What’s love got to do with it?: Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and bisexual people with intellectual disabilities in the united kingdom and views of the staff who support them

  • David AbbottEmail author
  • Jan BurnsEmail author
Special Issue Articles


The voices of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people with intellectual disabilities have rarely been heard within both policy and research. This article reports on a research study involving gay, lesbian, and bisexual people with intellectual disabilities. Results highlighted that, despite many barriers, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people with intellectual disabilities wanted to develop sexual and intimate relationships. Love was a frequently discussed need and desire among study participants. Interviews with staff who worked with this population revealed that supporting their being in an intimate relationship did not feature strongly in staff goals. This disjuncture may partly account for the dearth of sexual relationships among the people with intellectual disabilities interviewed for this study, as well as for their accounts of isolation, loneliness, and depression. The findings have implications for staff and service providers, as well as for social policies addressing disability, which do not routinely reference sexuality and personal relationships.


relationships discrimination barriers staff attitudes sexuality 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norah Fry Research CentreUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Centre for Social & Psychological Development, SalomonsCanterbury Christ Church UniversityKentUK

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