Assessing the policy impact of Brexit on the UK's Sexual/Reproductive Health Rights of LGBT+ people: a qualitative study

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Mary, University of London
Department Name: Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular


Focusing on Brexit as a catalyst of significant policy change (Fahy and all, 2017), this research aims to
explore the impact leaving the EU will have on the sexual/reproductive health rights of LGBT+ people.
The embedded nature of EU membership leaves multiple areas of cooperatively developed policy
open to change and potential regression as oversight is lost from EU institutions through this
governance gap (Renshaw, 2018) (National Assembly for Wales, 2018). The impact of leaving the EU
on the legal, cultural and social protections of LGBT+ reproductive rights are unknown - this research
project intends to start filling in this gap.
Thesis Statement/ Initial Literature Review
This project aims to describe the impact of Brexit on the sexual/reproductive health rights of Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual, Trans and other (LGBT+) people in the UK. These rights refer "to a diversity of civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights affecting the sexual and reproductive life of individuals
and couples" (United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, 2014, p 21). This
expands the scope of this research to encompass more than health policy, but wider societal issues to
reflect on the depth of factors associated with sexual/reproductive health rights.
These depths of factors shows the complexity at hand in researching this issue, but with commitments
to these rights at both national (Public Health England, 2015) and international (United Nations
Population Fund, 2018) levels, this research's work is relevant to aid these existing policy goals by
discovering the currently unknown relationships of Brexit's different disturbances to the
sexual/reproductive safeguards for LGBT+ people in the UK. Moreso, these policy disturbances from
Brexit not only effect wider socio-economic factors but are also present in a newly emerging policy
regime that demands a deeper exploration of the qualms for LGBT+ people post-Brexit (Guerrina and
Masselot, 2018) (Simpkin and Mossialos, 2017).
Understanding these spectral issues, from civil to economic, surrounding LGBT+ health has been a
persistent theme well before Brexit (Bränström and Star, 2015). It's understanding has been
intertwined with national and international commitments to sexual/reproductive care as well as being a

key area of study amongst research institutions (ESRC, 2018) as its evolving development demands
continuous research (Bachtler and Begg, 2017).
Brexit poses a significant catalyst to this evolution as policies/practises are displaced from current
understood models of governance to a brave new world of 'purely' domestic governance. Conversely,
as London (2008) points towards in 'What is a human-rights based approach to health and does it matter?' rights are impacted across borders by a variety of actors amongst different policy levels.
That, contrary to the rhetoric of regaining total sovereignty via Brexit (Gordon, 2016), the
sexual/reproductive health rights of LGBT+ in the UK will always be shaped by actors from local to
global levels through the UK's ongoing interaction with the world. It is, however, the sudden (and not
the total) removal of the EU as a direct policy shaper to an indirect one that leaves a governance gap
for LGBT+ health rights and a vacuum of primary interest for this research.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2322288 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Liam Gary Arnull