Can you love whoever you want in care homes?

06.09.21 | News
Samkönat par
Can LGBTI people grow older with dignity in the Nordic Region, or are they forced back into the closet at residential nursing and care homes? The Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality and LGBTI today launched a three-year Nordic research initiative on the living conditions of older LGBTI people, and on the skills needed within the field of nursing and care.

The primary purpose of the initiative is to develop more knowledge about older LGBTI people’s quality of life and conditions, and above all how they experience their encounters with nursing and care for the elderly. 

The initiative must also provide answers to whether care and nursing training provides sufficient skills in matters of gender identity and sexual orientation, and what opportunities for further education are available to care staff. 


Starts this autumn

Finally, the project will present concrete proposals on how older LGBTI people’s experiences of nursing and care can be improved in the Nordic countries. 

At their meeting on 6 September, the ministers set aside SEK 1 million for the project, which will start already this autumn and be debriefed in 2023. The ministers for social affairs are expected to contribute an additional SEK 0.5 million.  

Fought for decriminalisation

“In recent decades, many LGBTI people in the Nordic Region have been able to live relatively openly, but what happens once they’ve retired, moved back to their hometown, in their encounters with local home care services, or when they need to move into a residential nursing or care home?

We’re hearing that older LGBTI people are becoming invisible within the public health and care system. These are older LGBTI people who grew up in a time when criminalisation and secrecy were common. Many of them have stood on the barricades and fought for decriminalisation, marriage laws and increased inclusion.

Older homosexual women and men should not have to go back into the closet when they require public healthcare and social care,” says Abid Raja, Minister of Culture and Equality in Norway.   

Nordic pioneer work

Since 2020, LGBTI issues have been an area of political co-operation in the Nordic Region, and in 2020 the Nordic Council of Ministers adopted the world’s first regional LGBTI strategy.


Among other things, the collaboration has to date resulted in a survey and analysis of the LGBTI area in the Nordic Region, and a literature study of the living conditions of young LGBTI people.  This autumn, funding from the Nordic LGBTI Fund will be announced for the first time. The fund is to promote Nordic efforts to improve conditions for LGBTI people. 6

Setback for rights

“In many countries and regions, the rights of LGBTI people are under threat. Studies have shown that a large proportion of LGBTI people, even in the Nordic Region, have experienced things like violence, hate, threats and harassment. The COVID-19 pandemic has even worsened the wellbeing of LGBTI people.

Nordic co-operation in order to promote the rights of LGBTI people is now more important than ever.

Investing in the wellbeing of older LGBTI people is an important continuation of the work done in 2020 and 2021 to promote the wellbeing and security of young LGBTI people in the Nordic Region,” says Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Co-operation and Equality in Finland and the chair of the Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality and LGBTI.  

New report on early childhood education

The ministers also discussed the role of early childhood education in increasing gender equality in preschool – and ultimately – gender equality in education and working life.

A new report points to the importance of long-term and systematic efforts, and the ministers discussed the possibility of creating a Nordic knowledge platform for educators, experts, decision-makers and researchers.   

The report is available here: