In 2019, an estimated 1.4 million people in the UK aged 16 years and over (2.7% of the population) identified as LGB. The Government Equalities Office’s 2018 LGBT survey found that a proportion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) people indicated issues with access to healthcare services, and some reported avoiding treatment for fear of discrimination or intolerant reactions. This report is the first to present nationally representative data on the health of LGB adults in England.
Regarding alcohol harm the report found:
- The proportion of LGB adults who had increased risk or higher risk alcohol use (32%) was higher than the proportion of heterosexuals adults with the same (24%).
- LGB adults had more alcohol units, per week than heterosexual adults (average: 17.7 units vs. 12.7 units).
- The above patterns of alcohol use were similar among LGB adults in terms of gender and ethnicity.
- LGB adults were more affected by binge alcohol use than heterosexual adults. 40% LGB adults had more alcohol than the low-risk guidelines in any day in the past week vs. 32% heterosexual adults. This pattern was similar across LGB adults in terms of gender and ethnicity.
- LGB adults were less likely to have been sober on any day in the past week compared to heterosexual adults (35% vs. 39%). This pattern was similar across LGB adults in terms of gender.
Furthermore, the report found the following key findings regarding LGB people’s health:
- Limiting longstanding illness affected LGB adults more (26%) compared with heterosexual adults (22%).
- Overweight or obesity affected LGB adults less (51%) than heterosexual adults (63%).
- LGB adults experienced lower average mental well-being compared with heterosexual adults. LGB women reported the lowest well-being scores. The study used the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) to measure well-being.
Previously Movendi International reported on the disproportionate alcohol harm faced by Irish men. The EMIS survey carried out in 2017 found that 31% of gay and bisexual men in Ireland suffered from alcohol use disorder. Comparatively this is far higher than the 13% Irish men of the general population who suffer from the condition.
The pandemic is making things worse for LGBT people. Recent data from the United States (U.S.) found that 46% of transgender female students and 35% of queer-identifying students reported increased alcohol use since the start of COVID-19. There is a need for more support and alcohol prevention to help the LGBTQ+ community specifically during and after the current health crisis.