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Identity Management on Social Media by LGBTQ Migrants


This project investigates the transformations of identity in digital media landscape of the early XXI century from the perspective of LGBTQ migrants.


Digital media create new opportunities and pose new challenges for the ways people think about themselves as well as manage the expressions of their identities. In this research project, I aim to enrich our knowledge about the transformations of identity in digital media landscape of the early XXI century by investigating those transformations from the perspective of migrant LGBTQs, that is, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Focusing particularly on Polish post-accession migrants to the UK, I examine what LGBTQ migrants and their social media uses can teach us about the relationship between digital media and identity, as well as what opportunities and difficulties social media create to a group that faces different challenges of exclusion and discrimination.

Featured image by Oliver Dumoulin on Unsplash


This project asks the following questions:

  • What role do social media play for LGBTQ migrants in experiencing, exploring and expressing identities?
  • How do LGBTQ migrants manage their digital self-presentations for diverse national and transnational audiences on different social media platforms?
  • What is the role of Brexit and personal migration stories in how LGBTQ migrants use social media to create a sense of belonging?

To answer those questions, I am working with a diverse group of Polish LGBTQs who moved to the UK after 2004, when Poland joined the European Union. This project combines quantitative and qualitative methods, including an online survey with 767 respondents and in-depth interviews with 30 participants of different gender and sexual identifications as well as of different age, class and place of residence. Part of the project is also to bring the voices of LGBTQ migrants to the public during such events as Polaktastic evenings of queer migrant performance art and the Body Control event at the Migration Matters Festival in Sheffield.


Project team

Dr Lukasz Szulc, Principal Investigator


Lukasz Szulc is a Lecturer in Digital Media and Society in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield and a recipient of the EU’s Marie Curie Individual Fellowship in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His interests include cultural and critical studies of media and identity at the intersections of gender, sexuality and transnationalism. Lukasz is co-chairing LGBTQ Studies Interest Group in International Communication Association. He has recently authored the book Transnational Homosexuals in Communist Poland: Cross-Border Flows in Gay and Lesbian Magazines (2018, Palgrave) and co-edited the collection LGBTQs, Media and Culture in Europe’ (2017, Routledge). He tweets from @LukaszSzulc.

Professor Myria Georgiou, Supervisor

Myria Georgiou

Myria Georgiou is a Professor of Media and Communications in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. She holds a PhD in Sociology from LSE, an MSc in Journalism from Boston University and a BA in Sociology from Panteion University, Athens. Her research focuses on media and the city; urban technologies and politics of connection; and the ways in which migration and diaspora are politically, culturally and morally constituted in the context of mediation. For more than 20 years she has been conducting and leading cross-national and transurban research across Europe and between British and American cities. She has also worked as a journalist for BBC World Service, Greek press, and the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.



Szulc, L. (2018). Profiles, Identities, Data: Making Abundant and Anchored Selves in a Platform Society. Communication Theory, 1-20.

Szulc, L. (in press). Queer Migrants and Digital Culture. In K. Smets, K. Leurs, M. Georgiou, S. Witteborn, & R. Gajjala (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Media and Migration. SAGE.

Szulc, L. (in press). Queer Globalization and the Media. In K. Ross, I. Bachmann, V. Cardo, S. Moorti, & M. Scarcelli (Eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication. Wiley Blackwell.

Szulc, L. (2019). Our Profile(d) Selves: How social media platforms use data to tell us who we should be. LSE Impact Blog.

Szulc, L. (2017). The Intimate (Self-)Regulation of Big Tech. LSE Media Policy Project Blog.



This project is funded by the European Union’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, grant number: 699745—FACELOOK—MSCA-IF-EF-ST.