Assumptions, normativity and prejudice

Whilst there were affirming experiences, there were also many accounts of something more negative. These can be described in afew different ways, the first are where assumptions are just made – someone assumes that the person their speaking to has an opposite sex partner. On some occasions this dealt with using humour, in others it created situations that were tense. Normativity also ran through a lot of the cancer support, particularly in relation to gender normativity for hair and makeup. For example, women were directed to look feminine, and men received no support. Similarly these occasions were met humour, or at other times frustration and a sense of injustice. Finally, there were also examples of prejudice/homophobia. These were relatively rare, but present none-the-less.


In this first video Michelle discusses the importance of staff having an open attitude, visibility of LGBT people in the NHS, as well as the frustrations she faced when interacting with some healthcare professionals.


In this second video Michelle explores how past homophobia has impacted on her experiences of illness, and highlights why it is important to have connections with healthcare staff.


Adam has a diagnosis of lymphoma, but he reflects on how his sexuality lead to hurtful assumptions about his illness by friends and aquaintances.

Adam talks about how his sexuality shaped a doctor’s questionning when he was severely ill.

Adam discusses how assumptions about what men and women want effects cancer services.




Steven had testicular cancer. He recalls how he experienced homophobia from one particular nurse in the hospital.



Alan had rectal cancer and compares his good experiences of cancer care with a past experience of homophobia in healthcare.



Lesley has a current diagnosis of ovarian cancer. In this video she talks about the assumptions that healthcare professionals can make. She also talks about how she has approached some of these assumptions with humour.