Introducing the LGBTQ+ Travel Tool – An Interactive Policy Development Tool

Primary Investigator Dr Frances Hamilton (Associate Professor, School of Law) and Research Assistant Tahlia-Rose Virdee (Postgraduate Researcher, School of Law) are proud to introduce the LGBTQ+ Travel tool. This interactive tool has been designed to assist both Higher Education Institutions and businesses in the development of policies and processes which are mindful of the concerns and experiences of LGBTQ+ colleagues (both students and staff), who are considering travelling internationally for the purposes of work or education.

As an ally and advocate of LGBTQ+ communities, Dr Frances Hamilton has been conducting a number of research projects recently, concerning the manner in which Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England and Wales reconcile their responsibilities of protecting their LGBTQ+ staff and students when implementing globalisation initiatives. Together with co-author Dr Cameron Giles (London South Bank University), Frances published a research output detailing their findings from Freedom of Information requests sent to all UK Higher Education Institutions, Nationwide. These findings detailed that advice given to LGBTQ+ staff and students considering international travel for the purposes of work or education is lacking, and often does not consider the specific concerns and experiences of LGBTQ+ persons (See Frances Hamilton and Cameron Giles, ‘International Academic Mobility, Agency and LGBTQ+ Rights: A Review of Policy Responses to Internationally Mobile LGBTQ+ staff / students at UK HE Institutions with Recommendations for a Global Audience’ Policy Reviews in Higher Education (2021) 1 -22. DOI: 10.1080/23322969.2021.1969990).

This research was furthered by a project conducted by Dr Frances Hamilton and Postgraduate Research Assistant, Tahlia-Rose Virdee, concluding in March 2022. This second phase project explored the lived-experiences of fifteen LGBTQ+ academics at UK HEIs, and was concerned with interviewee observations and conceptions of institutional globalisation initiatives and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ stakeholder concerns and experiences in policies and processes regarding international travel. The cumulative findings of these research projects highlight that there is a distinct lack of effective policy which includes consideration of specified LGBTQ+ risks, dangers and concerns. These circumstances have been exacerbated by several factors, including: LGBTQ+ stakeholders not being consulted or having their concerns dismissed in the process of institutional policy formation, a lack of or poorly informed policy to safeguard against specific risks to LGBTQ+ persons, and the use of objective risk assessments which do not produce thorough and well-considered plans of action for LGBTQ+ international travellers.

Said distinct oversight on policy considerations can cause barriers to access for LGBTQ+ staff and students considering international travel for work or education purposes, including concerns on how to stay safe and avoid discrimination, violence and even prosecution in jurisdictions that are legally culturally, and socially hostile towards LGBTQ+ individuals, and a lack of redress for discrimination faced in receiving international jurisdictions upon their return home. These omissions of specific LGBTQ+ experiences are particularly concerning when considering the disparities in the treatment of LGBTQ+ persons on a global scale, where presently over 70 countries worldwide retain criminal sanctions for consensual same-sex sexual activity between men, over 40 countries criminalise sexual activity between women, and many other jurisdictions discriminate on various grounds against LGBTQ+ persons (Human Dignity Trust, 2019).

Operationalising these findings and using Research England’s Rapid Response Policy Engagement Fund, Dr Frances Hamilton had proposed to produce an electronic toolkit to assist HEIs, and public and private sector companies to pursue their duty to safeguard their LGBTQ+ stakeholders and commit to their globalisation initiatives, simultaneously. The development of the LGBTQ+ International Travel Tool was completed by July 2023, in accordance with the parameters of the funding. The key deliverable, the interactive tool and its host website, can be viewed here: LGBTQ+ International Travel Tool (

This interactive and freely accessible toolkit guides both LGBTQ+ persons who may have concerns about travelling abroad, and their employers or organisations who owe duty of care to potential travellers to minimise risks to their safety and wellbeing. Upon completion of the tool, users are provided with personalised feedback and suggestions (dependent on their input into the tool) to consider when developing international travel polices for stakeholders with protected characteristics, with a particular focus on the safeguarding of LGBTQ+ persons.

It is hoped that the data entered into the interactive LGBTQ+ Travel Tool will provide further clarity on the polices and processed in place at HEIs and within businesses to safeguard LGBTQ+ persons, whilst providing these organisations with suggestions on how to improve these measures and protect the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ persons travelling internationally for the purposes of work or education.

Dr Frances Hamilton has also developed a policy brief with recommendations for LGBTQ+ stakeholder safeguarding, which she is sharing with potential policy decision makers in a bid to ensure that there will be standards implemented for LGBTQ+ persons travelling internationally, with clear and concise duties to LGBTQ+ persons for their employers and education providers to follow.

Contact details

If you have any questions, queries or suggestions, please direct all correspondence to Dr Frances Hamilton via email:

The logo for the LGBTQ+ International Travel for Work Policy Development Tool Website. The logo is the rainbow flag in a square shape with rounded edges. On the flag is a white circle in the centre and within the circle is an icon of a black aeroplane.

Black History Month 2023: Saluting our Sisters through Celebrating and Remembering

Black History Month is officially underway and this year the national theme is ‘Saluting our Sisters’ to pay homage to black women who have had their contributions ignored or voices silenced. You can read more about the theme this year on the Black History Month website.

A banner for Black History Month with the University of Reading logo on the left and the words Black History Month: More than just a month' on the right


The Black History Month flagship event flyer. The content is described within the text copy.

The University of Reading is hosting a number of events this year to honour Black History Month. The flagship event will be on the 19th October, In Conversation with Dr Deborah Husbands. Dr Husbands will be joining us from the University of Westminster to share her expert insights and lived experiences, the impact of the BME Network she founded and its impacts on colleagues, as well as covering PhD research and the focus on BME students and their sense of belonging. This event is open to all – public, staff, and students.





Black History Month is more than just a month. The stories, experiences, and achievements of Black women are numerous and long in their history and the resonances of the impact are felt today. I hope to introduce some of them to you.

Sister Olive

Olive Morris passed away at the age of just 27, but during her short life, she campaigned for the rights of Black people across England in Manchester and South London.

Olive was a founding member of groups like the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD) and the Brixton Black Women’s Group and is known as an important civil rights figure.

We remember her.


The Black History Month Saluting Our Sisters event flyer. The content is described within the text copy.

Another event we are excited to deliver is our Saluting our Sisters event. This is a collaborative event between Women@Reading and the B.A.M.E. and Allies Network. In order to honour the National Black History Month theme this year, we are learning from the experiences and celebrating the accomplishments of our Black female community members here at Reading. This event takes place on the 26th October and is open to all. We hope to see you there.



Sister Phillis

Take the story of Phillis Wheatley, a young girl born in West Africa in 1753. She was sold into slavery to work for a family called the Wheatleys and was put onto a ship – the Phillis – that she was named after.

Her name was erased, but still she used words to give shape to her power. She was taught to read and write and, by the age of 14, she wrote her first poem.

At 21, she published her first book which made her the first African-American poet to be published, with her first volume of poetry in 1773.

We remember her.


The Black History Month Black Arts Showcase event flyer. The content is described within the text copy.Artistry, in a variety of forms – music, art, poetry – is abundant and permeates Black cultures. We want to be able to showcase this talent. As part of Black History Month, the Reading Students’ Union will be hosting a Black Arts Showcase. This Showcase will host artistic works from our Black students and local community members in Reading. This event will take place on the 19th October at 16:00 – 23:00 in the 3Sixty room in the Reading Students’ Union building. Email Gabe James,, or Kayleigh Fryer,, for more information. The event is open to all – public, staff, and students.


If you are a staff member or a student and want more music in your life this BHM, you can also join the Limpopo Groove Drumming Workshop taking place on the 10th October from 12:00 – 13:00 in the SU. Spaces are limited so make sure to contact first! You can also join us for many different screenings on at the Reading Biscuit Factory.


We wish you a fantastic Black History Month, where we remember our history, we acknowledge it, and celebrate the successes of Black women across the world.

As ever, best and be well,

— Your Diversity and Inclusion Advisor.