Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

  • ISSN: 2049-5471
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Legal outcomes: reflections on the implications of LGBT legal reforms in the UK for health and social care providers

Dr Bob Cant

Many barriers to legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in the UK have been removed in the years since 1997. This article argues that a major shift in the aspirations of the LGBT populations has taken place so that ‘Pride’ is seen as a priority, rather than ‘privacy.’ Cultural expressions of Pride occur in all parts of the world, and indicate ambitious sets of personal and political aspirations among LGBT people. Although most mainstream political parties and civil society are accepting of the legal changes, there is evidence of resistance to them both in popular culture and in the authoritarian sections of some religious institutions. The changes in the law as well as this shift in aspirations pose particular challenges for health and social care providers in terms of the way that they view these populations and engage with them.  This article explores three of the narratives that are most widely used to relate to the LGBT populations, namely sexual activity, community building and social networks. Research has identified that ‘homoscepticism’, or lack of awareness of such networks, is widespread in health and social care organizations. This article argues that the most inclusive of these narratives is that which relates to social networks, and it proposes that health and social care organizations should seek, through monitoring and other measures, to engage with the social networks of LGBT people. This will assist organizations in coming to know these populations better and thus being able to meet their needs more effectively.