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The DIVA Survey: LGBTQI Women and Non-Binary People’s Insight 2021

The results you need to read


The findings of DIVA’s annual survey reveal the severity of the impact Covid-19 is having on LGBTQI women and non-binary people in the UK and beyond.


Results of the study, which was commissioned by DIVA in partnership with LGBT charity Stonewall and leading insights and consulting company Kantar, show that 77% of respondents are experiencing worse mental health due to these unprecedented times. Major concerns include not being able to see family members, worries about the health of family and friends and decreased mental wellbeing. The effects of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have been particularly devastating to young LGBTQI women and non-binary people, many of whom miss being able to visit physical LGBTQI spaces.


Over half of all respondents have accessed mental health services in the past year, while an additional 12% tried to access services, but were unsuccessful. The report confirms that bisexual, transgender and non-binary people often have different mental health needs and experiences to their lesbian and cisgender counterparts. One respondent wrote, “I’ve felt increasingly isolated and depressed because my transition has been completely stalled. I’ve already lost so many years not living as my gender, the pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time.”


As well as mental health issues, the survey covered LGBTQI relationships. 61% of respondents were in a relationship at the start of the pandemic and almost nine in ten of them have stayed together. To some extent, this counters the mainstream narrative of relationships suffering due to the pandemic, which focuses primarily on heterosexual couples. On the topic of romance, one respondent wrote, “We are moving in together! Grown very close over lockdown and we feel it’s benefitted our relationship to have lots of time talking just us.”


The survey also examined wider challenges facing the community. According to the statistics, bi people are less likely to be open about their sexuality when speaking to family and friends. Half of bi respondents are open with their families, compared to 81% of their lesbian counterparts. Only 31% of bi respondents are open with all of their close friends, compared to 55% of their lesbian counterparts. One respondent commented, “I worry that there is still a stigma around bisexuality, and I think people are still under the impression that you have to have had experiences with other sapphics in order to ‘qualify’ as bisexual.”


These fascinating survey results are being published as part of Lesbian Visibility Week. Linda Riley, DIVA Publisher and Founder of Lesbian Visibility Week said: “I am delighted to have founded Lesbian Visibility Week and be working with Stonewall to build an innovative programme of events around Lesbian Visibility. For too long the L in LGBTQI has been under-represented and not celebrated within the LGBTQI community, hopefully Lesbian Visibility week will finally give our voices a chance to shine.”


Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive, Stonewall stated: “We’re so excited to be partnering with DIVA this year to continue Linda Riley’s brilliant work in founding Lesbian Visibility Week, and create space to empower and uplift the lesbian community. The last year has been hard for every one of us, and this survey highlights some of the challenges faced by LBTQ+ women and non-binary people throughout this time. But it also shows the need to come together in celebration.”


Caroline Frankum, Global CEO, Kantar Profiles Division and Sophia Papadopoulos, Global Chair, Pride@Kantar added: “With this year’s Lesbian Visibility Week taking place against an uncertain and evolving landscape of easing Covid-19 restrictions, this report serves to provide a roadmap for how the community can emerge stronger than ever beyond the pandemic. This is a pivotal moment to inform the agenda for how society, government and corporations can better understand this diverse community and inspire their growth.”

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