Not just a 'youth problem': LGBT+ experiences of homelessness across the life course in Fife, Scotland

Briege Nugent, Caryn Nicolson, Joe Doherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While it is widely recognised that LGBT+ people are over-represented in the homeless population, research on their circumstances and experiences is limited. Scotland has a well-deserved reputation for progressive homeless legislation, yet in policy documents LGBT+ people are barely mentioned. This paper presents the results of a study in Fife, the third largest Local Authority in Scotland, focusing on 14 in-depth interviews with LGBT+ people from across age groups who had experience of or been at risk of homelessness. The findings bring to the fore that rejection by family and partners for ‘coming out’ is common to all age groups and not just a youth problem, and is a unique reason for LGBT+ people becoming or being at risk of homelessness. The research highlights the complexity of LGBT+ life courses, with fluidity and confusion around gender identity colluding with poverty and rurality to exacerbate the experience of homelessness. This paper calls for data collection in this area so that the extent of the problem no longer remains unknown and easily ignored and more inclusive dialogue between policy makers and those affected by policy, a message which needs to resonate beyond this field and indeed beyond Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-183
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Homelessness
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2022


  • LGBT+
  • Homelessness
  • Identity
  • Life course
  • Rural


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