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Sue Westwood



Dr Sue Westwood
BSc (Hons), MSc (Geront), MSc (IntPsych), DipCnsPsych, PGDip (Gender, Sexuality & Human Rights), GDL, PhD (Law), FHEA

Senior Lecturer

I joined York Law School as a Lecturer in 2018 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2021. I had previously taught law at Keele University, Coventry University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, had been a research fellow/research associate at several universities, including the University of Surrey and the University of Oxford, and also a Visiting Scholar at Emory Law School, Atlanta, USA.

My previous research has focused on LGBTQ+ ageing in regulatory contexts. I am currently re-aligning my research focus to women, ageing and (in)equality in regulatory contexts relating to the gendered spaces of home, care, work and retirement. My approach is feminist, intersectional and relational, with an emphasis on remedying gender/age discrimination and disadvantage in later life. I am interested in legal pluralism, particularly in how legal rules operate (potentially differently) in the (feminised) closed care contexts of home care, residential care and nursing home care. 



Research projects under development

Sue is currently developing research projects on:

  • Older women’s experiences of ageism and sexism, in regulatory contexts
  • Solo Women Living with Dementia in the Community (SWoLD): Crisis points, transitions, policy and practice implications, in collaboration with Professor Trish Hafford-Letchfield (University of Strathclyde)
  • Legal consciousness in care homes, in collaboration with Dr Nicola Carey (University of the Highlands and Islands Scotland), Dr Kritika Samsi (King’s College, London) and Dr Victoria Shepherd (Swansea University, Wales).
  • Religion, sexual orientation and gender identity rights tensions in older age care contexts

Sue is also writing a good practice guide on working with LGBT+ people affected by dementia, with Dr Liz Price, University of Hull in collaboration with Jessica Kingsley Press.

Previous research projects

Sue has previously led on the following projects:


Selected publications

For a full list of publications see York research database

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Hafford-Letchfield, T., Toze, M. & Westwood, S. (2021) Unheard voices: A qualitative study of LGBT+ older people’s experiences during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Health and Social Care in the Community

Westwood, S., Hafford-Letchfield, T. and Toze, M. (2021 frth) Physical and mental well-being, risk and protective factors among older lesbians /gay women in the United Kingdom during the initial COVID-19 2020 lockdown.  Journal of Women and Aging.

Toze, M., Westwood, S., and Hafford-Letchfield, T. (2021 frth) Social support and unmet needs among older trans and gender non-conforming people during the COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ in the UK.  International Journal of Transgender Health.

Westwood, S. (2020) The myth of ‘older LGBT+’ people: Research shortcomings and policy/practice implications for health/care provision. Journal of Aging Studies, 55,

Westwood, S., Willis, P., Fish, J., Hafford-Letchfield, T., Semlyen, J., King, J., Beach, B., Almack, K., Kneale, D., Toze, M. and Becares, L. (2020) Older LGBT+ Health Inequalities: Setting a research agenda. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, doi: 10.1136/jech-2019-213068.

Monographs and edited collections

Westwood, S. (Ed) (2021) Death Rights: Regulating the endings of life. Abingdon: Routledge.

Westwood, S. (Ed) (2018). Ageing, Diversity and Equality: Social justice perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge. [Successfully nominated by Routledge for the Knowledge Unlatched Open Access scheme]

Westwood, S, and Price, E. (Eds) (2016) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* (LGBT*) Individuals Living with Dementia: Concepts, practice and rights. Abingdon: Routledge.

Westwood, S. (2016) Ageing, Gender and Sexuality: Equality in Later Life. Abingdon: Routledge. [Winner of the Socio Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Early Career Book Prize for 2017]

Book chapters

Westwood, S. (2021). Embodiment, choice and control at the beginning and ending of life: Paradoxes and contradictions. In S. Westwood (ed) Death Rights: Regulating the endings of life. Abingdon: Routledge.

Westwood, S. (2020). Older Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People: Socio- legal perspectives on healthcare inequalities in later life. In M.A. Jacob and A. Kirkland (Eds) Research Handbook for Socio-Legal Studies of Medicine and Health, part of Law and Society series directed by Austin Sarat (Amherst, US) and Rosemary Hunter (Queen Mary, London), London: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Bishop, J. A., & Westwood, S. (2018). Trans(gender)/gender-diverse ageing: Possibilities for reframing gendered ageing. In S. Westwood (ed) Ageing, Diversity and Equality: Social justice perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge.

Westwood, S. (2018). Which ageing ‘families’ count? Older lesbian, gay and bisexual family forms – relational legal in/exclusions in (older age) family law. In J. Herring and B. Clough, (Eds) Ageing, Gender and Family Law. Abingdon: Routledge.

Westwood, S. and Lowe, J. (2017). The hidden sexualities of older lesbians and bisexual women. In C. Barrett and M. Gott (Eds.). Addressing the Sexual Rights of Older People: Theory, Policy and Practice, pp 56-69Abingdon: Routledge.

Westwood, S. (2016) ‘Institutions, they’re very straight. My god I hope I don’t have to go into a care home’: Spatial inequalities anticipated by older lesbians and gay men. In: R. Harding R Fletcher and C Beasley (eds) ReValuing Care in Theory, Law & Policy: Cycles and Connections, pp 215-232. Abingdon: Routledge.

External activities


Sue has collaborated with a wide range of international and national external organisations, including, in the UK,

City of York CouncilYorkshire MESMACLGBT FoundationOpening Doors LondonSAND (Safe Ageing, No Discrimination), and Brighton and Hove Switchboard, and internationally, SAGE USAFenway Health, Boston and Rainbow Health Ontario.


Sue attends, chairs and convenes a range of academic and public events each year.

Her next forthcoming event, which she is convening and chairing on behalf of BSG Care Homes Research Special Interest Group, is: Equality and Diversity Issues in Care Homes Research, Tuesday 25 January 2022, 13:00 – 15:00 GMT.


Sue is

Other Activities

Sue is/has been an invited book reviewer for Routledge and Policy Press and the following peer-reviewed academic journals:

Ageing and Society; American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementia; Canadian Journal for Law and Society; Clinical Gerontologist; Culture, Health and Sexuality; Health Promotion Journal of Australia; Housing Studies; International Journal of Law and Psychiatry; Journal of Academic Development and Education (JADE ); Journal of Human Rights Practice; NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research); Psychology and Sexuality; Psychology of Sexualities Review; Research on Ageing; Social Epidemiology; Social Science and Medicine; Social Theory and Health; The British Journal of Sociology; The Journal of Medical Ethics; The Journal of Nursing Ethics; The Sociological Review.



I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

I have taught/am teaching on the following modules:

  • LLB Introduction to Law and Society (Year 1)
  • LLB Legal Concepts (Year 1)
  • LLB Foundations in Law (Obligations) (Years 1 and 2)
  • LLB Dissertation (Year 3)

I have designed, and am Module Leader for, the third-year LLB module, Law, Gender and Sexuality (LAW00064H), which is studied by both Law and Social Policy undergraduates. I have a new Module, Law and Emotion, under development.


I am Module Leader for the postgraduate law optional module, Law, Gender and Sexuality (LAW00072M) 

PhD Dissertations

I welcome inquiries from students interested in completing PhDs in my research areas.

Contact details

Dr Sue Westwood
York Law School

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5874