Lesbian Visibility Week survey reveals impact of pandemic on LGBT+ women and non-binary people | Stonewall
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Lesbian Visibility Week survey reveals impact of pandemic on LGBT+ women and non-binary people

  • New research finds 3 in 4 LGBT+ women and non-binary people (77 per cent) experiencing worse mental health due to the pandemic.

  • Top concerns include being unable to see family, worries about health of family and friends, and decreased mental wellbeing.

  • DIVA and Stonewall to uplift and celebrate lesbian community for Lesbian Visibility Week 2021.

Results released today for Lesbian Visibility Week 2021 show the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on lesbian, bi, trans and queer women and non-binary people in the UK and beyond.

The survey found that 3 in 4 LGBT+ women and non-binary people (77 per cent) reported worse mental health as the result of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns. Over half (52 per cent) of respondents had accessed mental health services in the past 12 months, while a further 12 per cent had tried to access mental health services but were unsuccessful.

Of the almost 2000 respondents, 72 per cent identify as a lesbian, 16 per cent identify as bi, 5 per cent identify as gay, and 1 per cent identify as asexual. The majority of the group are cis women, while 6 per cent of the group are non-binary and 4 per cent are trans women. 

When asked about their specific concerns relating to the pandemic, and lockdowns, almost two thirds of respondents (63 per cent) cited being unable to see friends and family, more than half (51 per cent) were worried about the health of their friends and family, and almost half (48 per cent) were concerned about decreased wellbeing.

While impacts of the pandemic were a key finding of the research, the survey also looked at wider challenges that LGBT+ women and non-binary people are facing in the UK.

The results found that bi people were less likely to be open with their friends and family about their sexual orientation, with 31 per cent of bi women and non-binary respondents being open with all of their close friends about their sexual orientation, compared to 55 per cent of their lesbian counterparts. The survey also found that 50 per cent of bi respondents are open with most or all of their family members about their sexual orientation, compared to 81 per cent of their lesbian counterparts.

Other key figures showed:

  • Of respondents with children, more than 1 in 3 (36 per cent) experienced barriers or challenges whilst trying to start or grow their family.
  • More than 4 in 5 (81 per cent) of the LGBT+ women in the sample are open with most or all of their friends about their sexual orientation, while just over 4 per cent are not open with any of their close friends.
  • Of the 61 per cent of respondents who were in a relationship at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, almost nine in ten (87 per cent) had stayed coupled up.

The survey, which was commissioned by DIVA and sponsored by P&G, Citi and Tesco launches today for the start of Lesbian Visibility Week 2021 which runs from Monday April 26th until May 2nd.

Lesbian Visibility Week was founded in 2020 by Linda Riley, DIVA magazine publisher, to support, celebrate and uplift the lesbian community. This year, DIVA have partnered with Stonewall to bring a week of events, laughter and learning for the community.

Throughout the week, DIVA will host their iconic Visible 100 list, highlight heroes of the community at the DIVA Awards, and put on a DIVA Pride. Stonewall are offering series of three free interactive events to support lesbians in the workplace, and award-winning comedian Catherine Bohart is set to host ‘Stonewall presents GIGLESS’, a virtual comedy night in support of the week.

As well as all of this, there will be virtual workshops and events every day of the week, exploring topics from faith and activism, to sports and community. With something for everyone, the organisations are encouraging all LGBT+ women and non-binary people to come along to every and any event which takes their fancy.

Linda Riley, Founder of Lesbian Visibility Week (she/her) said: ‘I am delighted to have founded Lesbian Visibility Week and be working with Stonewall to build an innovative programme of events around Lesbian Visibility. For too long the L in LGBT+ has been under-represented and not celebrated within the LGBT+ community, hopefully Lesbian Visibility week will finally give our voices a chance to shine.’

Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive, Stonewall (she/her) said: ‘We’re so excited to be partnering with DIVA this year to continue Linda Riley’s brilliant work in founding Lesbian Visibility Week, and create space to empower and uplift the lesbian community.

‘The last year has been hard for every one of us, and this survey highlights some of the challenges faced by LBTQ+ women and non-binary people throughout this time. But it also shows the need to come together in celebration.

‘As a lesbian, I love our community, and I love the way that we support and champion each other. That’s why I’m so thrilled about the fantastic series of events that we’ve put on together. From the DIVA Visible 100, to Stonewall Presents GIGLESS, hosted by the incredible Catherine Bohart, and much more, this Lesbian Visibility Week will be a powerful, joyful celebration for all of us.’

Caroline Frankum, Global CEO, Kantar Profiles Division (she/her) and Sophia Papadopoulos, Global Chair, Pride@Kantar (she/her) said: ‘With this year’s Lesbian Visibility Week taking place against an uncertain and evolving landscape of easing COVID-19 restrictions, this report serves to provide a roadmap for how the community can emerge stronger than ever beyond the pandemic. This is a pivotal moment to inform the agenda for how society, government and corporations can better understand this diverse community and inspire their growth.’