Making Liveable Lives: Rethinking Social Exclusion

Lead Research Organisation: University of Brighton
Department Name: Sch of Environment and Technology

Abstract

The main research objective is to move beyond exclusion/inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer (LGBTQ) communities in UK and India creating a liveability model that can be adapted globally. Whilst work has been done to explore the implications of Equalities legislation, including contesting the normalisations of neo-liberalisms, there has yet to be an investigation into what might make every day spaces liveable for LGBTQ people. This project addresses social exclusion, not only through identifying exclusions, but also by exploring how life might become liveable in everyday places in two very different contexts.
In 2013 the Marriage (Same Sex) Act passed in the UK, and in India the Delhi High Court's reading down Indian Penal Code 377 in 2009 to decriminalize sexual acts between consenting same-sex people was overturned by the Supreme Court. Yet bullying, mental health and safety continue to be crucial to understanding British LGBTQ lives, in contrast the overturned the revoke of Penal Code 377 2013, this has resulted in increased visibilities of LGBTQ people. These different contexts are used to explore liveable lives as more than lives that are just 'bearable' and moves beyond norms of happiness and wellbeing.
This research refuses to be fixed to understanding social liberations through the exclusion/inclusion, in place/out of place dichotomies. Using commonplace to move beyond 'in place' towards being common to the place itself. Place can then be shared in common as well as collectively made in ways that do not necessarily impose normative agendas/regulatory conditionalities. Social liberations are examined in the transformation of everyday encounters without conforming to hegemonies or making 'normal' our own.
Whilst the focus is sexual and gender liberations, the project will enable considerations of others social differences. It will show how places produce differential liveabilities both where legislative change has been achieved and where it has just been repealed. Thus, the project offers academic and policy insights into safety, difference and vibrant and fair societies.
The study will use a 7 phase mixed methods design:
1. Project planning and research design, including formally establishing the advisory group and meeting 1, setting milestones and setting in place all agreements/ethical approvals
2. Literature review exploring key measures used to rate and assess LGBTQ 'friendliness'/inclusion nationally, supra-nationally and internationally
3. A spatial assessment of LGBTQ liveabilities that includes, but moves beyond, the measures identified in phase 2, applying these at a local scale e.g. policy indicators and place based cultural indicators
4. Twenty focus groups (80 participants, sample targeting marginalised LGBTQ people), coupled with online qualitative questionnaires (150), and shorter SMS text questionnaires (200)/App responses (200) to identify add to the liveability index created in phase 3 and what makes life un/liveable for a range of LGBTQ people and how this varies spatially
5. Participants in the data collection will be invited to reconfigure place through UK/India street theatre performances. These will be video recorded, edited into one short video and widely distributed. Data will be collected by observing interactions; on the spot audience surveys; reflections on the event
6. The research will analyse the data sets as they are collected. At the end of the data collection phase time will be taken to look across all 4 data sets to create a liveability index
7. Research dissemination will be targeted at community and academic audiences, including end of project conferences in India/UK, collating policy/community reports, academic outputs.
The impact plan details the short (transnational support systems; empowerment of participants), medium (policy changes, inform practice) and long-term (changing perceptions of LGBTQ people) social impacts and how these will be achieved.

Planned Impact

The most important beneficiaries of this research will be LGBTQ communities in India and the UK. The impacts of this research will also be felt by policy makers, community groups/NGOs, police and safety services and non-LGBTQ people and the liveability model in the longer-term could change the ways in which equalities/inclusion are assessed. These beneficiaries and a summary of the impacts will be addressed in turn.
Collaborators from LGBTQ communities will be involved from the outset on the advisory group for this research and will be tasked with ensuring that the research actions reflect the ethos of co-working and empowerment of marginalised groups. Activists on the advisory group through transnational dialogue will create shared knowledges, engage in mutual learning and develop new transnational support systems, such as networking, sharing painful experiences and receiving support/advice from those in very different contexts. The liveability measure will be created with LGBTQ people to establish what makes life liveable and this will be used to inform street theatre which aims to change the perceptions of unsafe/uncomfortable places. Throughout the research and impact activities, the focus will be on how to make LGBTQ lives more liveable.
The creation of a liveability measure has the potential to make a significant contribution to how 'equalities' and 'inclusions' are measured, moving beyond tick boxes towards meaningful measures that account for multiple differences and spatial variations nationally as well as cross-nationally. This aims to broaden understanding of social exclusions and how these might be tackled. Broad use of the liveability measure has the potential to address issues of social difference, fairness and social cohesion. This has significant policy implications in terms of how legislation is implemented and equality and diversity practically manifest, improving policy and practices to address social exclusion and create just societies.
Policy reports and community summaries will use the liveability measure to rethink how social justice agendas are defined. The liveability measure and the outcomes of street theatre will provide evidence and new thinking to NGOs and community groups regarding the inclusion of diverse LGBTQ people in their work and how this may relate to social justice goals.
For the police and safety services in India and the UK the liveability measure will provide new information as well as build and extend on other research that explores bullying, harassment, violence, suicidal harm and safety. It enables a reconsideration of safety initiatives that seek to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime, looking to prevent hate crime alongside reporting agendas. For example, it will seek to directly address sexual harassment in public spaces and thus looking to prevent such harassment beyond reporting to law enforcement agencies.
Further beneficiaries will be non-LGBTQ people who will be given means of encountering LGBTQ people as commonplace. The project aims to initially momentarily change the perceptions of LGBTQ people. This will be achieved in part through street theatre. It seeks to develop greater appreciation of the challenges and possibilities of social difference and how to encounter difference differently, through the video of the street theatre performances on social media outlets- with the aim of eliciting further responses and engagements. In addition it is hoped that spin off events will be encouraged through the coverage of the street theatre and distribution of the final video. Harnessing social media will be done with an explicit attempt to engage people in making public spaces open to difference beyond law enforcement/criminalisation.

The 'during' the project impacts, as well as the short, medium and long-term aims, and how these will be achieved, are outlined in the Pathways to Impact Plan.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Street Theatre Performance Brighton 
Description Following a one day workshop, participants performed street theatre in public spaces in Brighton. 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Participants reported feelings of empowerment and seeking community. They also reported wanting to set up a LGBTQ street theatre group. Finally the general public engaged with the performance and clearly related to the messages being presented. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLfEABXevqzjjfgAClaLWXs_RyQFDyN8Wl&v=DnHHu-v84ko
 
Title Street theatre performance -Kolkata 
Description One street theatre performances were created by participants in street theatre workshops, who then performed in street spaces for the general public. The street theatre depicted LGBT lives and struggles on a busy Kolkata street. The comments and responses were supportive and positive, it was clear that key ideas about sexuality were presented, in ways that challenged the current legislative context of India. The full performance can be seen here in the URL below. There is also a video that explores the street theatre workshops and performances in the UK and India. 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Recorded interviews described seeing LGBTQ people differently and considering LGBTQ issues after the performance. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLfEABXevqzjjfgAClaLWXs_RyQFDyN8Wl&v=QfKZSnJzgj8
 
Description Research objectives: To move beyond the analysis of exclusion/inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) communities in the UK and India and explore how, when and where lives become un/liveable for LGBTQ people.
Finding 1: In considering liveability in an empirical sense through LGBTQ lives, key breakthroughs are:
• Rights, legislative changes and equality laws are important, but they may not create liveable lives. When examining how lives are lived in the UK and India, it was clear that what makes lives liveable related to, but was not determined by, equalities legislation (or conversely discriminatory legislation).
• Liveability is spatially and temporally created. Liveabilities differ between people and over a person's lifecourse. What makes life liveable at one point in the lifecourse may be different to what makes life liveable at another point. There are geographies to liveabilities that include, and move beyond, Global North/Global South divides.
• Liveability is felt rather than being measurable. We would caution against developing global measures of liveabilities, focusing instead on social transformation that is contextually nuanced, yet transnationally connected.
• Liveability is communal. People can be central to making life liveable as well as not liveable - and community, friendships and family can make life liveable and not liveable. Thus, dealing with people as individuals will not be sufficient.
• Making your life liveable does not necessarily make you happy. Working for social change and undertaking activism is hard. Being an LGBTQ person may take away other important structures of 'happy' lives (such as family and friends), and yet still make life more liveable.
• What makes life liveable for LGBTQ people is partially determined by their gender and sexual identities. Liveability about lives, and being LGBTQ is one part of this. This is a very important part for some, even though they know there is more. For others, they understand and experience their sexual and gender identities as accepted and 'fine', and so this isn't seen as a 'big part' of improving their lives.
Finding 2: Currently there is no academic transnational analysis or comparison between nations that explores the state of LGBTQ rights, equalities and lives. One NGO produces 'rainbow maps' focused mainly on legislative discrimination. Yet, government decisions regarding aid can be made by labelling countries as homophobic due to specific legislations. This may not evenly address the abuse, discrimination and prejudice as they are manifest in people's lives and requires further research.
Finding 3: The implementation of legislation is uneven within countries. In the UK, mandatory equalities legislation regarding sexual orientation and gender identity (Equality Act 2010) was not only unevenly implemented by local authorities, but some were failing to implement the legislation. Two data collection points showed a decline in adherence to legislation over time. In India, IPC377 did have discernible effects on LGBTQ politics, but this was not operationalized in the same way in different places across the country.
Finding 4: Working transnationally can contest the imperative for comparability. Street theatre workshops also provided innovative data as well as significant impact.
Exploitation Route • Academics: This is the first piece of research to take on a conceptually informed empirical engagement with liveability (as distinct from survival), and beyond juridico-political frames. There is much to be done to develop these findings, and to consider how they might be applied to reconsider our engagements with equalities, social justice, and indeed what the aims of sexual- and gender-related activisms might be.
Further transnational conceptual work will explore what liveability means. To this end we are developing theory regarding inclusion/exclusion through a series of papers, the first of which addresses happiness. This is ongoing as we develop theoretical inferences from the data and work towards a co-authored book. It is anticipated that this work will be taken up by others to explore the limitations of equalities and the complexities of inclusion, as well as developing thinking regarding operationalising transnational participatory research.

• Policy Makers: Politicians, policy makers and those in charge of ensuring policy compliance/non-compliance are well-placed to make use of this research. Advocating and campaigning for LGBTQ people at all scales of engagement could be augmented by the project's non-comparative approach, critiques of legislation-focused efforts, and identification of social relationships as crucial to LGBTQ liveability.

• Activists: Activist groups could develop these findings in their own work. Sappho for Equality now speak of 'liveability' when considering positive social change. It is likely that this term will increase in use as it becomes increasingly clear that there is a need to develop more robust approaches, and a new language for social progress, with regards to genders and sexualities.

• General Public: This project addresses a need to develop improved transnational understandings of sexual and gender difference and how this is lived in the UK and India. Through public lectures, as well as other public engagements, such as radio shows, this project's work will feed into developing public perceptions that question the understanding of nations as either 'progressive' or 'backward'. This task is crucial to developing more socially cohesive societies in globalised contexts.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.liveablelives.org
 
Description The process of undertaking the research, alongside the findings and results, has made a difference in terms of national policy implementation, activist work (both locally and transnationally), and dented public perceptions and stereotypes of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) lives in India and the UK. This report will cover key audiences and the differences that this research has made, both in terms of process and findings. This research concluded on the 31st January 2017 and the full impact of this research is still being realised. Further annual reports will highlight the ongoing ways that the research is being used. Here we detail the short-term and some medium term impacts. International engagements with measures of LGBT friendliness: This research has augmented the call for robust measures of LGBTI inclusions transnationally. It has been used by ILGA World, a worldwide federation that campaigns for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex rights, working with the United Nations and their Development Projects. National policy implementation: In the process of undertaking the data collection into UK local authorities' adherence to the Equality Act 2010, some councils who were contacted asked for support in developing their adherence to the legislation. They subsequently changed their available information, with some developing work around the area. The first report to examine the Public-Sector Duties associated with the Act resulted in a question asked in Parliament regarding its findings. This lead to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission writing to all local authorities to ensure their adherence to the legislation. Activism and wellbeing: Local and transnational activisms have been developed and enhanced through this project. Through this project those who worked on it as activists (as well as academics) discussed how their lives were made more liveable though the process of the research. This included members of the research team, steering group and those attending workshops. For some in both India and the UK, these groups were amongst the first contacts they had with LGBTQ people and groups such as Sappho for Equality. For Sappho for Equality this lead to contact with new people, who in turn received support from this organisation and joined its activities. Furthermore, through the process of collecting together news articles regarding the prosecution of LGBTQ people, Sappho for Equality's archives were significantly expanded upon, including indexing in ways that made the material more accessible and useable. This enables access to this unique collection and developed understandings of activisms and LGBTQ histories across India. It also supported Sappho for Equality's work in campaigning and advocacy. Finally, this project developed innovative and unique interactions across India and the UK. Through a web-based app interface, LGBTQ people were able to engage in conversations on discussion boards around issues of shared interest. This created a temporary and transient community that has significant further potential. Participants were also asked to offer public facing videos about what makes their lives liveable. These were tweeted and shared on the website and social media. Conferences in India and the UK gave activists and academics the opportunity to engage with each other through the preliminary findings of the project. These were well attended and generated significant discussions of key issues, as well as conversations and collaborations around future activities and collaborations within and beyond research. One of the participants in the UK conference subsequently tweeted that it was: 'One of the most impactful LGBTIQ related events I've ever been to'. Public perceptions: This project sought to experiment with momentarily changing public space and from this addressing attitudes to LGBTQ lives, through street theatre. Formed through street theatre workshops, in the UK, the experiment with change in street theatre performances took the form of recognising ongoing difficulties in LGBTQ lives. In India, it focused on awareness and visibility. The transnational film I Script, My Script illustrated the various approaches and challenges of participants and public engagement with street theatre workshops and performances. It also demonstrated the changes that street theatre can make, as evidenced by the police officer interviewed about repealing Indian anti-homosexuality legislation at the end of the Kolkata street theatre: Policeman: I understood the subject Everyone is talking about this. We should think about it SFE: What do you think? Policeman: I feel it's right, it should happen. Public perceptions were also affected by news coverage of the lack of compliance with legal public sector duties and coverage of project (including appearances on LGBTQ and mainstream media including magazine and radio coverage).
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Changes to the Implementation of LGBT policies in Local Cocunils in England
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact Due to the process of collecting data regarding the implementation of the Equality ACT 2010 on local governments in England, several changed their website and information available to the public. This extended beyond changes to LGBT information and included updated sites and contacts. This improved the accessibility of public services to LGBT people and others. Further pressure was put onto local governments through a series of local radio interviews that focus specially on local government authorities. This raised public awareness of the issue both nationally and locally, and how this might be addressed.
 
Title Equalities database 
Description A list of English councils adherence to LGBT Equalities 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact During the process of data collection, a number of councils contacted the researchers to help them to become more compliant to current legislation. 
 
Title Equalities database comparison between 2015 and 2016 
Description This database outlines every local authority in England and their compliance with the Equality Act 2010 and subsequent public sector guidance. TI also details their engagement with LGBT equalities. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This database wasted to develop a report which is reported on separately. 
 
Title Implementation of Sexuality and Gender Legislation in India 
Description A collection of newspapers and other sources of information pertaining to the implementation of sexualities and gender identity legislation in India. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Sappho for Equality had a significant archive of material which was uncatalogued and thus unusable. Due to this research, they now have a searchable archive that can be used and provides an unprecedented historical archive. 
 
Description ILGA collaboration 
Organisation International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
Country Global 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Relevant materials shared. Invitation to key ILGA world organiser to keynote at the final conference. Discussions of future ventures
Collaborator Contribution Engaging the research team with the UNDP processes regarding Global research that will establish Global understandings of LGBTI rights. Presenting key research at the end of Conference event. Putting the research team into contact with key partners.
Impact Conference presentation
Start Year 2016
 
Description Discuss with MP Caroline Lucas which led to a parliamentary question 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact After a meeting with Caroline Lucas, she submitted a parliamentary question, this led to a communication to all local authorities via the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to ensure they understood their responsibility to adhere to Equalities legislation.
The question asked was:
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the report, Acting on equalities: are local authorities in England meeting the duties of the Equality Act 2010 and addressing sexual orientation and gender equality, published by the University of Brighton in October 2016, what steps she is taking to address the finding of that report that in 2016 over half of local authorities in England were failing to demonstrate compliance with the specific public sector duties of the Equality Act 2010 and associated Government Equalities Office Guidance.

The response was:
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the regulator for the public sector equality duty set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. The Commission uses a range of levers to ensure local authorities and other public bodies comply with the requirements of the duty, from provision of guidance through to enforcement activity where it considers there to be a strategic benefit.
In light of the Brighton University report highlighted by the Honourable Member, the Commission will be writing to the Local Government Association (LGA) drawing its attention to the findings of the research and of the Commission's evidence of the key equality challenges facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and asking the LGA to remind local authorities of their legal obligations under the public sector equality duty.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question...
 
Description Liveable Lives Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact An interactive website supports this project. It had/has a variety of functions including those for members (who must identify as LGBT and were asked to complete a joining questionnaire). For members the website:
collected data via embedded and short surveys; allowed participants to engage with each other through a discussion board focused on specific topics; enabled participants to share pictures, and enabled participants to see early findings.
For non-members and members the website allowed access to all published materials; access to project videos and an ability to speak to the research team.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.liveablelives.org
 
Description Making Lives Liveable: Is Gender and Sexual Equality Enough, Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A conference was held that attracted members of the general public, activists, policy makers, and those that work with LGBT people. Working across the UK and India, the conference was accompanied by a radio broadcast and national press coverage. This two day event explored the ways in which equalities legislation and decriminalization are both desired but can also fall short of making lives liveable for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) people. Challenging assumptions that 'global north is better than the global south' or 'west is best', the event encouraged activists, academics and policy makers to critically explore ways of advancing, charting and mapping 'progress' for LGBTQ people in their everyday lives. The conference was attended by international scholars and the audience reported changes in their understandings regarding the implementation of LGBT equalities in the UK, as well as understandings of the everyday lives of lesbians, bowmen and trans men in India. Finally, the conference sparked significant further conversation on transnational working, by academics and activists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.brighton.ac.uk/secp/events/make-liveable-lives-is-sexual-and-gender-legislative-equality...
 
Description Project workshops UK/India 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Discussions of liveable lives sparked connections between participants, as well as between participants and researchers.

Participants reported increased connections to LGB groups and people in India; ability to work for social change, as well as personal empowerment
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://liveablelives.org/news/post/sapphoworkshop2
 
Description Public Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A public lecture entitled 'What's Geography Got to Do with it?' was presented to over 200 people. This generated significant discussion, a report in the local newspaper, PhD student applications and other expressions of interest from the general public and students.
A youtube video has been watched over 250 times (Jan 2017).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3X3epn8eD0
 
Description Regular appearances on Out In Brighton, including on the podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The radio show Out In Brighton is broadcast on Radio Reverb, a Brighton radio station. Over the lifetime of this research, researchers have appeared on this show to recruit participants, report on progress and report on findings. During one visit to the UK, Indian research partners, including activists from Sappho for Equality appeared on the radio programme to discuss their work in India and to promote the UK conference (reported elsewhere).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/outinbrighton/episodes/2016-10-20T08_49_34-07_00
 
Description Street Theatre Workshop (Brighton) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Two street theatre workshop events. These were created through excellent discussions with participants and between participants and the workshop facilitators who came from Sappho for Equality in India. The performances that resulted from these discussions are reported elsewhere (Artistic outputs).

From the street theatre workshops and performances a film 'I Script, My Script' was created and this is reported elsewhere.

Increased interest in LGBT street theatre as mode of political action
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://liveablelives.org/news/post/brighton-street-theatre
 
Description Street Theatre Workshop (Kolkata) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact tHe street theatre workshops were held over a series of weeks in Kolkata, building community, trust and comradeship. They provided a space for exploration and engagement and were reported to be a very positive experience. They resulted in a street theatre performance, which is discussed elsewhere.

After this activity, the local group felt empowered and the public who witnessed it reported that it had challenged their views.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://liveablelives.org/news/post/kolkata-street-theatre
 
Description Street theatre video: I Script/My Script 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A film was produced by a professional filmmaker with the aim of highlighting the possibilities and limitations of using street theatre to work for social change for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer people. This was put online, promoted through social media and has received positive comments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLfEABXevqzjjfgAClaLWXs_RyQFDyN8Wl&time_continue=3&v=vqlJ9bm6Qb4