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Here you’ll find the most ‘frequently asked questions’ regarding various topics surrounding the services Birmingham LGBT delivers.


The World Health Organisation states “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Well-being integrates mental health (mind) and physical health (body) resulting in a more holistic approaches to disease prevention and health promotion.

Well-being includes the presence of positive emotions and moods (e.g., contentment, happiness), the absence of negative emotions (e.g., depression, anxiety), satisfaction with life, fulfillment and positive functioning. In simple terms, well-being can be described as judging life positively and feeling good.

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is an approach based on the principle of identifying and mobilising individual and community ‘assets’, rather than focusing on problems and needs (i.e. ‘deficits’).

In the publication ‘A Glass Half Full’, Jane Foot and Trevor Hopkins make the case that; “as well as having needs and problems, our most marginalised communities also have social, cultural and material assets. Identifying and mobilising these can help them overcome the health challenges they face…The more familiar ‘deficit’ approach focuses on the problems, needs and deficiencies in a community such as deprivation, illness and health-damaging behaviours. It designs services to fill the gaps and fix the problems. As a result, a community can feel disempowered and dependent; people can become passive recipients of services rather than active agents in their own and their families’ lives.” (Foot and Hopkins, 2010, p7)

ABCD is a set of values and principles which: ƒ

Identifies and makes visible the health-enhancing assets in a community ƒ
Sees citizens and communities as the co-producers of health and well-being, rather than the recipients of services ƒ
Promotes community networks, relationships and friendships that can provide caring, mutual help and empowerment ƒ
Identifies what has the potential to improve health and well-being ƒ
Supports individuals’ health and well-being through self- esteem, coping strategies, resilience skills, relationships, friendships, knowledge and personal resources ƒ
Empower communities to control their futures and create tangible resources such as services, funds and buildings

(Foot and Hopkins, 2010)

An intersex person is born with sexual anatomy, reproductive organs, and/or chromosome patterns that do not fit the typical definition of male or female. This may be apparent at birth or become so later in life. An intersex person may identify as male or female or as neither. Intersex status is not about sexual orientation or gender identity: intersex people experience the same range of sexual orientations and gender identities as non-intersex people.

Transgender (sometimes shortened to “trans”) is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of identities —including transsexual people, cross-dressers (sometimes referred to as “transvestites”), people who identify as third gender, and others whose appearance and characteristics are perceived as gender atypical. Transwomen identify as women but were classified as males when they were born. Transmen identify as men but were classified female when they were born. Some transgender people seek surgery or take hormones to bring their body into alignment with their gender identity; others do not.

Homophobia is an irrational fear of, hatred or aversion towards lesbian or gay people; biphobia is an irrational fear of bisexual people; transphobia denotes an irrational fear, hatred or aversion towards transgender people.

Gender identity reflects a deeply felt and experienced sense of one’s own gender. A person’s gender identity is typically consistent with the sex assigned to them at birth. For transgender people, there is an inconsistency between their sense of their own gender and the sex they were assigned at birth. In some cases, their appearance and mannerisms and other outwards characteristics may conflict with society’s expectations of gender-normative behaviour.

Sexual orientation refers to a person’s physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction towards other people. Everyone has a sexual orientation, which is integral to a person’s identity. Gay men and lesbian women are attracted to individuals of the same sex as themselves. Heterosexual people (sometimes known as “straight”) are attracted to individuals of a different sex from themselves. Bisexual people may be attracted to individuals of the same or different sex. Sexual orientation is not related to gender identity.

LGBT stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.”

Sexual Health

If your allergic to latex, we can supply you with latex free condoms, gloves and dams. Just contact us for more information: sexualhealth@blgbt.org or by calling 0121 643 0821

Yes, we can provide latex gloves, juts contact us for more details.

Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is straightforward and confidential. Most infections can be cured.

You might feel embarrassed, but there’s no need – the Umbrella staff at our clinics are used to testing for all kinds of infections. It’s their job and they won’t judge you. They will explain everything to you and make you feel at ease.

When you visit the sexual health clinic, you’ll be asked for your name and some contact details. You don’t have to give your real name if you don’t want to. If you do, it will be kept confidential. Your GP won’t be told of your visit without your permission.

Answering some questions

Our clinics are nurse led, and they’ll ask you about your medical and sexual history. Be prepared to answer questions about your sex life, including:

when you last had sex

whether you have had unprotected sex

whether you have any symptoms

Why you think you might have an infection

Having STI tests

The nurse will tell you what tests they think you need. They will explain to you what is going on and why they are suggesting these tests. If you’re not sure about anything, ask them to explain.

The tests might involve:

a urine (pee) sample
a blood sample
swabs from the urethra (tube where urine comes out), mouth, anus (depending on the sex you have)
an examination of your genitals

If you have tests, Umbrella will need to contact you later, so give staff the correct contact details, at the very least a mobile phone number for text results.

We don’t provide women’s contraception, other than condom’s, at the LGBT Centre, however, if you want contraception contact Umbrella on www.umbrellahealth.co.uk/pathways or 0121 237 5700 to find out the range of options available to you.

Umbrella delivers sexual health services for Birmingham and Solihull and is part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. The service is confidential, non-judgmental and for people of all ages, genders and orientations.

Umbrella aims to better meet the needs of a diverse population by delivering:

  • integrated sexual health services that combine contraception with testing and treatment for STIs
  • health promotion and prevention
  • services that address sexual coercion, exploitation and violence
  • services in primary care: family doctors and pharmacy (Birmingham only)
  • services through third sector organisations
  • better access to services in Birmingham and Solihull, including through options such as digital and online
  • better outcomes for the people of Birmingham and Solihull, such as reduction in late diagnosis of HIV, fewer unplanned pregnancies and better identification of chlamydia infection

Yes, you can pick up FREE condoms and lube from the LGBT Centre.

We have a range of condoms on offer, and various types of water based lube, just talk to us about what we can offer you.

We also supply condoms and lube to the bars and clubs around Hurst Street and other community venues, look out for our condom packs, or loose condoms and lube in some venues. They’re free and there’s no limit on how many you can have, so stock up and make sure you always have them when you need them.

We can also send out condoms by post: If you can’t pick up condoms and lube at any of the above places, we can send you condoms and lube by post in you have a Birmingham or Solihull postcode. They will be delivered in plain discreet packaging. If you would like this service contact us at sexualhealth@blgbt.org or by calling 0121 643 0821

Self-sampling kits are a postal or pick up service where you use the kit to take your own samples (blood from a finger prick and urine (pee) samples), which are tested for;

• Chlamydia
• Gonorrhoea
• Syphilis
• Hepatitis B (with samples from MSM)

You then post your samples off to a laboratory for analysis (a freepost pack is included). The results will then come to you separately days later via either phone or text (depending on your result).

Yes. We’re contracted by the NHS so, as long as you’re entitled to NHS services, you won’t be charged.Are you?