Research by Stonewall and the Runnymede Trust examines the experiences of black and minority ethnic gay people accessing public services. The research, based on detailed interviews with black and minority ethnic gay people, shows that many public service workers rarely consider the possibility of multiple identities and most have little or no training to encourage them to do so.
Participants explained how widespread assumptions that black and minority ethnic people are always heterosexual and that a lack of understanding and training around ethnicity and sexual orientation result in public services offering inappropriate and poor-quality service responses.
This report highlights where our publics services are not yet getting things right for black and minority ethnic gay people and suggests some actions that service deliverers could take to ensure they’re providing an equal service for all of their service users – black, white, straight or gay.
The lesbian, gay and bisexual population is ethnically diverse, yet many black and minority ethnic gay people report it’s only the colour of their skin that doctors see. Black and minority ethnic lesbian, gay and bisexual people have health needs that are not being met by the health service, most notably drug use, mental health and domestic abuse. Worryingly, young black and minority ethnic gay pupils report high levels of self-harm and suicide alongside significant levels of homophobic bullying at school.
This briefing provides evidence that black and minority ethnic lesbian, gay and bisexual people are more likely to have self-harmed, attempted suicide and taken drugs than men and women in general. A large number of black and minority ethnic lesbian, gay and bisexual people also report negative experiences when accessing healthcare in the past year.
Healthcare organisations need to recognise that people can be both black and gay. By neglecting a part of who someone is, patients are less likely to be at ease, less likely to put trust in healthcare professionals, and less likely to get the help they need.
Stonewall’s following publications provide a breakdown on the basis of ethnicity, where relevant:
Other research on ethnicity and sexual orientation includes: