Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Equalities
Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Huddersfield
Unit of AssessmentSocial Work and Social Policy
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Medical and Health Sciences: Public Health and Health Services
Studies In Human Society: Policy and Administration, Sociology
Summary of the impact
Research undertaken by Monro from the Centre for Research in the Social
Sciences (CRISS) into the continuing marginalisation of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people has influenced UK and international
policymaking and practice. Addressing key issues concerning relationships
between LGBT people and state institutions, the research findings have
helped to shape the development of practice in central government
departments, local authorities, housing associations, healthcare and
community organisations and voluntary sector associations. This impact has
resulted in improvement to the material and social conditions of LGBT
people, enhancing their ability to contribute to society and the economy,
in line with the EU Horizon 2020 theme of promoting inclusive, innovative
and reflective societies. The case study provides evidence that the
research has raised awareness about LGBT issues. This cultural shift is
crucial to improving the life experiences and economic productivity of
LGBT people, given the lack of understanding that they commonly face, and
the negative impacts on their wellbeing of prejudice and social erasure.
The case study fits into the Institute for Research in Citizenship and
Applied Human Sciences research area of gender and sexuality (see REF5).
It exemplifies impact derived from communicating the multiple perspectives
of stakeholders in ways which support issue resolution by promoting better
mutual stakeholder understanding (see REF3a).
Recognising that the implementation of legislation concerning LGBT
communities has remained inconsistent, Monro has addressed citizenship and
equalities issues affecting LGBT people. This research programme has been
achieved through a series of research projects and outputs.
One project, Organisational
Change, Resistance and Democracy: LGBT Equalities Initiatives in Local
Government, was undertaken between 2007-2010 by Monro (Research
Fellow, University of Huddersfield, co-investigator) with Richardson
(Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, principal investigator) at the
University of Newcastle, with an ESRC grant of £230,000a.
Monro's distinctive contributions include: the study was initiated by
Monro following her research at Keele University (2001-2002) and her
doctoral research on transgender diversity (University of Sheffield,
2000); Monro led on developing intersectional approaches and applying
these via a range of community and policy-oriented interventions; Monro
overtly included bisexual communities in local government sexualities
equalities studies for the first time (following its omission in the Keele
study), and this subsequently led to a research programme on bisexuality.
The Organisational Change project, conducted in Southern and Northern
England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, utilised action learning sets which
met four times in each region, generating a total of 16 meetings, with
members representing different local authorities, community organisations
and partner agencies from across the regions. The project also tracked the
development and implementation of sexualities equality policies in four
local authorities that were purposively sampled to represent different
types, levels of performance, political colours, activity concerning
equalities, and levels of deprivation. A total of 37 semi-structured
interviews were conducted with strategic level and frontline local
authority workers, focusing on two different service areas for each
authority, and their partners in statutory sector and voluntary/community
sector agencies. Further strands of the methodology consisted of 15
interviews with key national stakeholders across the three countries and
five interviews with local authority representatives. The study was rated
`good' by the ESRC subsequent to completion. It provided original
insights in three respects: in illuminating the operation of resistance to
the LGBT equalities agenda in the organisational practices of local
authorities and partner agencies in areas such as social care, youth work
and leisure servicesb; in developing intersectional approaches
to sexualities equalities workc; and in providing policy
analysis of LGBT equalities work in the 2007-2010 periodd. Key
findings documented in the referenced outputs concerned the
marginalisation of bisexual people in policymaking and practice; and the
high levels of misunderstanding and stigmatisation that this group faces
from both lesbian/gay and heterosexual populations. The findings were
drawn on in a booke published by Palgrave-Macmillan.
Community and media interest in this conclusion prompted Monro to develop
further cross-cultural work concerning bisexuality. This was done
initially through engagement with the UK bisexual communityf.
Subsequently, in 2012-2013, Monro undertook a follow-on research project
concerning bisexuality with the assistance of a Columbian researcher.
Interviews were conducted in the UK and Columbia with bisexual and other
non-heterosexual people, selected to represent individuals of diverse
ages, ethnicities, class backgrounds, abilities and genders. Relevant
blogs and websites were also analysed. The findings showed that
individuals who do not fit into heterosexual, gay or lesbian categories
face particular challenges concerning identity construction, social
marginalisation, community-building and political activism.
References to the research
a Richardson, D. and Monro, S. Organisational Change,
Resistance and Democracy: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Equalities Initiatives in Local Government. ESRC grant, reference
RES-062-23-0577, October 2007 to March 2010, £230,700.
b Richardson, D., and Monro, S. (2013) Public Duty and Private
Prejudice: Sexualities Equalities and Local Government, Sociological
Review, 61(1), 131-152.
c Monro, S. (2010) Sexuality, Space and Intersectionality: The
Case of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Equalities Initiatives in UK Local
Government, Sociology, 44(5), 1-15.
e Richardson, D., and Monro, S. (2012) Sexuality,
Diversity and Social Change: In the Name of Equality. Basingstoke:
f Barker, M., Richards, C., Jones, R., and Monro, S. (2011)
BiReCon: An International Academic Conference on Bisexuality, Journal
of Bisexuality, 11(2), 157-170.
Details of the impact
The research has significantly enhanced understanding of LGBT equalities
issues1. Crucially, it has challenged two common assumptions:
firstly, that LGBT people have won all their rights; and secondly, that
bisexual people do not have issues with which policymakers and
practitioners should be concerned. As a result, Monro's work has had
considerable influence in a number of key areas, both nationally and
internationally, in the LGBT equalities field, particularly in terms of
her distinctive contribution concerning bisexuality. Monro provided in
excess of 12 presentations, many of them invited, to conferences and other
events (for example, networks, international workshops and Pride
celebrations) organised primarily for community members, policymakers and
practitioners over the 2008-2013 period. For example, in Barcelona in
October 2009 Monro gave a keynote address at Against Homophobia,
an EU conference whose delegates included representatives of the European
Commission and international human rights organisations.
This work had a direct influence on policy development and implementation
across Europe, including the use of Monro's findings in a White
Paper2. In 2010 and 2011 the methodologies used for the
Organisational Change, Resistance and Democracy projecta were
adapted for a major
survey of public officials and LGBT human rights in 18 countries by
the Equality and Citizens' Rights Department of the EU Agency for
Fundamental Rights. Monro's findings were also used in policy discussions
in several EU member states, including Italy, where a report3
cited Monro and Richardson (2010) as describing a shift in the management
of LGBT equalities from a politicised to an administrative approach. The
report recommends that: `local authorities need to make a fundamental
transition from the political arena to the technical/ administrative
one' 3 (page 41).
Monro was invited to provide a seminar
and a workshop at the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria in
February 2013. The workshop, which compared LGBT human rights concerns in
South Africa and the UK, attracted policymakers and activists. Feedback
included statements such as, `It will make me think about the value of
In the UK, the Organisational Change project was substantially drawn on
Bisexuality Report, which was published by the Open University
in February 20125. The report has since been downloaded more
than 20,000 times and disseminated to all central government departments.
Monro's contribution has subsequently been recognised by requests to
assist government departments. In September 2012, following contacts made
through the bisexuality research project (see above), she was invited to
deliver a training workshop to the Executive at the Department of Work and
Pensions (DWP) who manage more than 100,000 staff. Individuals
subsequently commented on the impact of this workshop. For example, one
individual stated that `I think it might have already changed some
people's lives for the better. I for one feel loads better that
consciousness of those around me has been raised' (Manager,
post-training feedback filed at University of Huddersfield). The workshop
subsequently fuelled, in 2013, the development of nationwide DWP training
which focused on equality issues for bisexual DWP employees and customers.
Activities included Civil Service LGBT Awareness Learning,
bisexual-specific guidance in management training, and bisexuality
awareness sections in the Department of Work and Pensions LGBT History
Month and International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia,
all documented on the DWP intranet. These interventions were directly
informed by Monro's training. For instance, the national DWP HR Sexual
Orientation Lead stated that `following Surya's bisexuality training
last year, I developed a new "Busting some myths about bisexuality page"
on the sexual orientation section of our Diversity and Equality intranet
site' (the intranet is available to DWP employees)6. In
October 2012 Monro also contributed to a Department of Health meeting
about public health, with the Policy Adviser to the Department's Equality
and Inclusion Team later reporting7 that she had taken note
that Monro had `stressed that Public Health England will need to
provide some guidance/expertise at a national level... [to] address
the health needs of LGBT people as minority communities'.
The findings of the Organisational Change project have also influenced
policies at regional and local levels. For example, the documentation for
the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation
Trust's Equality Delivery System, in November 2011, called for `people
in senior management positions ... to give a clear message about the
importance of the sexualities and trans equalities agenda in relation to
employment opportunities and all areas of service provision'8.
Monro was invited to give the keynote speech at the 2009 LGBT Health
Summit, held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and attended by 250 delegates
including policymakers, practitioners and members of the local community,
that helped lay the foundations for the research impacting on professional
training and practice. More than 80 per cent of participants who took part
in a post- conference evaluation (on file at the University of Newcastle)
said that the research findings would affect their work. For instance, a
housing manager stated that he would consider the needs of LGBT people
more inclusively; a NHS representative said that he would make the LGBT
population visible in policy and action plans; a local authority
representative considered that the research would contribute to the
establishment of an equality scheme for LGBT people in his organisation;
and a union representative vowed to raise LGBT issues with his county
council and employer. The research findings have since been drawn upon in
practice guidelines, including the Social
Care Institute for Excellence's 2011 At A Glance report9,
which cited the findings in its recommendations for developing training
LGBT Equalities: Surviving Austerity, a workshop held in November 2012
for community members, policymakers and practitioners as part of an ESRC
Festival of Social Sciences, also developed impact, as demonstrated in the
workshop evaluation. For example, a manager in the third sector wrote: `I
am producing an LGBT strategy for my workplace, so [this] information
... will feed into it'; An Equality Policy Officer stated that `The
findings ... will be incorporated into work done within the Welsh Local
Government Association on providing equality across the public sector';
and a member of the community and voluntary sector said: `I will be
more mindful of the wider LGBT community/sector outside of my
organisation's specific focus' (evaluation results on file at the
University of Huddersfield).
The research has generated wider public appreciation of LGBT issues
through media exposure which have included: widespread coverage in the
LGBT press and Monro's appearance on Radio 4's Woman's Hour (April
2012). It has also directly stimulated LGBT diversity awareness work with
approximately 130 11-to-18-year-olds at two Youth Citizenship conferences
funded by the ESRC (November 2012 and November 2013) which resulted in
vulnerable young LGBT people accessing support10
Sources to corroborate the impact
1 ESRC project
website — provides a comprehensive overview of project activities,
findings, outputs and impacts.
White Paper (2011): `Combating Homophobia — Local Policies for
Equality on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity',
co-funded by the European Union's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
Programme and AHEAD (Against Homophobia European local Administration
Devices) European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna, Austria.
and Turin City Council LGBT Office (eds.) (2011) `LGBT Local
Policies: Italy and the Piedmont Case', Torino: Citta di Torino.
4 Contact details (1). Clinical psychologist at the Centre for
the Study of AIDS in South Africa.
Bisexuality Report Contact: Meg Barker, Open University.
6 Factual statement (2). Email sent by manager, DWP; evidence
concerning the impact of bisexuality diversity training across several
areas of DWP work, including five intranet links.
7 Factual statement (3). Email sent by policy advisor,
Department of Health concerning Monro's contribution to a public health
consultation in October 2012.
Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2011), Evidence for Equality
Delivery System Grading, November.
9 Social Care Institute for Excellence At
a Glance report, April 2011.
10 Factual statement (4). Email sent by youth worker
demonstrating positive effects of attendance at the `It's OK to be Gay'
sessions at the Youth Citizenship conference in November.