Young LGBT+ people in state care and sexual health promotion

Being a young LGBT+ person in state care is a vulnerable position. Research generating and disseminating knowledge of this vulnerable position aspires to be a foundation for preventive measures.

Background: It is well established that young people in state care belong to a vulnerable group in terms of health, and this in several ways. For instance, determinants for health that are present in their lives are disadvantageous. Moreover, they go beyond the radar of welfare state offerings such as vaccination, dental care and school health care. Consequently, young people in secure state care display poor health in several aspects, sexual health included. This inequity becomes apparent when compared to health among same-aged peers. In previous research we have also seen that young LGBT+ people are overrepresented in state care in Sweden, a finding which is in line with international research. Therefore, research aiming at examining affirmative work related to sexual and reproductive health and rights for young LGBT+ people in state care is warranted.

Methods: Within a mixed methods design, three overlapping studies are conducted: 1) A document analysis exploring how young LGBT+ people are described in various state care policy documents, 2) An interview study with social workers and representatives for private and state care adressing how they describe their work with young LGBT+ people, and 3) An interview study with young LGBT+ state care leavers focussing their experiences of care.

Results: The results from the first sub-study indicates that while needs among LGBT+ youth in state care are highlighted in various policy documents, the descriptions of care offered at private as well as state-run institutions lack a sensitiveness towards these needs. On the rare occasions when LGBT+ youth are mentioned in care provider documents, the language used is hetero- and cisnormative. The second and third sub-study are ongoing.

Conclusion: Gender identity and sexual orientation can be disadvantageous social determinants for health, depending on context. Therefore, if and how the discrepancy between policy documents and documents describing state care is related to social workers placing youth in state care, people working in these institutions and to young LGBT+ peoples’ experiences of this care will be investigated.


Charlotta Carlström & Catrine Andersson


De yngre og de eldre - Seksuell helse




1) Department of behavioural sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University; 2) Centre for sexology and sexuality studies, Malmö University



Presenterende forfatter(e):

Malin Lindroth

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