The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical reflection on the profound changes regarding sexual minority rights in Britain and Ireland. It seeks to illustrate how recent legislative changes can impact the working lives of gay employees living and working in nonmetropolitan locales. The paper also aims to assess the role of LGBTQI movements, groups and networks, in facilitating voice and visibility, and advancing equality.
Secondary Research was undertaken to assist in contextualising the empirical findings, within a literature review. The paper presents findings derived from a qualitative study, involving in-depth interviews with forty-four gay men in Britain and Ireland.
LGBTQI movements and groups have played a crucial role in facilitating voice, and visibility for LGBTQI people in both Britain and Ireland. These movements have themselves, undergone change, moving from liberationist-queer-radical approaches to normalising-sexual citizenship-radical approaches. Significant legislative advances have taken place in the 2000s, and these have had a positive impact on gay workers. However, there is a continuing need for organisations to respond in ever more strategic, effective and inclusive ways, if the promise of sexual citizenship is to be realised by gay people in the workplace. Local, self-organised LGBT groups can play an important role in building sexual citizenship in nonmetropolitan locales.
Originality and value:
This paper’s value and contribution lies in its application of theoretical principles and models, most notably models of sexual citizenship (Weeks, 1998, 2000, 2016; Richardson, 2004, 2017; Plummer, 2003), in a specific historical, geographical and spatial context. The paper offers an insight into the lives of gay men who reside and work in nonmetropolitan locales; and highlights the emergence of subtle forms of gay resistance and radicalism, through self-organised groups.