If you find yourself restricting your food intake, binging large amounts of food, or purging any food that you eat, you may have an eating disorder.

Many LGBTQ+ people, regardless of gender, are disproportionately affected by mental illnesses compared to cisgender straight people. Even within the LGBTQ+  community, LBT+ women are affected more than GBT+ men. It’s important to inform yourself of health issues that might impact you, and how you can seek treatment.

How eating disorders impact LBT+ women

While there is only about a 4% difference between the number of GBT+ men with eating disorders and the number of LBT+ women with eating disorders, it is still important to acknowledge the healthy inequalities these women are facing.

The following statistics are based on a Stonewall LGBT Health Report from 2018, which has been cross referenced with research compiled by The National LGB&T Partnership, as well as Public Health England. The information provided below focuses primarily on LBT+ women, for information on eating disorders for other members of the community, visit Body Image & Eating Disorders or visit the resources at the bottom of this page.

  • 13% of LBT+ women have reported experiencing an eating disorder within the last year
  • Among lesbians, 19.2% reported eating disorders, over half of which experienced bulimia (51.1%), and 34.1% experienced anorexia
  • 30.5% of bisexual women reported having eating disorders, 55.6% of which experienced bulimia, and 31.3% experienced anorexia
  • 5% of trans women has been diagnosed with an eating disorder, and 19% believed they had one without a diagnosis
  • One in four (24%) non-binary people have reported experiencing an eating disorder
  • 22% of BAME LGBTQ+ people have reported having an eating disorder

Information from the Trevor Project, an American Charity for suicide prevention and intervention for LGBTQ+  youth, suggests that eating disorders in young people are significantly more prevalent. The statistics below are from a 2018 survey of 13-24 year olds in the United States.

  • 54% of cisgender LBQ+ women reported being diagnosed with an eating disorder
  • 40% of gender non-conforming or genderqueer youth reported being diagnosed with an eating disorder
  • 12% of trans women reported being diagnosed with an eating disorder

What else should I know about eating disorders?

There is no one cause for eating disorders, so it is difficult to pinpoint why LBT+ women are effected differently than GBT+ men are. Often, eating disorders develop in response to a lack of control over one’s own life, so the inequalities between LGBTQ+ men, women, and non-binary people may be attributed to day-to-day gender inequalities.

Stressful situations can be considered triggers or at risk times for eating disorders. Some LB+ people may experience an increased risk of eating disorders or eating problems following pregnancy. Others may be at risk during times of financial or emotional distress, if they already have a mental illness, or other times when they may lack control in their life.

If you find yourself restricting your food intake, binging large amounts of food, or purging any food that you eat, you may have an eating disorder. You should reach out to your GP, who should be able to refer you to a local NHS service which can help you manage your eating disorder.

What Next?


For information and help for eating disorders or eating problems, visit Mind’s What are eating disorders? and Eating problems.

For information about LBT Women’s Health Week, visit The National LGB&T Partnership.

For more about eating disorders, check out our fact sheet on Eating disorders.


Mind is a mental health charity that can provide you with urgent help, support, and information about mental health and mental illness.

Beat has a fab website that’s filled with information, support groups, one-to-one chat and a helpline you can call on 0808 801 0677, or its youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.

The National Centre for Eating Disorders has a tonne of information on eating disorders and links to counsellors and therapists that can help.

Overeaters Anonymous is allows you to find a support group near you.

Check out our OutLife Forums, and our LBT+ Women’s Health Board, for a safe and non-judgmental space where LGBTQ+ people can talk to one another about their issues and life experience.