Creating learning tools from research to explore intersectionality, ageing and LGBT identities: a case study

Authors: Fenge, L. and Jones, K.

Conference: Sexualities in Social Work Conference

Dates: 8-10 August 2018


This paper discusses how a body of participatory research concerning the lives and experiences of older lesbian and gay people has been used to inform learning tools for social workers and the wider community. Historically the needs of older LGBT people have been ignored by health and social care providers through sexuality-blind approaches within their provision. This has led to discrimination and resistance to change in public service provision. Our approach has stressed the importance for social workers to consider individual biography and narrative in identity processes, and to unsettle approaches to ageing which promote homogeneous understandings. This approach is underpinned by the concept of intersectionality and the importance of encouraging consideration of the ‘intersecting oppressions’ which older lesbian and gay citizens may experience.

The older co-researchers in these projects were committed to research which would challenge and change health and social care practice. Therefore community engagement, alongside the development of innovatory dissemination tools, became a central focus for our work. Our participatory approach, focused on co-produced outputs has been acknowledged as developing an innovative methodology for LGBT research (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2008).The paper considers how a film and a method deck of cards, presented to social workers and other service providers in several workshops over time, offered opportunities to learn and critically reflect upon an informed practice. It will explore how such approaches create a space in which to challenge prejudice and discrimination, key elements of developing a culturally competent social care workforce. Discussion of how such approaches can be used in social work curricula will be offered. References Equality and Human Rights Commission (2008). Research report 34 Sexual Orientation Research Review Manchester: Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Source: Manual