This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Friday 16 February 2024, 11am to 12.15pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Audience: Open to alumni, staff, students, the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

LGBT History Month Event

A panel discussion featuring Prof Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Prof Ben Thomas, Dr Jolie Keemink & Dr Dharman Jeyasingham. The panel will be chaired by Liz Wands-Murray, a University of York researcher who has recently completed her PhD looking at the inclusivity of community social care for older LGBTQ+ adults.

The current generation of older LGBTQ+ people have faced a lifetime of discrimination, fighting for equal rights and living through historic and ongoing inequalities and criminalisation of sexual identity in their younger lives.

As the community ages, needing support becomes more of an issue, particularly when considering the higher likelihood of living alone, having less social capital and enduring the cumulative effects of lifelong discrimination.

Supporting older LGBTQ+ people in inclusive ways is extremely important and can often be challenging for providers of support to deliver within a framework of often under-funded, under-staffed social care provision.

As part of 2024 LGBT+ History Month, where the focus is on medicine, healthcare and support, members of the panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities for delivering person-centred support to this population, the ways in which support can be made more inclusive and some of the ways in which research is helping to build a better picture of the experiences of older LGBTQ+ people in the UK.

Panel members are all active researchers in the area, with a wealth of knowledge, experiences and publications on this and related topics around LGBTQ+ communities. There will be an opportunity to pose questions to the panel, which will follow on from a panel discussion to explore some of the key topics around supporting LGBTQ+ people in ways which recognise cultural humility and inclusive social care practice. 

Image credit - Johnell-Pannell, unsplash

If you would like to submit questions for our panelists before the event you can do so by emailing

About the speakers

Professor Trish Hafford-Letchfield (she/her) is a qualified nurse and social worker with 18 years practice experience in social work, the latter 10 of which were managing statutory social work services for adults, in England. Her research interests lie in the experiences of ageing in marginalised communities and most of her research is applied and co-produced with people with lived experience. Prior to joining Strathclyde, she was Professor of Social Care at Middlesex University, London where she worked for 11 years.

Her doctorate studies were in educational gerontology exploring the role of lifelong learning in care services. She has a strong interest in the rights of LGBTQ+ communities and is a founder member of the international LGBTQI social work network. Trish has over 130 publications including 19 key books covering a range of topics on leadership, management, organisational development, feminism, sexual and gender identities, values and ethics, gerontology, social work supervision. She has also published widely in other areas such as the use of the arts in professional education, parenting, ageing and disability. 

She is involved in funded research and knowledge exchange by NIHR SSCR; DHSC England; British Academy; IASSW; Comic Relief; EU Cost Action; EU Erasmus Plus, Chief Scientist Office NHS Scotland, Skills for Care and UNITE.

Professor Ben Thomas (he/him) is a Professor of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at London South Bank University, where he is the co-lead for the NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Postdoctoral Bridging Scheme.

He works as the Research and Policy coordinator for the charity, Opening Doors, UK which provides support and services for older LGBTQ+ as well as the 'Pride in Care' quality standard which includes specialist training for statutory and voluntary organisations, such as care homes, housing associations and hospitals.

Ben is a member of the RCN Mental Health Forum. He recently chaired the expert advisory group for the development of the professional nurse advocate standards for education and training programmes and modules.

Ben’s research interests include addressing health inequalities and improving the mental health of minority and disadvantaged groups. He is co-investigator for an ESRC funded project examining the intersectional perspectives for community inclusion of older marginalised people with learning disabilities and ageing LGBTQ+ people.

Ben has worked in a variety of different settings in the UK and Australia, including NHS England as the advisor for patient safety and mental health and at DHSC England as professional advisor for mental health and learning disabilities nursing and dementia care, as well as serving on ministerial advisory panels and reviews representing mental health nursing in the UK and internationally, including Malaysia, South Korea, China, Canada, Australia, and Qatar.

Dr Jolie Keemink (she/her) is a Research Fellow working at the Centre for Health Services Studies at The University of Kent. 

She is a developmental psychologist (PhD) by background and has extensive experience conducting research with marginalised groups. Her main research interest is inclusive practice within social care, in relation to a range of protected characteristics including sexuality, gender identity, disability, age, and ethnicity.

Jolie currently leads on the CIRCLE project (Creating Inclusive Residential Care for LGBTQ+ Elders), in which she examines how residential care providers can be supported to improve their LGBTQ+ inclusive care provision. As part of this project, she is co-producing a resource for care homes to support LGBTQ+ practice. 

In another project Jolie led on, she investigated how care commissioners

can promote LGBTQ+ inclusive practice in care for older people. She has also worked on the LYPSA project (University of Birmingham), testing an e-learning training module on LGBTQ+ care issues for social workers. Other research projects include building research capacity in social care.

Jolie is also a Co-chair of the Staff Disability Network at The University of Kent.

Dr Dharman Jeyasingham (he/him) is a lecturer in social work at the University of Manchester and has worked in social work education and research for 20 years.  

His research and teaching relate to race, sexuality, power and inequalities in social work and social care, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people's experiences of using social care services, and the impacts of digital technology on social workers' communication and relationships.