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Ground-breaking LGBT research showcased at DMU

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Ground-breaking research on the experiences of people from LGBT communities was showcased at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) this week.

Crossing Borders: Multi Disciplinary Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans research studies was the final event to take place during the inaugural #DMUpride, a series of events put on by the university to mark LGBT History Month.

The aim of the conference was to break down barriers between academia and practice, and to examine the approaches which work best to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBT communities.

It was organised by Dr Julie Fish, director of the Mary Seacole Research Centre, and was attended by researchers, students, health workers, statutory bodies, NHS managers and representatives from Leicester’s LGBT centre.

Research showcased by DMU academics included:

  • How a case study by DMU’s Dr Julie Fish enabled one charity to re-design support services for LGBT people with cancer
  • A study of gay  migrants from Iran, where homosexuality carries the death penalty, by Dr Rusi Jaspal
  • An evaluation of medical interventions for BME gay and bisexual men, who have poorer mental health and sexual health outcomes– Dr Iain Williamson
  • Why gay sportsmen still feel unable to be open about their sexuality, by Dr Helen Owton
  • The launch of a new book chronicling experiences of victims, offenders and staff in the criminal justice system by Dr Charlotte Knight, honorary researcher and Kath Wilson, associate programme leader

Dr Fish said: “The response has been incredible and I think what we all hope is that this will lead to greater collaborations. We have had quite a diverse audience and they were quite energised by the fact that we were presenting research of such variety.”

“It has been really good to have a dialogue between the researchers and those in the public services,” added Dr Williamson. “By sharing our research we have identified quite a few barriers and we have the opportunity for working closer in the future.”

Sarah Thomson, director of strategic partnerships at DMU, is co-chair of the LGBT staff network. She said: “This is a ground-breaking conference which is the first to consider LGBT research and scholarship at DMU.

“Throughout the whole of the #DMUpride celebrations there was a real desire to have an academic grounding to the event, to show our research in context.”

Members of the audience said that the research being showcased by DMU academics had relevance to their work.

Paul Fitzgerald, chief executive of Leicester’s LGBT centre, said: “The research is absolutely essential to ensure that the rights of the LGBT communities are not only heard but acted upon in relation to healthcare, from primary care to palliative to end of life care there should be a focus for treatment.”

Mark Wheatley, public health principal for Leicester City Council, said: “We are interested in the wider dissemination of health and health inequality. It seems to me that the research we have heard here is useful in addressing the issues of inequality of outcomes for people we care for.”

Posted on Wednesday 25th February 2015

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