Chronic illness in non-heterosexual contexts: an online survey of experiences

Adam Jowett, Elizabeth A. Peel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article we contribute to the expansion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) health psychology beyond the confines of sexual health by examining the experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual people living with non-HIV related chronic illness. Using a (predominantly) qualitative online survey, the perspectives of 190 LGB people with 52 different chronic illnesses from eight countries were collected. The five most commonly reported physical conditions were arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, asthma and chronic fatigue syndrome. Our analysis focuses on four themes within participants’ written comments: (1) ableism within LGBT communities; (2) isolation from LGBT communities and other LGB people living with chronic illness; (3)heteronormativity within sources of information and support and; (4) homophobia from healthcare professionals. We conclude by suggesting that LGBTQ psychology could usefully draw on critical health psychology principles and frameworks to explore non-heterosexual’s lived experiences of chronic illness, and also that there remains a need for specifically targeted support groups and services for LGB people with chronic illnesses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-474
Number of pages21
JournalFeminism and Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • bisexual health
  • chronic illness
  • gay men’s health
  • heterosexism
  • lesbian health
  • LGBTQ health
  • online survey
  • patients’ perspectives


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