Gender and Sexualities Forum

This research group provides a forum for scholars pursuing research around the broad fields of gender and sexualities. We offer a creative intellectual space that provides a platform for developing new research ideas and collaborations as well as solidifying research agendas and sharing outputs.

Research Themes

Our research themes are broad and reflect the inter-disciplinary nature of the forum and its members’ interests. We are interested in Scottish and UK contexts and also international and transnational contexts and processes. We support empirical, methodological and theoretical research and debates. Specific research areas include:

  • Feminist theories
  • Queer theories
  • Sexual identities
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Families and relationships
  • Women’s rights

Seminars and meetings

We meet once a month and are open to all staff and postgraduate students. We operate through a flexible structure that reflects the interests of the group and its members. Our activities include seminar talks and hosting speakers, presenting ‘works in progress’ and a shared reading group.


Sharon Hayes Exhibition Talk 20 October 2016

Date: 20 October 2016

Time: 18:00-20:30

Venue: The Common Guild, 21 Woodlands Terrace, Glasgow, G3 6DF

The event is linked to the Sharon Hayes exhibition ‘In My Little Corner of the World, Anyone Would Love You’  at The Common Guild, 8 October-4 December 2016

Dr Francesca Stella is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Glasgow and a member of the Socialist Theory and Movements Research Network and the Gender and Sexualities Forum. Dr Stella’s research focuses on sexuality and gender (particularly queer lives and communities). She is interested in storytelling as a means of public engagement and will discuss her research in relation to Sharon Hayes' work.

Tickets are free but limited. Please book via Eventbrite.

Migration, Gender and Sexuality: Negotiating Health, Wellbeing and Belonging, Seminar 7 July 2016 (NEW DATE)

Date: 7 July 2016
Time: 12.00-6.00 pm
Venue: John McIntyre Building, room 208

Download programme: SexGen Seminar 7 July 2016 - Full Programme (PDF)

The aim of this seminar is to explore the intersections of gender, sexuality, migration and health and wellbeing. We see health and wellbeing as including experiences of physical and mental health, but also as related to wider understandings of security, belonging and rights. This seminar will feature presentations by researchers and practitioners who work in and around migration, health, sexuality and/or gender. Presenters will talk about their work on mixed panels, with the aim of sharing insights from research, practitioners’ and community work.

This is a SexGen Network seminar, organised by the Gender and Sexualities Forum with the support of GRAMNet, University of Glasgow; it is also part of the Refugee Festival Scotland 2016.

The seminar is free but ticketed, and places are limited. Please register at: 

For any queries please contact the organisers:
Francesca Stella, Ingrid Young,

The role of 'inherited/imagined' memories: Why do young women discuss Soviet pasts in contemporary Russia?, Seminar 29 Feb 2016

Date: Mon 29 Feb 2016
Time: 4pm
Venue: Room 209, 2 University Gardens
Chair: Dr Andrea Hajek
 Dr Vikki Turbine (University of Glasgow)

Co-hosted with the Centre for Gender History

This paper draws on data from qualitative interviews conducted with women living in Russia over the past 10 years. The paper uses selected examples from discussions about the rights claims and political concerns important in ‘young’ women’s daily lives where reference to the Soviet past is made. The paper outlines the various ways in which ‘Soviet’ is invoked and considers how we might understand this multiplicity of references and interpretations of a ‘remembered’ past as an important tool in women’s processes of sense making of their contemporary lived experience.  It seeks to disrupt narratives about ‘youth nostalgia’ in ‘Putin’s Russia’, exploring critically whether these references can be interpreted as inherited collective memories fed by state patriotic frames, or whether these are imagined, nostalgic references indicating a dissatisfaction with present and future opportunities for women in a neoliberal hybrid political and economic context. 

The Sociology of Genocide and Global Queer Politics, Public Lecture 25 Feb 2016

Date: Thu 25 Feb 2016
Time: 5.15pm
Venue: Boyd Orr Building, room 412
Speaker: Dr Matthew Waites

Pink triangleThe GU Sociology Society invites you to the second talk of our lecture series for the term. February is LGBTQ+ history month, so in partnership with the University of Glasgow's Gender and Sexualities Forum we are continuing with another lecture in this area by Dr Matthew Waites.

The lecture is free and open to anyone interested. It will take place on Thursday the 25th of February at 5pm in Boyd Orr room 412. The lecture will start around 5.15pm. We are looking forward to seeing you there!


When should genocide be invoked in global queer politics, and how can sociology assist us in responding ? Taking place during LGBT History Month, this presentation offers a sociological analysis of the historically changing discourse of genocide, which from its inception has included mass killing together with other social processes for destroying a group. The focus is on the initially exclusionary but changing relationship of genocide discourse to issues of gender and sexuality. Discussion of the Nazi Holocaust will demonstrate the limited subsequent application of the concept genocide to name the persecution of people perceived as sexually deviant, including those labelled with the pink triangle. Moving to recent African contexts, I will then briefly outline extensions of genocide discourse won by feminists, particularly from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Turn to Uganda and The Gambia in the present, I will draw on movement literature from groups including Sexual Minorities Uganda - responding the Anti-Homosexuality Act briefly passed in 2014 and other state persecution - to demonstrate the relevance of the concept genocide to analysis of these present contexts. In discussion I will relate this to the present experience of LGBT asylum seekers from Uganda, The Gambia and other African states, now with us in organisations such as LGBT Unity in Glasgow, and deserving our support and solidarity.

Facebook site:

The Sex Work Movement: Beyond 'Rights' and 'Wrongs' - 27 Nov 2015, 4-5.30 pm

27th November 2015, 4-5.30, Adam Smith Building, Room 915

This roundtable event brings together activist and academic voices in an informal and wide ranging forum to discuss the sex workers rights movement.

Issues to be addressed include:

  • The development of the movement in Scotland and beyond
  • Sex work and feminism
  • The movement transnationally and lessons from the global South
  • The possibilities and limits of human rights frameworks
  • Sex work as ‘work’

All Welcome!


Molly Smith is an activist with SCOT-PEP, a sex worker rights charity in Scotland, and with the Sex Worker Open University.

Kate Hardy is a Lecturer in Work and Employment Relations at the University of Leeds. Her core research addresses issues of labour, sex and the body through a materialist feminist perspective.

Luca Stevenson is the co-founder of Sex Worker Open University, a UK-based collective of sex workers and allies and the coordinator of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE), a network of 80 organisations working with or led by sex workers in 25 countries in Europe and Central Asia.

Seminar: Collective agency and autonomous sex work in Argentina - 27 Nov 2015, 2-3.30pm

Struggles in wageless life: collective agency and autonomous sex work in Argentina 

Kate Hardy, University of Leeds

27th November, 2-3.30pm Adam Smith Building, Room 915

Michael Denning (2010) has insisted that ‘we decentre wage labour in our conception of life under capitalism’ (2010: 80) and proposes instead that we located ‘wageless life’ as the starting point of any understanding of capitalism. In understanding agency amongst workers in capitalism, wage labour (both formal and informal) has tended to take centre stage. Significantly less is understood, however, about the capacity for organizing amongst the wageless, those who sit outside a wage relation. Autonomous sex workers, despite being disparagingly understood by Marx as part of the ‘lumpenproletariat’, can be understood as constituting part of Denning’s ‘wageless life’. The analysis in this paper considers the case of AMMAR, the sex workers’ union of Argentina, to explore possible avenues for political and collective organization in wageless life. As workers who sell sex informally, para-legally and directly to clients, they exist not only outside standardized and formal employment relations, as informal workers, but also outside a relation of exploitation and therefore outside of the wage.

Dr Kate Hardy is a Lecturer in Work and Employment Relations at the University of Leeds. She received her doctorate in geography from Queen Mary in 2010. Her core research addresses issues of labour, sex and the body through a materialist feminist perspective. She is the co-author of 'Flexible Workers: labour, regulation and the political economy of stripping' (2013) and co-editor of two edited collections - Body/Sex/Work: intimate, embodied and sexualised labour and New Sociologies of Sex Work. She is also widely published in highly ranked peer reviewed journals. Her research interests include issues surrounding trade union organizing, precarity, informal work, the body, sex work, women's movements, gender, agency and resistance and she is committed to collaborative work with actors inside and outside the academy which can produce research for progressive social change.

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LGBTI Human Rights Activism and Film, 15 Nov 2015

This event brings to Scotland for the first time the work of the unique transnational project Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, on participatory documentary film making with activists in India and Uganda.

It will include the Scottish premieres of two films: No Easy Walk to Freedom, from India made with Voices Against 377 coalition; and And Still We Rise, from Uganda made with Sexual Minorities Uganda coalition. These will be accompanied by talks and discussion, including with activists from India and Uganda, to share and generate documentary film-making and activism.

These events are organised by Glasgow Human Rights Network in partnership with Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights; Document Human Rights Film Festival; Centre for Research on Families and Relationships; Being Human Festival; Radical Film Network; Human Rights Consortium; Gender and Sexualities Forum; and the Centre for Contemporary Arts.

There are two ticketed events, which need to be booked separately via CCA box office. Further details and links on the Glasgow Human Rights Network's event webpage.

The Present Situation of LGBTI People in Uganda

Dr. Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, in conversation with Dr. Matthew Waites, Senior Lecturer in Sociology.

A joint event of the Glasgow Human Rights Network with the Gender and Sexualities Forum.

Tuesday 16 June 5.00-7.00pm

Yudowitz seminar room 1, Wolfson Medical Building, University of Glasgow.

Dr Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureate (2011), will on 17 June be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv) at the University of Glasgow, on Commemoration Day.   This award follows Dr. Mugisha’s address as Keynote Speaker at the LGBTI Human Rights in the Commonwealth conference held at the University on 18 July 2014.

On 16 June the Glasgow Human Rights Network, with the Gender and Sexualities Forum, is hosting a special event for Dr. Mugisha to speak on ‘The Present Situation for LGBTI People in Uganda’.  The event will be chaired by Dr. Matthew Waites, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and co-editor (with Corinne Lennox) of Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change (School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2013).

The event will take place in three parts.  First, Dr. Mugisha will make a presentation on the present situation in Uganda and international responses.  Second, Dr. Mugisha will engage in conversation with Dr. Waites on several questions, particularly on how the LGBTI movement struggles in Uganda relate to UK and transnational politics and LGBTI activism.  Thirdly there will be substantial time for questions and open discussion involving everyone attending; it is intended that this final section will be informal and an open forum, including for activists/NGOs to discuss current developments and collaborative strategies and support.  We expect discussion may continue informally afterwards.  Please share information about this event widely to all relevant networks for human rights, LGBTI and social justice issues.

Please note this is a ticketed event and prior booking is essential.  Full event and booking information is available on the Glasgow Human Rights network website:  [link no longer accessible] 


Book launch: 'Lesbian Lives in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia: Post/Socialism and Gendered Sexualities’

Francesca Stella

Tuesday 9th June, 4.30 - 5.30pm (venue to be confirmed)

Francesca, LKAS Fellow in Social Sciences (Sociology), will be discussing her book with Rebecca Kay, Professor of Russian Gender Studies.

Based on extensive ethnographic research, this book explores the everyday lives of 'lesbian' women in urban Russia. The first part ('time') examines generational differences between women: it shows how the Soviet system shaped understandings and experiences of same-sex desire, and how same-sex identities and communities have been renegotiated since the demise of state socialism. The second part ('space') attends to regional variation in contemporary Russia, by considering what 'lesbian' life looks like in metropolitan Moscow and in the provincial city of Ul'ianovsk. Francesca Stella details how women negotiate their sexualities across different social spaces (the home, the workplace, the street) and explores how 'lesbian' space is collectively carved out.
Lesbian Lives in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia queries essentialist accounts of Russian sexualities as exceptional and foregrounds gender as key in shaping women's experiences. The book problematizes western-centric theorizations by critically engaging with existing perspectives on queer geotemporalities, post/socialist modernity and the value of public in/visibility.

Queer Film Festivals and Cultural Activism in Europe

Dr Jon Binnie

Monday 30 March, 4pm, CEES Seminar Room, 8/9 Lilybank Gardens

Paper jointly authored by Jon Binnie and Christian Klesse (both at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

Abstract: The paper draws on a qualitative research project examining queer film festivals in Europe as sites for the production of visibility, solidarity and queer space. The project took place between June and December 2013, and consisted of 58 qualitative semi-structured interviews with core organisers and volunteers at a range of European queer festivals, including the Queer Sicilia Film Festival in Palermo; the GAZE International LGBT Film Festival in Dublin; the Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage/ International Queer Film Festival in Hamburg; the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival in Prague and Brno; and the Merlinka International Queer Film Festival in Belgrade. These interviews focused on the organisation and funding of these festivals and on the goals, aspirations and reflections of these key participants. The project also addressed the networked and relational spaces of solidarity, affinity and connection that shaped the production of these festivals, and their role in shaping public debates around LGBTQ politics and visibilities in each locality. The paper presents some initial findings from this project through a discussion of the GAZE International LGBT Film Festival in Dublin.

Jon Binnie is Reader in Human Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. He is an urban, social, cultural and political geographer whose research interests concern the urban and transnational geographies of sexualities. His work focuses on the geographies of LGBTQ political claims and their connection to issues of social and economic justice. He is the author of The Globalization of Sexuality (Sage, 2004) and co-author of The Sexual Citizen: Queer Politics and Beyond (Polity, 2000); Pleasure Zones: Bodies, Cities, Spaces (Syracuse University Press) and Sexual Politics Beyond Borders: Transnational Activist Networks and LGBTQ Politics in Europe (Manchester University Press, forthcoming). He is also co-editor of Cosmopolitan Urbanism (Routledge, 2006) and special issues of Environment and Planning A, Political Geography and Social and Cultural Geography.

Christian Klesse is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research interests include sexual, politics, social movements, non-monogamies and body modification. He is the author of The Spectre of Promiscuity: Gay Male and Bisexual Non-monogamies and Polyamories (Ashgate, 2007). He is also co-editor of Heteronormativität: Empirische Studien zu Geschlecht, Sexualität und Macht (Heteronormativity: Empirical Research on Gender, Sexuality and Power) (VS Verlag des Sozialwissenschaften, 2007) and special issues of Sexualities, and The International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society

Negotiating Socio-spatial Change: Exploring Women’s Everyday Leisure Practices in Two Neighbourhoods of Bursa, Turkey

Gokben Demibras, Sociology, Glasgow

Wed 11 February, 16:00 – 17:00,  Room 711, Adam Smith Building

This presentation is based upon the pilot study conducted in two different types of neighbourhoods (a relatively deprived neighbourhood and a gated enclave) in Bursa, Turkey. It explores women’s everyday leisure practices in their neighbourhoods through a space-time lens, to foreground how they negotiate the socio-spatial change in their local settings.  I conducted the pilot study as part of my wider PhD research project which is set against and incorporates an analysis of, broader debates relating to the impact and implications of globalisation, particularly for women.  Informed by feminist methodologies, my approach on globalisation goes beyond the binary of macro and micro views but rather focuses on multi-layered, multi-scaled intersection of different gender, class, and ethnic dimensions. In the pilot study, I used a mix of qualitative methods; 6 walk and talk interviews, 2 focus groups with the utilisation of mapping exercises, and participant observation on the walking trails of each neighbourhood. I aim to present preliminary findings and emerging themes and very much looking forward for some feedback.

Considering Emma: Queer Feminist History and Affective Method

Prof. Clare Hemmings (LSE)

Chair: Matthew Waites

Joint Gender and Sexualities/Sociology Seminar, all welcome

Wed, 21 January, 16:00 – 17:30

Room 916, Adam Smith Building

Out There anthology celebration

Date: Friday 5th December, 5.30pm
Venue: Room 101, 5 University Gardens

The Creative Writing programme, in association with the Gender & Sexualities Forum, are holding end of semester drinks and an event celebrating the Out There anthology.

Out There anthology coverReaders

  • Paul Brownsey
  • Elizabeth Reeder
  • Louise Welsh

John Smiths Bookstall

Out There, edited by Zoë Strachan, is a bold and challenging anthology of LGBT writing featuring some of the UK’s leading writers.

In the year that Scotland votes on independence from the rest of the UK, Freight Books brings a new and definitive anthology of poetry and prose writing from Scotland’s leading and emerging LGBT writers, including the likes of Ali Smith, Louise Welsh, Jackie Kay, Ronald Frame, Toni Davidson, Kerry Hudson, Val McDermid, Damian Barr and many others. The writing will be as provocative, thoughtful, moving and as fully-charged with energy as one would expect from the country’s celebrated community of LGBT artists. Edited by award-winning novelist Zoë Strachan.

'This sophisticated and mature volume does a great deal more than simply tackle the heterosexual viewpoint that dominates most Scottish literary work, especially in very male-dominated stories. The short stories, poems and non-fiction collected here all put lesbian women and gay men at the centre of society and the centre of the story. But they do so in such a casual and easeful way that it almost feels as though the centre of society and the centre of the story are a place they have always occupied.' Sunday Herald

Our readers all have associations with Glasgow University. Paul was a lecturer in Philosophy here, and founded the LGBT Society; Elizabeth is co-convenor of the Creative Writing Programme, and Louise is a graduate of the Programme and former Writer in Residence. 

Conducting Interviews in Sexualities Research: a Methodological Reflection

Date: Wednesday March 12, 4-5.30pm
Venue: Room 915, Adam Smith Building
Chair/organiser: Dr Roona Simpson
Speaker: Sabine Grenz, University of Göttingen

"This talk is based on my own research on clients of prostitutes. During the interviews sexual emotions were present at certain moments as the interviewees remembered their sexual experiences as consumers of commercial sexuality. This phenomenon made me reflect on interview methodology. In the lecture I will discuss these methodological questions concerning the interview situation from the background of feminist methodology and methodologies of sexualities research."

Sabine Grenz is a member of faculty on the Gender Studies programme, Georg-August-University of Göttingen. Between 2002-2009 she was a member of  the Socrates thematic network Athena (European Women's and Gender Studies) working group Travelling Concepts in European Women's Studies / Feminist Pedagogy. In addition to research on the constructions of masculinity of clients of prostitutes, she has conducted research on sexuality and sexual violence in modern warfare, dealing with the example of German women who experienced sexual violence during and immediately after the Second World War as well as German soldiers who committed sexual violence during this war.

There will be also be an associated postgraduate workshop on Thursday March 13th, 10.00-13.00 -‘Thinking through methodological questions in sexualities research’ – if you wish to book a place on this, please contact Roona Simpson (

LGBT equality and the geopolitics of human rights: insights from Russia

Date: Tuesday 11 February 2014, 5:00-6.30pm
Venue: University of Glasgow, Sir Charles Wilson Seminar Room (ground floor)
Speakers: Olgerta Kharitonova and Sabine Hoffman, editors of the Russian samizdat lesbian journal Ostrov
Chair/organiser: Dr Francesca Stella
Discussants: Dr Francesca Stella, Dr Vikki Turbine and Dr Matthew Waites

Since the introduction of a law banning the ‘propaganda’ of homosexuality to minors in Russia (June 2013) and a surge in episodes of homophobic violence, LGBT rights in Russia have been widely debated in the UK and beyond (media, academia, political actors, NGOs…).

Amidst a flurry of international solidarity campaigns and calls to boycott the Sochi Olympics, the issue of LGBT rights in Russia has become something of a cause celèbre; at the same time, campaigners have often failed to consult with representatives of the Russian LGBT community, to broaden the debate and include other discriminated groups and human rights violations, or to consider how human rights may be used instrumentally in foreign politics. The aim of the seminar is to explore these complexities, and to consider how misconceptions about the Russian context may jeopardise the effectiveness of international solidarity campaigns.

The seminar will be opened by Olgerta Kharitonova and Sabine Hoffman, the editors of the samizdat lesbian journal Ostrov, which has been published since 1999 and is the oldest existing lesbian publication in the country. Through their long experience of active involvement in LGBT and feminist circles, Olgerta and Sabine will offer  insights from within Russia on current debates.

We are grateful for financial support from the Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies, and from the Sociology subject area, University of Glasgow.

The Family, Sexuality, and Human Rights in Global Perspective

In association with the Glasgow Human Rights Network

Date: 23 January 2014, 5:15pm
Venue: Sir Charles Wilson Building, Basement Seminar Room, University of Glasgow
Chair: Dr Vikki Turbine (Politics, University of Glasgow)
Speakers: Dr Kelly Kollman (Politics, University of Glasgow), Dr Roona Simpson (Sociology, University of Glasgow), Dr Matthew Waites (Sociology, University of Glasgow)

Drs Kollman, Simpson and Waites will discuss their recent books. The event will conclude with a wine reception.

Book Cover: Corinne Lennox and Matthew Waites (eds.) (2013) Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change ‌Corinne Lennox and Matthew Waites (eds.) (2013) Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change (School of Advanced Study, University of London)

Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in The Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change offers the most internationally extensive analysis to date of the global struggle for decriminalisation of same-sex sexual behaviour, with chapters by academics and activists covering 16 states in detail: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Uganda, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas. The volume is the first to address the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) and all non-heterosexual people in the Commonwealth of Nations, in a context where 41 Commonwealth states still criminalise same-sex sexual acts between adults, due to the British Empire criminalising same-sex behaviour across the world.

Kelly Kollman (2013) The Same-Sex Unions Revolution in Western Democracies (Manchester University Press)

This book examines same-sex unions (SSU) policy developments in eighteen western democracies and seeks to explain why the overwhelming majority of these countries has implemented a national law to recognise gay and lesbian couples since 1989.  The analysis in the book illustrates that this  wave of SSU policy adoptions across the established democracies of Western Europe and North America is, to a significant degree, the product of international norm diffusion and socialisation.  The first part of the study traces the creation of a norm for relationship recognition by transnational activists and policymakers within the European polity, and describes how this norm has catalysed policy change in many western democracies.  The second part examines these processes in greater depth using two comparative case studies (Germany and the Netherlands; the United States and Canada) to identify how the norm influences domestic policy debates as well as which factors determine the power it can exert in different national environments.

Book cover: Lynn Jamieson and Roona Simpson (2013) Living Alone: Globalization, Identity, Belonging (Palgrave Macmillan)

Lynn Jamieson and Roona Simpson (2013) Living Alone: Globalization, Identity, Belonging (Palgrave Macmillan)

This book presents a systematic sociological analysis of the growing trend of solo living across the globe.  Prevalent first among the elderly, living alone has become common at ages associated with partners and children, leading to anxieties about the end of family and community. This groundbreaking and highly original study brings evidence to core debates about contemporary social change in the context of globalization, exploring individualization and social connection, the future of family formation, consumption and identities, the relevance of place in mobile worlds, belonging and 'community', living arrangements and sustainability.

2013 events

Gendering Discourses on Fertility Decline

Roona Simpson
18 September 2013, 4.00-5.30pm, Main Building Turnbull Room

Governmentality Roundtable Discussion

Matthew Waites and Katherine Allison
12 June 2013, 4.00-5.30pm, Main Building Senate Room

Informal meeting: Sharing of research interests and plans for future meetings

22 May 2013, 4.00-5.30pm, Main Building Senate Room