Sue Westwood



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


I am a feminist socio-legal scholar and a critical gerontologist, interested in how age(ing), gender and sexuality intersect and interact with law. I have taught undergraduate and postgraduate law at: Keele Law School; Coventry Law School; the Open University; and the Southwest University of Political Science & Law (SWUPL), Chongqing, China. I have been a visiting scholar at Beasley School of Law, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA and at Emory Law School, Emory University, Atlanta, USA. I have previously been a research fellow at the University of Leeds, University of Oxford, University of Southampton and University of Surrey.

My monograph, Ageing, Gender and Sexuality: Equality in Later Life (2016, Routledge) won the Socio Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Early Career Book Prize for 2017.

I am academic lead for York Law School's student law journal, York Law Review.



I am a member of York Law School's Health and Well-being research cluster. My PhD thesis explored, from a feminist social justice perspective, how ageing, gender and sexuality intersect to influence (in)equality in later life within UK regulatory contexts.


Current funded research projects

Older LGBT people: health and healthcare inequalities in the UK

I am Principal Investigator (PI) on a University of York pump-priming funded project the aim of which is to develop a large-scale research grant application which will be submitted to Wellcome. The project will explore older LGBT people’s health and care inequalities in relation to health/care rights, human rights and the Equality Act 2010. This project is in collaboration with Prof Yvonne Birks (Social Policy Research Unit, University of York), Prof Julie Fish (De Montfort University), Dr Paul Willis (University of Bristol). Additional project partners on the application under development are from: the University of Surrey; the University of Sussex; the University of Hertfordshire; the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; the University of Lincoln; and the International Longevity Centre, UK.

Research projects under development

Older people’s human rights in closed care contexts (OPHRICC)

I am PI on a research grant application currently under development in collaboration with Prof Caroline Hunter (York Law School), Prof Yvonne Birks (Social Policy Research Unit, University of York), Prof Paul Gready (Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York) and Dr Jed Meers (York Law School).

Intersection of religious freedoms, gender diversity and/or sexuality rights in long-term older age care provision in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia (IREGS)

I am PI on an ESRC research grant application currently under development in collaboration with Prof Nancy Knauer (Beasley Law School, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA), Prof Mark Hughes (Southern Cross University, Queensland, Australia) and Dr Alisa Grigorovich (University of Toronto, Canada).

Using the arts to understand elder abuse in UK regulatory contexts

I am PI on an AHRC research grant application currently under development in collaboration with Prof Catherine Donovan (University Durham). The project will use the arts to explore how older LGBT people understand abuse in later life, identify risk and protective factors, and explore barriers and facilitators to help-seeking, within regulatory contexts.

‘Death Rights’

I am currently editing a volume entitled Death Rights: Regulating the ending of life. With contributions from leading academics, the book critically interrogates the UK’s current prohibitions on assisted dying and euthanasia.


I am happy to consider supervision of PhD dissertations in the following areas in relation to:

  • Law, gender and sexuality;
  • Ageing, gender and sexuality in regulatory contexts
  • Ageing, health and wellbeing in regulatory contexts


Selected publications

Please see a full list of my publications, other outputs and activities in the York research database


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

Book Chapters:

  • Westwood, S. (2018). 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 on Law, Medicine and Society, part of Law and Society series directed by Austin Sarat (Amherst, US) and Rosemary Hunter (Queen Mary, London), London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • 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 56-69. Abingdon: 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.
  • Westwood, S. (2016) Ageing Sexualities in UK Regulatory Contexts. In E. Peel and R. Harding (Eds) Ageing and Sexualities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, pp. 33-52. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Peer-reviewed journal articles:

  • Westwood, S. (2017) Older Lesbians, Gay Men and the ‘Right to Die’ debate - ‘I always keep a lethal dose of something, because I don’t want to become an elderly isolated person’. Social and Legal Studies, 26(5), 606-628
  • Westwood, S. (2017). Religion, sexuality, and (in) equality in the lives of older lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in the United Kingdom. Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging, 29(1), 47-69.
  • Westwood, S. (2017) Gender and Older LGBT* Housing Discourse: The marginalised voices of older lesbians, gay and bisexual women. Housing, Care and Support, 20(3), 100-109. 
  • Westwood, S. (2016). LGBT* ageing in the UK: spatial inequalities in older age housing/care provision. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 24(1), 63-76. 
  • Westwood, S. (2015) Constructing Kinship in Succession Law (England and Wales): An analysis of older lesbians’ and gay men’s Will-writing. Feminist Legal Studies. 23:181–197. 
  • Westwood, S. (2015) ‘We See it as Being Heterosexualised, Being Put into a Care Home’: Gender, sexuality and housing/care preferences among older LGB individuals in the UK. Health and Social Care in the Community, 24(6), e155-e163.

Education-related scholarship:

  • Westwood, S. (2018) Education students’ experiences of transition to Higher Education. London: Middlesex University
  • Westwood, S. (2018) Innovative approaches to CPD in nursing, public and other sectors. London: Middlesex University
  • Westwood, S. (2016) Gender Equality Policy Initiatives in Higher Education. Oxford: Department for Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford.

External activities


  • Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association

  • Member of the Law and Society Association

  • Member of the British Society of Gerontology

Other Activities

  • Submitted written evidence on older LGBT Health and Healthcare Inequalities to the Women & Equalities Committee inquiry into Health and social care and LGBT communities

  • Reviewer for: NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research; BPS Psychology of Sexualities Review; Ageing and Society; British Journal of Sociology; Journal of Nursing Ethics;  Social Theory and Health; Journal of Academic Development and Education (JADE); and Hart Publishing.

  • Reviewed factsheet on LGBT people and dementia for Alzheimer’s Society (2017).

  • Provided Stonewall Housing with legal position briefing paper relating to specialist older LGBT housing and the Equality Act 2010 (2017).

  • Associate Lecturer in Law (p/t) with the Open University.



I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and currently teach on the following courses:

  • UG Dissertation
  • UG Introduction to Law and Society
  • UG Private Law and Judicial Process
  • UG Year 1 Foundations in Law
  • UG Year 2 Foundations in Law

Contact details

Dr Sue Westwood
York Law School

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5874