Jong en anders. Onderzoek naar de aandacht voor lesbische, homo, bi-jongeren, transgenderjongeren en jongeren met een intersekse conditie in de jeugdsector



Young and different. Research on the attention paid to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and young people with an intersex condition in the youth field

 Because young LGBT people tend to have worse mental health and become suicidal more often (Kuyper, 2015; Van Bergen & Van Lisdonk, 2010; Kuyper 2015; Collier, Bos & Sandfort 2013; Van Beusekom, Collier, Bos & Sandfort, 2014; Keuzenkamp, 2012), it is to be expected that they are in touch with professionals in the field of youth care more regularly. Hitherto, no research has been conducted into the question of whether LGBT individuals are overrepresented in the field of youth care, so it is unclear whether this is indeed the case. It is also unknown how many individuals with an intersex condition are treated through youth care channels. We do know, however, that there are issues with regard to this target group that are relevant for youth care. These young people are not always registered as such by professionals (Abdallah, De Boer, Bouwens & Bos, 2007; De Boer, Sonneveld, Abdallah, Manesh & Bos, 2009; Felten & Boote, 2012), LGBTi feelings or identity are rarely discussed (Van Denzel, Van Driel & Vondel, 2014), and few professionals take action in the sense of providing for the specific needs, questions and problems on the part of LGBT young people. At the same time, professionals do have questions and learning needs with regard to discussing LGBT issues with individual young people and in groups (Abdallah et al., 2007; JoU, 2013).


In 2014, research first took place in the Netherlands into the extent to which professionals working with young people are aware of the existence of, and the specific risks, needs and problems associated with LGBT young people and young people with an intersex condition (Rossenberg, 2013; Van Lisdonk, 2014), and the nature of this awareness. This took the form of a descriptive questionnaire study among 421 professionals, in addition to qualitative input from an expert meeting. The questionnaire was divided into separate questions about lesbian, gay and bisexual young people, questions on transgender youth, and questions on young people with an intersex condition. The questions about the first two groups of young people concern the four themes: registration, discussion, action and learning needs and questions. The questions regarding young people with an intersex condition focus exclusively on registration, since it was expected that professionals do not distinguish between these young people and may even be unaware of the existence of an intersex condition. In the analysis, a chi-squared test was used to look for indications that respondents with specific characteristics would respond differently to the questions. The group of respondents who consider themselves as heterosexual, and the group who indicated that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender or different, showed significant[1] differences in their responses to parts of the questionnaire.


This study shows that professionals’ awareness of and sensitivity to the sexual preferences and gender identity of young people in the youth field is not self-evident. There is a lack of knowledge about these young people: professionals do register LGBT feelings, but do so less often than may be assumed on the basis of figures on the number of LGBTi young people[2]. Nine percent of respondents have never consciously met an LGB young person and 47% have never registered transgender feelings. None of the respondents are familiar with young people with an intersex condition. Some 60% of professionals do not or only rarely discuss assumptions of LGB feelings, while for transgender young people the figure is 71%. Only a minority of professionals act on the LGBT identity of the young person, for instance by focusing on specific LGBT objectives or by referring to specialist care, and 70% never do so with transgender young people. Professionals do not connect LGBT feelings with the other mental and social problems these young people may have: “I find it unnecessary (to discuss LGBT feelings) if it’s not a problem”. They do not see LGBT feelings as something special and do not consider that they have a role in supporting young people in discovering and learning to deal with their LGBT feelings. The lack of information on the difficulties experienced by LGBT young people, in combination with an inability to provide adequate support and a lack of direction, cause LGBT young people in the youth field to be overlooked. However, most professionals, 81%, do have questions in this area and need to learn more about the field of LGBTi issues.


The fact that professionals see no role for themselves in supporting LGBT young people may be related to the fact that they see an LGBT orientation as “nothing special”. Professionals do not realize that the young people themselves do find it special to discover their own LGB feelings. Usually it takes them a few years before they dare to discuss it with someone else (Kuyper, 2015a; Van Lisdonk & Van Bergen, 2010). It is the same for transgender young people, whose physical gender is not in line with the gender they identify with: that is indeed something special. Professionals tend to reason on the basis of their own tolerant adult perspective and avoid discussing LGBT orientations as something special.


This study shows that LGBTi young people very often do not receive the right kind of support. We would like their care to include an acknowledgement of their “being different” and of their specific needs, wishes and problems. This leads us to recommendations on three levels: to municipalities, to organizations in the youth field and to professionals. At the municipal level, it is important to incorporate LGBTi in local policy and in the requirements for calls for tender. Organizations in the field of youth care should include the theme of LGBTi in their diversity policies, and operationalize the issue into suggestions for questions concerning sexual and gender diversity in the intake. At the level of professionals, further research would be useful: action research to determine what kinds of specific competences are needed to support LGBTi young people. Incorporating these competences into the curriculums of universities of applied science will ensure that future professionals know how to support LGBTi young people.



Jong en anders. Onderzoek naar de aandacht voor lesbische, homo, bi-jongeren, transgenderjongeren en jongeren met een intersekse conditie in de jeugdsector

Omdat LHBT-jongeren een slechtere psychische gezondheid hebben en vaker suïcidaal zijn (Kuyper, 2015; Van Bergen & Van Lisdonk, 2010; Kuyper 2015; Collier, Bos & Sandfort, 2013; Van Beusekom, Collier, Bos & Sandfort, 2014; Keuzenkamp, 2012) ligt het voor de hand dat zij vaker in aanraking komen met professionals in de jeugdsector. In 2014 is voor het eerst in Nederland een onderzoek uitgevoerd naar de mate waarin en op welke manier er onder professionals die werken met jongeren aandacht is voor het bestaan, de specifieke risico’s, behoeften en problemen van LHBT-jongeren en jongeren met een intersekse conditie (Rossenberg, 2013; Van Lisdonk, 2014). Het gaat om een beschrijvend vragenlijstonderzoek onder 421 professionals, aangevuld met kwalitatieve input uit een expertmeeting. Uit de resultaten blijkt dat aandacht van professionals voor seksuele voorkeur en genderidentiteit niet vanzelfsprekend is. Er is sprake van een gebrek aan kennis over deze jongeren: 41% weet niet hoe te signaleren dat een jongere worstelt met LHB-gevoelens en voor transgenderjongeren is dat 64%. Geen van de respondenten ontmoette ooit bewust een jongere met een intersekse conditie. Professionals brengen LHBT-gevoelens niet in verband met andere psychische en sociale problemen die deze jongeren hebben. Zij ervaren LHBT-gevoelens zelf niet als iets bijzonders en zien geen rol voor zichzelf in het ondersteunen van de betreffende jongeren. De combinatie van een gebrek aan kennis van de moeilijkheden die LHBTi-jongeren ervaren en het bestaan van handelingsverlegenheid en een gebrek aan handelingsperspectief zorgt ervoor dat aandacht voor LHBTi-jongeren in de jeugdsector niet vanzelfsprekend is.




Youth fieldyouth careyouth welfaresexual preferencegender identityLGBT-youthintersex conditionyoJeugdsectorjeugdhulpjeugdwelzijnseksuele voorkeurgender identiteitLHBT-jongerenintersekse conditiejeugdprofessionalsondersteuning
  • Year: 2015
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 3
  • Page/Article: 21-42
  • DOI: 10.18352/jsi.454
  • Published on 29 Sep 2015
  • Peer Reviewed