LGBT Young People's Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Not Met


A new report published today by LGBT Youth Scotland and launched at the Scottish Learning Festival portrays a worrying situation for many Scottish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people in regards to health. Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Health Report asked 350 respondents aged 13-25 questions about their experiences of being LGB or T in a range of services. This research shows the impact of not feeling supported and included by health services, placing LGBT students at further risk of poor mental and physical health.  Just over half (56.5%) of LGBT young people said they felt safe and supported by the NHS in terms of their sexual orientation or gender identity; this was much lower for LGBT young women (43.1%) and transgender young people (48.1%). When students are not healthy, they have a harder time attending or participating in education. This is compounded by experiencing discrimination in the learning environment.

'I suffered from depression as a teenager which led to anorexia. I was told by my doctor that the homophobic bullying may have triggered this.'

40.1% of LGBT young people considered themselves to have mental health problems, compared with the overall Scottish figure of 1 in 4. 43.6% of LGBT young people who experienced homophobic or biphobic bullying in education considered themselves to have mental health problems. 69.2% of those who had experienced transphobic bullying consider themselves to have mental health problems.

One of the unique aspects of the report is that it shows how LGBT young people experience the health services in different ways, depending upon their sexual orientation or gender identity. The findings show that transgender young people and LGBT young women in particular lack the confidence to discuss health issues with doctors.

  • 56% of all LGBT young people said they felt comfortable talking about sexual health issues with their doctor. This was even lower for transgender respondents (48%) and lesbian and gay women (43.2%).
  • 34.9% of LGB respondents and 66.7% of transgender young people were out to their doctor. Only 7.1% of bisexual women would feel comfortable coming out to their doctor.


'I was forced to come out to the practice nurse when she asked if I used condoms with my partner when having a smear test. Doctors and nurses need to be more gender neutral and aware that not everyone is straight.'

Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, Fergus McMillan said, “The launch of our research today at the Scottish Learning Festival is an appeal to all teachers and other educators to support the health needs of LGBT young people in education. When LGBT young people experience discrimination in education, or when they lack the confidence, support or information to access appropriate health services, their Health and Wellbeing Outcomes are not met. Teachers have the potential to improve educational outcomes for LGBT young people through LGBT inclusion and support.”

 Download the full press release here