Current research

The Centre for Research on Ageing and Gender (CRAG) has taken part in a number of projects that look into the lives of the older LGBT community.

Currently, members of CRAG are engaged in the ‘HomeSAFE study’ exploring LGBT*Q social housing tenants experiences, concerns and preferences.


Comparing Intersectional Life Course Inequalities amongst LGBTQ Citizens in Four European Countries.

About the study

Bringing together an international and multi-disciplinary team of researchers, this project investigates potential inequalities experienced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people at three ‘transition’ points in life highlighted in the call for application themes: school to work transitions; employment progression in mid-life; and the transition into retirement and its implications for end of life. The key objective is to provide cross-cultural evidence, for the first time ever, concerning life course inequalities experienced by LGBTQ people, comparing and contrasting these across four European countries with different yet interrelated social, historical, economic and political backgrounds: England, Scotland, Portugal and Germany. Additionally, the project examines how inequalities related to gender identity and/or sexuality vary and intersect with others, such as social class, ethnicity, citizenship status, health status, dis/ability, religion and geographical location across the life course.

Work-packages, led by research team members will be conducted in each of the four countries to gather data from existing national and international surveys, new qualitative research and legal, policy, organisational and practitioner documents. The accumulated data will also be used to develop a multi-agent based simulation model to inform theoretical development in relation to the LGBTQ intersectional life course and explore future policy and research agendas. The findings will be disseminated to academics and relevant stakeholders (e.g. organisations/service providers) through reports, social media, presentations and knowledge exchange activities in each applicant country.

The project runs from March 2018 until February 2021. It is funded by NORFACE, a consortium of European Research Councils.

The project lead is Dr Andrew King, University of Surrey (England) and principal investigators are: Dr Ana Cristina Santos, Centre for Social Studies (Portugal), Professor Maria do Mar Castro Varela, Alice Salomon University (Germany) and Professor Yvette Taylor, University of Strathclyde (Scotland).

HomeSAFE study

Engaging and exploring LGBT*Q tenant experiences, concerns and preferences about social housing.

About the study

Little is known about the housing needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning (LGBT*Q) people, particularly with respect to social housing, however findings from a small scale research study completed in 2015 prompted concerns about landlord support for LGBT*Q tenants and possible landlord discrimination. The HomeSAFE study, commissioned by HouseProud and funded by 6 housing associations, aims to find out more about the experiences and views of LGBT*Q residents in relation to their home, their landlord and their neighbourhood.

The HomeSAFE study has so far used focus groups and interviews with LGBT*Q social housing tenants to collect information from people who live in social housing, i.e. accommodation which is owned and managed by a housing association or a local authority, to help identify the main issues being faced by LGBT*Q residents and to inform practical steps that landlords could take to address them.


A survey is also being conducted and is open until 31 December 2017. To complete the online survey, please visit HomeSAFE Survey or, to request a paper copy of the survey, please call Andrew King on 07895 656222. You will be given the option of being entered for a prize draw upon completing the survey. The winner, drawn at random on the 30 January 2018, will receive a £50 voucher.

Final report

The final study report and recommendations will be made available in February 2018 and the key findings will be disseminated through a number of channels, including a public engagement event and published on this website.

SAFE Housing project

The SAFE (Secure, Accessible, Friendly, Equal) project used focus groups and a survey to investigate the current housing provision and housing options available to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT*) people as they get older. A total of 201 people, living in London or Shropshire and aged 50-86, participated in the research, making it the largest study of its kind in the UK to date.

Findings from the study were disseminated in July 2016 to a range of housing providers, government agencies, charities and LGBT community groups & advocates, in addition to LGBT* people themselves.


There has been very little research exploring what LGBT* people want in relation to housing as they get older. Some research has suggested that older LGBT* people want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible and to be treated with dignity and respect by support services.

Reports of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia from staff and/or other residents in residential homes and sheltered housing is a concern for many. These and other issues can affect how LGBT* people think about housing later in life but many older LGBT* people haven’t made specific plans related to their future housing.


The SAFE Housing project explored these issues and found that:

  • Safety in the home was dependent upon the amount of control the person felt they had over their home environment
  • Social isolation from friends, partners, and/or other LGBT people was a big concern
  • Transphobia in their local area and in LGBT* communities was a concern for trans* respondents and could affect the presentation of gender identity in certain housing settings
  • 58 per cent of survey respondents had concerns about housing later in life, but 72 per cent had not made any plans for their future housing
  • Opinion varied with regard to future housing preferences, e.g. older lesbian respondents indicated a stronger preference for gender-specific housing whereas gay men preferred housing for anyone
  • If given the choice, the majority of lesbian and bisexual women respondents expressed a preference for a carer of the same gender as them, the majority of gay and bisexual men expressed a preference for a carer with the same sexuality as them
  • 75 per cent felt that a ‘charter mark’ scheme to identify organisations with a culture of acceptance and benevolence towards LGBT* people was a good idea if properly regulated.

We have a short, downloadable brochure about the project and its findings.

For more information about the study please contact the lead project investigator, Andrew King.

A follow-up impact project LGBT*House is now being conducted in collaboration with Stonewall Housing. This will enable the findings of the SAFE Housing Project to be disseminated to a wider audience, including LGBT* communities and housing providers and policy makers.

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Department of Sociology
University of Surrey