled, and a Carer, with a Learning Disability or being from a Black and Minoritised Community and LGBT+. 

There are many reasons why it is important to consider a life-course approach. In a previous blog post we highlighted some of these areas, which included gender affirming care, cervical cancer screening awareness and hospice care for LGBT+ people. It is important that people are accessing the correct care for them, when they may need it. Further, wider determinants such as housing and homelessness can directly impact health outcomes for LGBT+ people who according to AKT’s LGBTQ Youth Homelessness report highlighted “the prevalent and dangerous impact of homelessness on young people’s mental health and wellbeing, with 92 per cent of respondents saying being homeless has had a negative impact on their mental health. Other impacts cited includes rejection, abuse, joblessness, financial insecurity and an inability to make positive friendships and relationships.”

A similar life-course approach has been set out for Women’s health, with the Women’s Health Strategy for England and subsequent North East North Cumbria Women’s Health Conference Evaluation. 

Supporting LGBT+ health and care staff 

In 2021, The King’s Fund highlighted the importance of supporting LGBTQIA+ staff in the NHS. Specifically noting that “Stonewall found that more than a quarter of lesbian, gay or bisexual staff reported experiencing bullying or poor treatment, related to their sexual orientation, from colleagues in the preceding five years. Almost one in ten were aware of colleagues experiencing discrimination as a result of being trans.” 

In 2022, NHS Confederation released this LGBTQ+ Inclusion Framework, which highlighted “six recommendations to help make NHS services and working environments more inclusive for LGBTQ+ staff and service users.” These included visible leadership, creating a strong knowledge base, and co-delivering services with partners. 

In 2023, the LGBTQ Leaders Network NHS Confederation in partnership with the LGBT Foundation released the “Leading for all: supporting trans and non-binary healthcare staff” guide which aims “to support, help and add value to healthcare leaders, and ensure their organisations are inclusive of the needs of trans and non-binary staff and patients.”

Highlighting contributions

Schools Out have created a selection of videos on this theme which highlights the contributions of LGBT+ people to the field of Medicine and healthcare. On this page you can find videos and content around LGBT History Month 2024.

Our North East and North Cumbria VCSE LGBT+ Sub-Group – New date!

Our VCSE Partnership Programme has topical Sub-Groups covering a wide range of communities, including LGBTQIA+. These groups are exclusive to the VCSE sector, span the geography of our Integrated Care System, provide representation and feed into our Partnership Forum, Executive Group and ICS-wide NHS networks and workstreams.

You do not need to be an LGBTQIA+ specific organisation to join this Sub-Group, you may have LGBT+ people who are your service users and beneficiaries, therefore this group is still relevant to you. 

The next LGBTQIA+ Sub-Group meeting is due to take place on Thursday 7th March 2024 at 1:00pm – 2:30pm. If you have any questions about this Sub-Group, please contact Sian Dickie, North East and North Cumbria Engagement Coordinator via her email If you would like to join the network and receive meeting invitations please sign up here.