Robert James Hellyer - PhD research

Coming out with it: the relationship between language and emerging identity in young LGBT+ people

A growing number of young people are aware of gender non-binary, transgender and queer experiences with great acceptance among many. This PhD research, funded by ESRC's LISS DTP and Queen Mary University of London, seeks to investigate how young people use language to navigate identity in queer spaces within schools.


The research project takes the form of a sociolinguistic ethnography and considers:

  • sound change across the lifespan, life events, and their link to gender, sexuality and affiliation with family, peers and place

  • the discursive navigation of young LGBTQ+ experiences

  • ethnographic insights into emerging spaces of contact


The project is currently in collaboration with state-funded secondary schools in London.

Want to hear more?

I'm happy to share some of my findings or be invited to talk about the project.

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