• homosexual;
  • intellectual disability;
  • learning disability;
  • sexual behaviour;
  • stigma;
  • support needs


Background  Empirical research on homosexuality among people with an intellectual disability (ID) is limited and, to date, very little is known regarding the personal experiences of gay and lesbian people with an ID. This study set out to answer the question: What are the lived experiences of a specific cohort of homosexual people with an intellectual disability living in the Netherlands?

Method  To answer this question, a qualitative study was performed in which 21 people with a mild ID were interviewed via semi-structured interviews. In this study, 19 participants were men and two were women (average age = 40.5 years).

Results  Participants reported positive and negative experiences, and talked about their gay or lesbian identity. Almost half of the participants (n = 10) reported that they had experienced sexual abuse including partner violence (n = 6). Additionally, they indicated that there was a lack of support for homosexual people with an ID.

Conclusion  Specific problems impact the lives of homosexual people with ID, namely the high prevalence of negative sexual experiences, the lack of support, training and sex education, and their search for a suitable partner.