Pride and prejudice: LGBT+ people and optometry

Jo Waters asks what optometrists need to consider when seeing LGBT+ patients, and how to make your practice more welcoming.

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The proportion of the UK population who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual increased from 1.5% to 2% between 2012 and 2017: around 1.1 million people (Office for National Statistics, 2019). In addition, it is estimated that up to 500,000 people identify as transgender (Government Equalities Office, 2018). The LGBT+ community is growing fast. The term LGBT+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, plus a number of gender- and sexuality-based identities: for example queer, pansexual and intersex (see Glossary of some LGBT+ terms, below).

Although there is now wide acceptance of the LGBT+ community in the UK, and the Equality Act 2010 protects most people from discrimination, homophobia and barriers to healthcare access remain disappointingly common (Stonewall, 2018).

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