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

 

Resource authors: Eleanor Formby
Project: Connected lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities? A scoping study to explore understandings and experiences of ‘community’ among LGBT people

This study examined understandings and experiences of LGBT communities, and assessed implications for health and wellbeing, employing a literature review, online survey and in-depth 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.

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