LGBTIQ+ Youth in Switzerland. Overview Of Organizations, Key Actors, Policies, And Project


LGBTIQ+ Youth in Switzerland. Overview Of Organizations, Key Actors, Policies, And Projects


Despite recent legal changes toward greater LGBTIQ+ (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer) inclusion, LGBTIQ+ youth in Switzerland still face inequalities, rejection, and discrimination in several domains (ILGA-Europe, 2021; Eisner & Hässler, 2021; Hässler & Eisner, 2022). LGBTIQ+ youth frequently report feeling "safe nowhere", especially when the usual protective factors – in the school, family, and friendship spheres – are deficient (Dayer, 2022). Adolescents whose sexual and affective orientation is not exclusively heterosexual, who do not identify with their gender assigned at birth, or who are intersex are frequently the target of harassment-bullying and violence in the educational and recreational contexts (Hässler & Eisner, 2022; Weber & Gredig, 2018).

To avoid being exposed to violence and rejection, many LGBTIQ+ youth are still forced to live in the closet, which prevents them from developing their skills and being able to exist being themselves (Dayer, 2022). Further, experiences of invisibility, discrimination, and rejection (so-called minority stressors; Meyer, 2003) often result in negative health consequences for LGBTIQ+ youth, such as higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide (Bomolo et al., 2022; Ott et al. 2017, Testa et al., 2015). Swiss data collected in response to a mandate by the Federal Council also clearly indicate health disparities among LGBTIQ+ people living in Switzerland (Krüger et al., 2023). Besides negative health consequences, experiences of discrimination, and rejection can also negatively affect the academic performance of affected youth or even lead to school dropout (Koswic et al., 2013). To enable LGBTIQ+ youth to reach their full potential and become independent adults who can contribute to society and thrive more generally, it is therefore of uttermost importance to promote acceptance and inclusion of LGBTIQ+ youth.

Importantly, the LGBTIQ+ acronym consists of many different groups with common and unique challenges. For example, the data of our Swiss LGBTIQ+ Panel ( indicate that forms of experienced discrimination might differ among subpopulations within the LGBTIQ+ community. Lesbian, bi- and pansexual women as well as trans and non-binary people are more often the victim of sexual harassment than gay or bisexual men (Eisner & Hässler, 2021). Also, bi- and pansexual people face more rejection and discrimination than homosexual people (Thöni et al., 2022). Further, trans, non-binary, and/or intersex people are a particularly vulnerable population: they experience more discrimination, less support, and report worse well-being (Eisner & Hässler, 2021, Hässler & Eisner, 2022). Finally, LGBTIQ+ people who belong to an additional minority group(s) might experience discrimination both from outside and within the LGBTIQ+ community (Heilmann et al., 2023). These differences in needs and characteristics should be considered when aiming to empower LGBTIQ+ youth.

To identify existing services as well as gaps and needs and on behalf of the LGBTI Youth Fund, the Swiss LGBTIQ+ Panel team conducted a mapping process of the organizations, key actors, policies, and projects that aim to respond to the needs and promote the rights of LGBTIQ+ youth in Switzerland. The findings that emerged from this mapping process provide an overview of the range of available supports and services while highlighting the disparities between cantons. We conclude with general recommendations regarding particularly marked gaps or challenges to be addressed in the coming years to promote social change toward an inclusive, equitable, and safe society for all youth in Switzerland.



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German, French, Italian, English

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Childhood – adolescence
Sexual orientation
Gender identities
Discriminations – marginalisation – segregation
Education – vocational training
Health – medicine


Social psychology


Practice, Research, Education


Study, Report