Intersectionality and identity construction amongst queer British youth

Between 2018-19, I conducted fieldwork with young LGBT people in four socioeconomically and culturally variable locations in the UK. I am now in the early stages of analysing the data collected during this time, which are in the form of interviews and focus groups.

The project builds on a pilot study in the North of England (more information here). It combines ethnography with discourse analysis to examine the strategies used by the young people to negotiate norms and ideologies of gender and sexuality in their everyday interaction. Specifically, the project is focused on intersectionality to consider how factors such as the young people’s socioeconomic class, ethnicity, location, and support networks impact on their experiences as LGBT people and their subsequent identity constructions.

The aims of the project are (1) to develop a framework for the qualitative sociolinguistic analysis of LGBT identity which takes into account the impact of other social identities, and (2) to inform social policy and practice related to the support of young LGBT people.

In relation to the second point, I worked with the young people during 2020-21 to develop the LGBT+ Youth Manifesto; this empowered the young people and gave them a voice, and will feed in (along with the results of the wider project) to a briefing paper delivered to policy-makers during 2021-22.

The project is funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant. Some reflections on applying for this grant are here.

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