Loneliness is a common human emotion that’s even more common amongst LGBTQ+ people.

Loneliness is a common feeling, but everyone’s experiences of loneliness are different and unique to them.

For example, you could be alone and have little social contact but not feel lonely, or have tons of social interaction but still feel lonely. 

Loneliness is more common amongst LGBTQ+ people and can take its toll on both your mind and body.

Why are LGBTQ+ people more likely to be lonely?

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to be lonely than cis-het people. This loneliness can stem from a variety of factors: we’re more likely to be disconnected from our families, or have problems finding other people like us who we can connect with.. 

LGBTQ+ people are also more likely to face discrimination due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, which can lead to feelings of isolation and difficulties getting close to other people.

Older LGBTQ+ people may experience heightened loneliness and feelings of disconnection from a queer community that’s increasingly centered around young folks. That is, older queer folks may no longer want to go to LGBTQ+ clubs, bars, pubs, etc., but find themselves unable to find a replacement community where they can connect with their peers.

What are the effects of loneliness? 


While loneliness by itself isn’t a mental health problem, it can certainly take its toll on your mind.

  • Loneliness has been linked to increased risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety
  • Loneliness can increase risk of suicide
  • Loneliness can exacerbate existing mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety
  • Loneliness can result in increased stress
  • Loneliness can cause low self-esteem
  • Loneliness can result in poor decision making


Your body can also feel the effects of loneliness, often in serious ways.

  • Research suggested that loneliness can result in increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke 
  • Loneliness can lead to sleep problems
  • Loneliness heightens the risk of high blood pressure
  • Loneliness can increase likelihood of death


LGBT HERO’s LGBTQ+ Lockdown Wellbeing Report found that loneliness has become an epidemic during lockdown, with young people being hit the hardest. 

  • Before lockdown, 21% of LGBTQ+ people said they experienced loneliness “very often” or “every day,” but during lockdown this more than doubled to 56%. 
  • As for young people, more than two in three (67%) of under 18 LGBTQ+ people felt lonely "very often" or "every day" during lockdown.

LGBTQ+ people, especially LGBTQ+ people of color experience discrimination and poor treatment even within the queer community, which can lead to loneliness and isolation.

The Stonewall report ‘LGBT in Britain - Home and Communities’ found that:

  • 51% of Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people experienced discrimination or poor treatment from others in their local LGBT community due to their ethnicity.
  • 36% of trans people experienced discrimination or poor treatment in their local LGBT community due to being trans. 
  • 26% of LGBT disabled people whose activities are largely limited because of a health problem or disability experienced discrimination or poor treatment in their local LGBT community due to being disabled.

Another Stonewall report found that LGBT young people who aren’t in education, training, or work often feel isolated from their peers due to a lack of acceptance, difficulty finding other LGBTQ+ peers, and/or separation due to the fact that they aren’t in education, training, or work. This isolation was found to ‘significantly impact their wellbeing and mental health.’

Stonewall also found that LGB people over 55 were more likely to be single, live alone, and have mental health issues than their straight counterparts. All these factors contribute to and signal loneliness. 

How can you combat loneliness?

Loneliness may seem scary, but luckily, there are ways to combat it.


Self-care and being kind to yourself can make a huge difference. See LGBT HERO’s article with tips on how to improve your mental health here https://www.lgbthero.org.uk/7-ways-to-improve-your-mental-health Some examples include getting enough sleep and trying to exercise and spend time outside.

Find community! 

There are plenty of ways to find community, especially with lockdown restrictions easing up. Sites like Meetup and LGBT HERO’s FindOut service are great ways to find community.

Talk about it! 

Talking to the people you do have in your life about your loneliness can help alleviate some of its effects and help them better support you.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to family or friends, talking therapies may be another helpful option. PinkTherapy has a directory of LGBTQ+-specific therapists.

What next?

Find community

Some useful links for finding community.

LGBT HERO’s comprehensive (but not exhaustive!) list of LBT women’s spaces

LGBT HERO’s forums are a safe and non-judgmental space for queer folks to talk to one another and get support. 

You can use LGBT HERO’s FindOut mapping service to find LGBTQ+ social services throughout Greater London.

MeetUp is a useful site for finding all kinds of LGBTQ+ social groups and events.

Seek support

Ways to seek support if you’re feeling lonely.

Switchboard is an LGBT+ helpline and support service. Call Switchboard at 0300 330 0630 or see their website.

Samaritans is another helpline, but is not LGBTQ+-specific. Call them at 116 123.

If you think therapy may be right for you, PinkTherapy has a directory of LGBTQ+-friendly therapists.

MindOut is an LGBTQ+-specific mental health service. They have online support in the forms of phone, email, or instant message.

LGBT Foundation has an advice, support, and information line at 0345 3 30 30 30. They also have a wide variety of other support services for LGBTQ+ people.

ELOP is a lesbian and gay centre offering social, emotional, and support services, including counselling and young people’s services.

Extra reading

An article that talks about the different forms of isolation among LGBTQ+ youth.

Mind, the mental health organisation, has a useful fact sheet about loneliness.

Verywell Mind also has a loneliness fact sheet

The Campaign to End Loneliness has even more information about loneliness. 

The YouTube channel Kurzgesagt has a great and visually appealing video on loneliness and the science behind it: