“Being visible and vocal about my healthcare needs helps to create the possibility for improvements and change for others”

BY DANIELLE MUSTARDE

“As a trans woman living with HIV for many years now,” begins Juno Roche, “I know from my own experience how vital, solid and informed healthcare is.”

Roche, a writer, is one of a number of ambassadors who have been chosen to highlight the importance of LBT Women’s Health Week, the aim of which is to raise awareness about lesbian, bisexual and trans women’s health inequalities.

“Far too often we remain invisible, mislabelled and misunderstood,” Roche continues.

“This allows for myths and risks to inhabit a space that should be safe and importantly, feel safe.

“Supporting LBT Women’s Health Week as an Ambassador is one way for me to be visible and vocal about my healthcare needs to help to create the possibility for improvements and change for others.”

Human rights activist Aderonke Apata

Roche is joined by human rights activist Aderonke Apata, pictured above, member of House of Lords Baroness Elizabeth Barker, model Munroe Bergdorf, political activist Emily Brothers, author and activist Charlie Craggs, comedian Mae Martin, UK Black Pride’s Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, and last but not least DIVA publisher, Linda Riley, in bringing attention to the yearly initiative.

“LBT women’s health appears to be of no significance in the mainstream health promotion and prevention debate,” said activist Aderonke Apata.

“As a lesbian who has been through thick and thin to secure refuge and sanctuary from a toxic environment that persecutes us for who we are, I am still experiencing the adverse effect that this trauma has had upon my mental health.

“People seeking asylum have high rates of mental health illness – this is particularly seen to be higher in LBT people seeking asylum.”

Political activist Emily Brothers

“I’m supporting LBT Women’s Health Week because it is our personal wellbeing at stake,” explains political activist Emily Brothers.

“We have the lived experience that best informs the design and delivery of health care services.

“Navigating mainstream provision or accessing specialist support would be far more effective if LBT women were more involved in developing pathways that best meet our needs.”

The initiative, which has a great presence across social media, is also an opportunity to celebrate, highlight, and learn from the work of groups and services which provide dedicated support to lesbian and bisexual women – find out more about LBT Women’s Health Week 2018 here.

Linda Riley, publisher, told DIVA she was, “honoured to be an ambassador.”

“LBT Women’s Health week is a crucial initiative for lesbian, bisexual and trans women and I’m proud to both support and advocate for the work that the LGB&T Partnership do each week.”

LBT Women’s Health Week 2019 will take place from the 11-15 March 2019 #LBTWomensHealth19

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