This article looks at experiences of caring among trans and non-binary adults in Southern Europe, viewing this as a positive story which can redress what the author sees as skewed representations of this community, focusing traditionally on victimisation, violence and health problems.
The study came out of the INTIMATE project, which took place between 2014 and 2019 at the Centre for Social Studies, Portugal, gathering 90 in-depth interviews, and the CILIA LGBTQI+ Lives project, which gathered 17 stories of older LGBTQI+ people living in Portugal in 2019.
Participants were asked about their intimate relations, friendships and parenting experiences in the lifecourse. A key theme which emerged was the centrality of informal caring to the lives of the interviewees, who had often provided long-term care for friends and family members without full recognition.
These caring roles included providing emotional and physical support to vulnerable friends and relatives, supporting the bodily and clinical needs of other trans and non-binary people and participating in wider social support networks.
The article concludes that this group, who sits outside popular conceptions of carers, are unsung heroes whose continuing care activities often go unrecognised.