The field of LGBT equalities work has been undergoing a period of rapid change fuelled by the introduction of a raft of new legislation including the Employment Equalities (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, the Gender Recognition Act 2004, and the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004 (in Northern Ireland). The shift in the policy landscape was especially apparent in the local government arena, where the repeal of section 28 removed previous barriers to sexualities equalities initiatives. These developments in local government provided powerful levers for the revitalisation of local democracy, since, as a result of statutory changes and the local government modernisation agenda (LGMA), these authorities were obliged to develop equalities policies concerning sexual orientation. LGBT equality appeared to be undergoing a process of normalisation.
However, although some local authorities embraced these changes, they faced a number of obstacles to the organisational development involved. These obstacles included resource limitations, the crowded policy agenda facing local authorities, and organisational inertia. In addition, there were divergences within the LGBT communities, concerning the inclusion of different groups. LGBT equalities work provided an ideal prism through which organisational ambivalence, change, and resistance can be further examined.
Dr Surya Monro is engaged in a new project that develops understandings of bisexuality and other identities that are not lesbian, gay, or straight, focusing on the social and political aspects. It will gather the information needed for a book provisionally titled ‘Bisexual Identities’ which will be published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2014 . There is a real need for a book about bisexuality which uses (and extends) ‘mainstream’ social and political theory, and which is accessible to a wide range of people. The book will increase awareness and understanding of bisexuality and other forms of sexual diversity amongst interested members of the public, undergraduate and postgraduate students, academics, policy makers, and activists working to create positive social change.
Professor Diane Richardson has recently been awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship entitled 'Transforming Citizenship: Sexuality, Gender and Citizenship Struggles'. Starting in September 2013, the Fellowship will run for two years and will develop the themes that arose out of the sexuality, equality and local governance project, as well as a more recent ESRC funded project on women and citizenship post-trafficking in Nepal.