Ethnic, gender and sexual minorities in CH: intersectional discrimination and strategies


Ethnic, gender and sexual minorities in Switzerland: intersectional discrimination and strategies


In Switzerland, the fact that cisnormativity and heteronormativity expose ‘gender and sexual minorities’ to discrimination in different social spheres is scientifically well documented. In contrast, there is a major lack of empirical data focusing on such minorities with a migration background. No study so far focuses on intersectional discrimination experienced by ‘ethnic, gender and sexual minorities’ in contrast to other national contexts. This category of people needs particular attention because they may experience specific intersectional discrimination. They may, for example, be exposed to sexual racism inside the LGBTQIA+ network, be excluded from the workplace because of their ethnic and gender minority profile, be stigmatized during asylum processes or have their integrity questioned if they express homosexuality inside their ethnic community. This study will provide original empirical data on this actual question.Objectives and research questionsThis sociological qualitative research, which is based on an intersectional approach, has two main objectives:

  1. To study the multiple types of experienced discrimination: describe the different forms of perceived discrimination (e.g. rejection, mockery, abuse, unequal treatment), identify the social spheres where they occur (e.g. family, school, work, LGBTQIA+ networks, ethnic and religious communities, asylum institutions, health care), follow their evolution over time (biographies), and link individuals’ socio-demographic profiles to the different types of discrimination.
  2. To study the variety of strategies used to cope with discrimination: describe the different forms of strategies (e.g. discursive, social, relational, identity, coping), identify the strategies adopted in the social spheres, follow their evolution over time, and link individuals’ socio-demographic profiles to the different types of strategies.


This participatory use-inspired research will mobilize mixed qualitative methods: a qualitative panel study based on three waves of in-depth interviews and focus groups with migrants and descendants of immigrants, diaries or other personal documents, and an original framework to capture egocentric social networks. This methodology will allow for capturing the evolution of experienced discrimination over time and inside the different social spheres. With participation as a desirable epistemology, an LGBTQIA+ person with a migration background will be a member of the research team. A stakeholder group including individuals who are ‘ethnic, gender and sexual minorities’ will also be actively involved in the research process and will participate in the co-production of knowledge.


  • At a scientific level, the project is expected to provide the first original empirical data on intersectional discrimination experienced by ethnic, gender and sexual minorities in our country.
  • At an academic level, it will fill the gap between LGBTQIA+ studies and migration studies in Switzerland that are, to date, two separate fields.
  • At a political level, it will produce a base of theoretical propositions and scientific information to eventually help decision makers promote inclusive policies.
  • At a social level, it will offer empirical evidence useful for non-governmental organizations that work with both LGBTQIA+ and migrant communities.



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Orientation affective et sexuelle
Identité de genre
Migrations – asile
Discriminations – marginalisation – ségrégation




Projet de recherche