Challenging dominant representations of LGBTIQ Roma in public spaces through queer research-informed interventions

Project Details


Information about the experiences of Roma of minority sexual and gender identities, who identify as lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer (hereinafter LGBTIQ) and the multiple challenges they face is scarce. This postdoctoral research aims to address this gap in knowledge through utilising the candidate’s PhD close-up research on their experiences and the proposed top-up research interrogating visual self-representations of LGBTIQ Roma. It will also aim to show what including LGBTIQ Roma’s rich, intersectional experiences and self-representations can achieve in terms of challenging common damaging stereotypes about Roma (e.g. ‘Romani tradition’, gender, binary ‘norms’, agency). The research will include the following objectives:

•Objective 1. To make an academic and theoretical contribution to ways Romani minorities are approached in research through a critical (queer-informed) understanding of ‘ethnicity’: In Romani Studies, essentialising views of Romani ethnicity have dominated, resulting in there being very few critical approaches to ethnic/racial, sexual/gender and other identities and identifications. This top-up research will contribute to rethinking ways in which Romani ethnic identities and identifications are understood; to considering wider implications of the experiences of LGBTIQ Roma for other minority groups; and to espousing queer theoretical concepts and critical views on ethnicity/race, sexual/gender that disrupt the long-established essentialist epistemologies by problematizing and challenging the binary ways in which minorities are often seen by majority societies. The research has potential in terms of contributing to the challenges posed by ‘queer of colour’ critique to queer theorising in terms of excluding non-white, trans and intersex voices.

•Objective 2. To address an empirical gap in knowledge related to the experiences of LGBTIQ Roma: The candidate’s PhD was the first robust, in-depth research study to address this massive gap. Through the top-up research, this postdoc project will contribute to filling this empirical gap even further, enhancing our understanding of the experiences of LGBTIQ Roma through their visual self-representations.

•Objective 3 To maximise impact through research-informed interventions: This postdoc research will make a practical contribution by building on the candidate’s past experience of creating impact in and by means of research vis-à-vis activism; enabling existing Romani/Traveller/Gypsy, LGBTIQ and youth NGOs and academics to raise their awareness of the specific barriers and challenges LGBTIQ Roma face in terms of multiple/intersectional discrimination, including homo/lesbo/transphobia and Antigypsyism, and encouraging these stakeholders to include LGBTIQ Roma in their remit by providing them with a set of images and narratives portraying how LGBTIQ Roma want to be shown.
Acknowledging the underlying asymmetrical power relations in society, the postdoc research project will use visual methods, including photo elicitation (Harper 2002, Rose 2016) as a means to engage with marginalised communities such as LGBTIQ (Jenzen 2017) and to put more of the power into the hands of the researched’ (Tremlett 2017, 7 referring to Clark-Ibáñez 2007, 1513; Harper 2012, 155-157) and methodologies related to knowledge co-production and ‘visualising the everyday’, including through ‘viewing photography as an anti-essentialist opportunity to “counter fixed and stereotypical views” of Roma’ (Tremlett 2017, 5). In its aim to articulate knowledge production and transformative action, Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a useful and valuable methodological approach for working with groups and communities described as marginalized or oppressed (Johnson and Guzman 2012), including LGBTIQ Roma.

Layperson's description

At a time of the rise of extremist ideologies and movements across Europe, there is a need for a critical exploration of self-representation and belonging that transcends the conventional majority/minority binaries.

Key findings

The visual self-representations created by lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ, thereafter queer) Romani visual activists and artists, and some of the processes used in the course of a transdisciplinary, collaborative research project. Undertaken in 2019, its aim was to investigate, through queer intersectional research-informed interventions, the potential of this semiotic material – photographic renditions of the lived experiences of queer Roma – to challenge dominant stereotypical misrepresentations and an overall lack of visibility of queer Roma. Another goal was to further enhance the impact and accessibility of the knowledge co-produced with and by the queer Romani visual activists and artists by giving a visual form to their lived experiences of antigypsyism intersecting with homophobia, transphobia, sexism and other forms of oppression. This approach to co-producing knowledge enabled the queer Romani visual activists and artists not only to exercise control over the process of creating the visual self-representations, but also to spell out, in a visual form, the terms in which queer Roma wish to be represented. (findings written up in Fremlova, L. (2022). Challenging Misrepresentations of Roma Through Queer Romani Visual Self-Representations, Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, 7(2), 16. )
Effective start/end date23/01/1922/01/20


  • Economic and Social Research Council, UK: £77,630.00

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


  • Roma
  • Gypsy
  • Traveller
  • Representations
  • Visuality
  • Visual representations
  • Racism
  • Anti-racism
  • Anti-homophobia
  • Self-representations
  • Social justice
  • inequality
  • Queer identities