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Home  »   LGBT+Latest News   »   LGBT+ Pharmacists’ Network Newsletter – April 2022

LGBT+ Pharmacists’ Network Newsletter – April 2022

In this April update, read about how cervical cancer screenings can be improved for transgender men and non-binary people. Also, read about the research showing that the LGBT+ community is facing poorer health and social care outcomes compared to other members of society.

Wed 20th April 2022 The PDA

In this issue:
  • The launch of The Queer Mental Health Workbook
  • Improving cervical cancer screenings for transgender men and non-binary people
  • LGBT+ health needs more focus
  • Get involved
  • In case you missed it

The launch of The Queer Mental Health Workbook

By Scott Rutherford (he/they), President of the PDA LGBT+ Network and fourth year MPharm student


Sitting down in a bookshop for a book launch, with a mocha in hand, and surrounded by queer people proved to be as wholesome of an experience as you could imagine. It was nice to be in a space for queer people which did not centre around alcohol, one of the issues facing the LGBT+ community which has historically been socialised in ‘underground’ bars and clubs. This links with one of the central themes at the core of Dr Brendan J. Dunlop’s book, titled ‘The Queer Mental Health Workbook’, the idea that an individual’s mental health is intimately linked to the context in which a person lives.

In this book, the policies, laws, institutions, and social narratives which oppress LGBT+ people are integrated with different models of psychotherapy, tailoring the book and its activities to the mental wellbeing of queer people.

When asked about the target audience, Brendan stated that the book should be suitable for anyone in their teens and above. Brendan explained that the book was written to be as inclusive as possible, with some sections containing information relating to the nuances in the experiences of younger and older generations, as well as a section on intersectionality.

The Queer Mental Health Workbook contains actionable interventions and activities to allow reflection, providing concrete evidence of the work being done to alleviate LGBT+ health inequalities. During the book launch, Brendan signed my copy of the book and gave a shout-out to the PDA LGBT+ Network!


Improving cervical cancer screenings for transgender men and non-binary people

By Georgia Greaves (she/her), PhD student at the University of Sheffield


My PhD research looks at the experiences of accessing and attending cervical cancer screenings among transgender men and non-binary people.

Cervical cancer screening is viewed as a ‘woman’s’ procedure, despite it being an important health procedure for anyone with a cervix, meaning it includes some transgender men and non-binary people (TMNB), as well as not being necessary for some women. However, there is a lower uptake of screening among TMNB than cisgender women.

Cervical screening can be uncomfortable for anyone, but TMNB experience extra factors that can exacerbate this. For example, gender dysphoria can worsen when having to focus on genitals before, during, or after screening. Additionally, TMNB experience worries of clinicians discriminating against them based on their gender identity. Finally, the use of testosterone can lead to vaginal atrophy, which can make screening more painful.

However, modifications can be made to better this. For example, you can ask for a smaller speculum or more lubrication to lessen pain. Also, you can bring a trusted friend to advocate for you, or to make you feel more comfortable, if you are worried about how you will be treated by staff and other patients. Additionally, you can ask to insert the speculum yourself so you feel more in control and can stop if it is too painful.

Hopefully, research being done into this area will lead to improvements in the procedure, as well as in medical professionals’ education and sensitivity towards transgender people and transgender bodies.


LGBT+ health needs more focus

By Eilidh Milliken (she/her), Specialist Clinical Pharmacist


There is no doubt that LGBT+ health is a topic that requires more focus. Members of the LGBT+ community are facing poorer health and social care outcomes due to heterosexual and cisgender-normative assumptions around their health and wellbeing.

Qualitative research commissioned by Public Health Scotland was undertaken to describe the health and wellbeing of LGBT+ people. This health needs assessment aimed to identify specific unmet health and social care needs compared to previous research of the broader population. The findings of this research were presented and quantified the extent of the problem.

The statistics were more disconcerting than anticipated, with mental health figures being particularly unnerving. Different sections of the LGBT+ community were asked to rate their mental and emotional wellbeing, and the data showed that only 9% of non-binary people rated their wellbeing as positive.

Only 36% of gay men rated their wellbeing as positive, which was the highest statistic presented, a figure which is still troublingly low.

So, what can be done to improve the health outcomes of the LGBT+ community? More inclusive healthcare and a broader awareness of specific issues that individual sections of the LGBT+ community face is a starting point.

This can be achieved through education, advocacy, and challenging stereotypes. This should not fall solely on the shoulders of LGBT+ people but the wider population as well. Allyship and challenging personal prejudice is the responsibility of all sections of society as well as listening to the people with lived experience to shape the health service which is, unfortunately, failing many LGBT+ people.

Get involved

  • Follow the PDA LGBT+ Pharmacists’ Network on social media using the hashtag
  • Please also feel free to share this mailing with a colleague that would like to read it
  • Pharmacists that are not yet members of the PDA LGBT+ Pharmacists’ Network can join here
  • Join the PDA LGBT+ Network Facebook group here.

In case you missed it

Below are recently published PDA news items relating to the LGBT+ Network.






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