Connected lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities? A scoping study to explore understandings and experiences of ‘community’ among LGBT people

FORMBY, Eleanor (2012). Connected lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities? A scoping study to explore understandings and experiences of ‘community’ among LGBT people. Discussion Paper. Swindon, Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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    Abstract

    This study examined understandings and experiences of LGBT communities, and assessed implications for health and wellbeing, employing a literature review, online survey and indepth interviews and discussion groups. LGBT communities are often understood as communities of ‘identity’ or ‘interest’. Study participants frequently used the term community to refer to groups of LGBT people (known to one another or not), whether physical, online or imagined through (shared) feelings of ‘belonging’. The study highlighted three key elements/foundations to LGBT communities: place/space, (shared) identity, and (to a lesser extent) politics. Participants and existing evidence highlights the importance of shared experiences of stigma/discrimination, and a resulting sense of ‘connection’. This does not negate the need to acknowledge/address diversity and inequality or exclusion. Safe spaces were identified as key to avoid ‘self-censorship’ regularly employed in wider society, though participants engaged with other LGBT people for a variety of reasons. Sensing/experiencing ‘community’ had clear links to reported wellbeing, including combating isolation, heightening confidence and self-esteem, and sometimes improving/maintaining physical health. However, potential ‘risks’ related to elements of community were also identified (e.g. alcohol/drug consumption). Caution is needed when the term ‘community’ is used in the singular and/or when it is assumed that LGBT people are more alike than not.

    Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
    Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Education and Inclusion Research
    Depositing User: Eleanor Formby
    Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2012 12:51
    Last Modified: 04 Dec 2012 12:51
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6527

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