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June is Pride Month, in which we celebrate LGBTQ+ communities globally. Through marches, events, and activities, we recognise the contributions of LGBTQ+ people to society and advocate for their equality, inclusion, and rights. In this article, we highlight the Sociology Department’s ongoing commitment to LGBTQ+ communities in our research, teaching, and community life.


Our Head of Department, Professor Catherine Donovan, has been researching the intimate and family lives of lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and, more recently, trans and non-binary people for over two decades. The focus of her current research is on domestic and sexual violence and on hate incidents/crime in these communities, with an intersectional approach considering social class, race, faith, disability, citizenship status and age. In this article, she examines experiences of interpersonal violence amongst LGBTQ+ undergraduate students and the impacts of cisgendered heteronormativity and invisibility.

Professor Simon Forrest focuses on gender, sex, and sexualities. He conducts research on peer-led sex education, young masculinities and sexual consent, comparative studies of sexual attitudes focused on trans experiences, and the history and practice of sex education. Part of the Health and Social Research group, he is currently supervising nine PhD students who working on a range of topics such as gender role and mental health in contemporary India, maternal peri-natal mental health in Bangladesh, digital sexualities amongst young people, and embodied sex education. Read Simon's latest staff blog which outlines his research into LGBTQ+ communities.

Dr Veronica Heney co-founded the user-led collective Make Space to “create spaces for more nuanced, generous and courageous conversations about self-harm” (Make Space, 2021). They have supported LGBTQ+ people with experiences of self-harm through creative activities that foreground solidarity joy. You can watch a panel discussion on LGBTQ+ self-harm here.

A member of the Department’s Communities and Social Justice and the Violence and Abuse research groups, Cait Jobson is doing participatory research with LGBTQ+ young people on domestic abuse help-seeking for her PhD. Driven by her long-standing interest in relationships and sex education, she is undertaking an internship with Coram on parents' perceptions of relationship and sex education particularly around LGBT inclusion in the recent guidance. 

Stephanie Daw is studying LGBT+ young people and transitions to adulthood for her PhD. She is particularly interested in finding out what being an adult means to LGBT+ young people, how they perceive adulthood, and how their gender and/or sexuality shapes this perception. A member of the Communities and Social Justice Research area, she also studies the impacts of the pandemic are still affecting LGBT+ young people and how they navigate their transitions to adulthood.  

Jack Simmonds focuses on the lived experience of young LGBTQ+ people in Manchester when accessing different physical and online social spaces. He is also concerned with the relationships that these young people have with the Greater Manchester Police. As such, some of the topics this research is focussed on are identity, community, policing and victimhood. He is part of the Criminal Justice, Social Harms, and Inequalities research group.


In our undergraduate and postgraduate modules on violence and abuse, we focus on impacts on LGBTQ+ lives. We challenge assumptions about what counts as domestic abuse, as abusive behaviours, as sexual violence, as hate, as help-providing; and who counts as a legitimate, ‘victim’, ‘perpetrator’, and help-provider.

In the undergraduate module, Crime, Power and Social Inequalities, we discuss issues that affect different minority groups from an intersectional lens. By combining the theories formulated and research conducted by researchers from different minority backgrounds with discussions of contemporary social issues, these seminars allow for an important exploration of these issues in a space that is critical, reflexive and, crucially, inclusive. 

For their dissertations, undergraduate and postgraduate students have also studied a range of topics based on their interest in gender, sex, and sexuality. For instance, this year, our students have conducted research on issues such as toxic masculinities in University rugby, experience of gender in the context of mixed sex sports, identity formation for LGBTQ+ students, the experiences of trans teachers, and changes in media representations of gender in popular children's films.

Community Life

In February this year, we celebrated LGBT History Month with a film screening and interactive panel discussion on the ‘Handing on Our Histories’ Project, an intergenerational project with LGBTQ+ communities across the North East.

In March, we organised and hosted a conference on researching lived experience. This included various talks on the lived experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Our Department also works with a variety of non-profit community-based organisations such as Changing Relations, who conduct arts-based gender education programmes aimed at breaking down gender barriers and fostering health relationships in communities.

We have also facilitated discussions with our trans and/or non-binary students to address concerns about their welfare and inclusion in University life.

These are ways in which we express our commitment to understanding and honouring LGBTQ+ communities in our society.