Social Policy and Queer Lives: Coming Out of the Closet?



Gregory L & Matthews P (2022) Social Policy and Queer Lives: Coming Out of the Closet?. Journal of Social Policy, 51 (3), pp. 596-610.

Social Policy as an academic discipline has been at the forefront of many progressive movements in society, exploring problems of poverty, hardship, exclusion and suffering, government intervention, and the critical appraisal of those interventions. Yet it has been strangely silent on issues of sexual identity and gender identity and the inequities faced by the LGBTQ+ community. In this article we draw upon lesbian and gay studies, and queer studies, to, first, unpack how heteronormativity is reinforced in social policy in practice and in its analysis within Social Policy as a discipline. This illustrates how the family, as a core basis for welfare in societies, has meant that, reflexively, the base unit of analysis within Social Policy has been the heterosexual family, without a full interrogation of what this means for different groups. Second, we review the limited evidence available around the inequalities LGBTQ+ people face, primarily in the UK (and wider global North), highlighting how the years of oppression have made “counting” this group of people difficult within our usual survey instruments. Thus, while Social Policy has aimed to achieve a universal social citizenship for all, it has inadvertently remained silent on how to include LGBTQ+ in its analysis.

Journal of Social Policy: Volume 51, Issue 3

Publication date31/07/2022
Publication date online28/03/2022
Date accepted by journal28/03/2022

People (1)


Professor Peter Matthews

Professor Peter Matthews

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology