Welcome to the LIVES OF BRITISH LESBIANS OVER 60 research project

… otherwise known as Women Like That!

An exciting new research project about older lesbians, ‘The Lives of British Lesbians Over Sixty,’ based at the University of Sussex, is building the first-ever comprehensive picture of older lesbian life in the UK.

++ Update – November 2011 ++

The survey closed at the end of June 2011. Thanks to the hundreds of women who completed the questionnaire, agreed to be interviewed, or wrote their own life-stories and sent them in.

Jane Traies has spoken about her research at the universities of Sussex, Brighton and Warwick. She and Leela Bakshi gave a joint paper at the 18th Lesbian Lives Conference called ‘Come out, come out, wherever you are’ (click to download pdf).

Jane made a presentation about the project at L Fest, the lesbian weekend gathering in Shrewsbury, on Sunday 24 July 2011.

Some early results from the survey will appear in LGBT Lives: Ageing and the life course, edited by R. Ward, I. Rivers and M. Sutherland, to be published by Jessica Kingsley in 2012.

The survey

Hundreds of lesbian and bisexual women aged sixty or more took part in the survey, which has now closed. The questionnaire asked about their opinions and experiences. It was anonymous and confidential.

Making our voices heard

Although lesbians and gay men are now much more visible than they were twenty years ago – in public life, films and TV programmes – you could still be forgiven for thinking that older lesbians simply do not exist.

When did you last see an older lesbian character in a TV soap opera? Or represented anywhere in the media at all?

The researcher on this project, Jane Traies, is a sixty-five-year-old lesbian. Her previous research, at the University of Birmingham, was an investigation into why older lesbians are culturally invisible. You can read the whole dissertation here.

Jane is now a doctoral student at the University of Sussex, working under the supervision of Professor Sally Munt. This new piece of research aims to challenge the social attitudes which have made a ‘hidden community’ invisible, and to make their voices heard.