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21 February 2024

King's experts unite to fight LGBTQ+ health inequalities

A 'supergroup’ of experts from across the University are pooling their knowledge and resources to help establish King’s as a global centre of research excellence in LGBTQ+ health.

Stethoscope and LGBT rainbow ribbon pride symbol

The team will support the development of a cross-Faculty, multi-disciplinary, team looking at LGBTQ+ health inequalities.

It will bring together researchers with varied expertise in epidemiology, sociology, medicine, nursing, mental health, linguistics, and media studies – all of whom have expertise in LGBTQ+ lives, or data from large-scale studies that have collected information on health, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The team will reanalyze these data to shed further light on why people from these communities suffer poorer health outcomes than those identifying as heterosexual or cisgender.

According to project co-lead, Laia Becares, Professor of Social Science and Health in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, LGBTQ+ people experience alarming health inequalities throughout their lives.

She said: “They are more likely than heterosexual and/or cisgender people to experience depression and anxiety, over twice as likely to attempt suicide, and have higher rates of harmful health behaviours. They are also less likely to seek care for physical problems, more likely to seek mental health care, and have lower levels of satisfaction when accessing services.

At a time when LGBTQ+ rights are increasingly under threat in the UK and around the world, we see an urgent need to mobilise King’s expertise and data resources to achieve health equity for LGBTQ+ populations.

Laia Becares, Professor of Social Science and Health in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine

Combining methods, data, and insights from SSPP, Arts & Humanities, IoPPN, Florence Nightingale and FoLSM, alongside King’s College Hospital, the KCL Cultural Competency Unit, and Queer@King’s, the project aims to improve the health and lives of LGBTQ+ people and establish King’s as a global centre of research excellence in LGBTQ+ health equity.

The project will support two key activities. Firstly, it will establish new connections and accelerate collaboration between King’s staff working in the area of LGBTQ+ health across all its faculties.

Secondly, it will scope suitable datasets, obtain data access, and conduct preliminary analysis of them in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to project co-lead Dr Katherine Bristowe, Senior Lecturer at the Cicely Saunders Institute in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care, King’s can address the gap in knowledge and action around LGBTQ+ health inequalities.

She said: “We have extensive expertise in LGBTQ+ health and host several health and social studies that have collected data on participants’ sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

“However, these existing datasets have not been analyzed in relation to LGBTQ+ equity in large part because academics routinely work in siloed disciplines with limited opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. This project aims to facilitate conversations and collaborations between these silos.”

“Understanding and undoing LGBTQ+ health inequalities requires us to do academic knowledge differently – to think beyond our disciplinary homes and discreet methodological commitments. This project helps advance that recalibration.

Dr Zeena Feldman, Director of Queer@King’s and Senior Lecturer in Digital Culture in the Department of Digital Humanities

The project is funded by King’s Together, a seed-funding scheme offering £1,000,000 per annum to support the development of multi and inter disciplinary projects that address King’s strategic research themes of Sustainable Growth, Culture & Identity, Healthy Lives, and Social Justice.

Read more about the Structural and life course determinants of LGBTQ+ health inequalities project.

In this story

Zeena Feldman_Approved_2401

Senior Lecturer in Digital Culture

Image of Katherine Bristowe

Herbert Dunhill Senior Lecturer

Laia Becares Profile

Professor of Social Science and Health