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Bio/medicalization and LGB populations: A critical review of literature in selected domains

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) populations have been central to debates around medicalization and biomedicalization; and both biomedical research and debates around bio/medicalization have in turn been productive of LGB identities and communities. The intersectional identities of LGB individuals are crafted within processes of the bio/medicalization of not just sexuality, but also of gender, ageing, reproduction, pleasure, and other domains of everyday life.

Within the context of biomedicalisation theory, this review aims to provide a critical review of what knowledges have been generated, and with what effects, for LGB people and populations. The review maps out some of the key issues and identifies possible future areas for research by focusing on four domains: reproductive & sexual health; mental health; alcohol & substance abuse; and life course & ageing. The review goes on to discuss cutting themes and areas of current debate in the field and identifies gaps in theoretical work and empirical research.

Bio/medicalization and LGB populations review

Ageing and bisexuality: Case studies from the ‘Looking Both Ways’ project

Although there’s a growing literature on LGBT ageing, and some excellent resources aimed at helping health and social care services work more holistically with LGBT older people, very little is known about what is distinctive about the experiences of bisexual older people. The ‘Looking Both Ways’ project aimed to address this knowledge gap. We interviewed 12 people aged between 50 and 83, half of whom currently identified as bisexual and half of whom did not but felt that they had something to contribute to a project about bisexuality and ageing. We have written up the interviews as case studies which are freely reusable.

Looking Both Ways report

Feasible Strategies for Better Bi+ Inclusion


Feasible Strategies for Better Bi+ Inclusion powerpoint

A Comparison of the Ageing Experiences of Older People Who Do and Do Not Claim Bisexual Identities


A Comparison of the Ageing Experiences of Older People Who Do and Do Not Claim Bisexual Identities powerpoint

Lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers at much greater risk of depression

In this article, published in The Conversation’ in August 2017, Mathijs Lucassen discusses the results of a review of population-based studies which shows that sexual minority youth reported higher rates of depressive symptoms and depressive disorder in comparison to heterosexual young people. Female sexual minority youth were more likely to report depressive symptoms when compared to male sexual minority youth.

Prior research has suggested that sexual minority young people ((i.e. lesbian, gay and bisexual [LGB] individuals, those that are not exclusively heterosexual, and people not sure of their sexual attractions) are more likely to have depressive symptoms or depressive disorder, but most studies in the field have relied on convenience-based samples. This study overcomes this limitation by systematically reviewing the literature from population-based studies and conducting a meta-analysis to identify whether depressive disorder and depressive symptoms are elevated in sexual minority youth.