Seminar to highlight the experiences of older lesbians
The seminar, organised by the University’s Centre for Applied Social Research (CeASR), will be led by Dr Jane Traies, a Research Associate at the University of Sussex. It will take place from 3-4.30pm at the University’s Broadcasting Place building, room 202. Places are free and can be booked at http://bit.ly/CeASR6May.
Dr Traies will present her groundbreaking PhD research, which examined the lives of British lesbians over 60, compiling the largest ever international data set of older lesbians’ experience and ageing. Jane gathered information from approximately 400 lesbians over 60, personally speaking to nearly 50 lesbians between the ages of 60 and 90. She completed the research in 2014 and has already published her research both as sole author and with others, and given many talks over the past four years to academic audiences and the wider public.
Dr Traies has found that, although these women lead ‘very varied lifestyles’, they recognise a common bond and a strong sense of shared identity based on the experience of having been a stigmatised minority.
Dr Traies also conducted a media survey and perceptions questionnaire, finding that older lesbians were under-represented in academic research, popular culture and the media.
Speaking ahead of the lecture Dr Traies said: “The subject is deeply personal to me, since I am an ‘older lesbian’ myself (I am 70), and essentially I’ve been an ethnographer of my own tribe. I believe this shared identity was one of the things that made it possible for my respondents to trust me with their stories. It also makes me feel very responsible to them – some of the women had not told their story to anyone before.”
Angela Grier, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett and organiser of the seminar, added: “This will be a truly inspirational seminar from Dr Jane Traies. Her study of older lesbians in the UK is both innovative and highly acclaimed within the British media and academia. The subject area of homosexuality, and especially same sex marriage, is very topical within the public and political discourses. Jane works closely with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups in order to further advance the under representation of older lesbians with both popular culture and the media.”
Dr Traies plans to use her research findings to campaign for more service provision for older LGBT people and to make older lesbians more culturally visible.