Provincial views

December 11, 2008

Ian Rivers' claim that research into the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) sector is now "futile" and has been needlessly replicated in different parts of a devolved UK ("LGBT research is 'futile' (and short on L, B and T)", 4 December) may be so in Great Britain, but in Northern Ireland there is a significant lack of research into issues affecting the LGBT community.

The cultural differences and complexities informing, sustaining and condoning homophobia in Northern Ireland often remain overlooked in "UK-wide" studies. "Safe bet" research may have run its course in Great Britain, but here in Northern Ireland this type of investigation is a necessary starting point to expose why homophobic violence remains an "acceptable prejudice".

Rivers' suggestion of "little, well-designed studies" as a research programme for LGBT studies in Great Britain is to be welcomed, and such research should also be conducted in Northern Ireland. If there is a need for focused knowledge on bisexual and transgender issues generally in the UK, this can only be more of an issue in Northern Ireland where there remains a need for research on the G and the L.

Marian Duggan, Queen's University Belfast.

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