Law and Sexuality

A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests


The Blog

This blog is primarily written by Chris Ashford, Professor of Law and Society at Northumbria University Law School in the UK.  This blog seeks to explore law and sexuality in a broad socio-legal framework; providing a radical space for ideas and debates in contemporary law and sexuality studies.  The views on this blog are the authors own, and do not necessarily reflect those of an employer.

About Chris


Chris has published widely on the area of law and sexuality and legal education. A queer theorist; his research has focused upon challenging normative assumptions about sexuality, particularly in relation to public sex, barebacking, pornography, and relationship structures.  He has advised LGBT community and health groups, the NHS, Police and UK Parliament.   Pink News – the most read British gay news service – named Chris as 26th in the top 50 Twitter users who influenced LGBT lives the most in 2011.  His legal education research has explored and documented the rise of the apprenticeship route to qualification, and the impact upon Law Schools, whilst his pedagogic research has focused upon the use of technology and media.

During the passing of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013, the British Member of Parliament Sir Gerald Howarth identified Chris’ ideas (along with those of UK activist Peter Tatchell) as the basis for his remarks about an “aggressive homosexual community” (which spawned a series of satirical responses).  He went on to clarify that he should have branded Chris and Tatchell ‘militant homosexuals’.  Also in 2013, Chris was identified by US Conservative magazine LifeSite – along with the late Paula Ettelbruck, Prof. Nan Hunter, and Michelangelo Signorile – as a leading voice in the world LGBT movement.  Neither was meant as an accolade but Chris takes them as such.


Delivering a keynote at St Mary’s University, London in September 2014


External Roles & Activities

Chris is active in a number of national and international academic networks and has held a number of high-profile roles.  In 2018 he was appointed to the REF2021 Unit of Assessment Sub-Panel as an Assessor (from 2020).

He is currently a member the Association of Law Teachers Executive Committee and the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association (LAGLA) North East Advisory Board.  Chris is a former Chair of the Association of Law Teachers (ALT) (2015-2017), Secretary of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) (2013-2015), and a member of the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) Legal Education Sub-Committee.  Additionally, he previously organised the Gender, Sexuality and Law Stream at the Annual SLSA conference, significantly developing and growing the stream. Chris has also previously served as a member of the Legal Education Research Network (LERN) steering group, a member of the Academy of Social Sciences Open Access Working Group, and as the SLS’s Legal Education Convenor.


He was a member of the 2016-17 Bar Standards Board (BSB) Future Bar Training Task Completion Group on pathways to qualification, the 2015 BSB Academic Stage Working Group, and the 2014 QAA Law Benchmark Review panel.

He is Editor of The Law Teacher: The International Journal of Legal Education (published by Routledge), and is Consultant Editor of The International Journal of Gender, Sexuality and Law.   He has previously guest edited special issues of Sexualities, Liverpool Law Review, Web Journal of Current Legal Issues and Information & Communications Technology Law, and was one of the founding members of the Porn Studies Editorial Board (2014-2018).


Centre, speaking at the HIV/AIDS and the Politics of Queer History seminar, Newcastle University, April 2018.  Image: @b_mossNCL


Right, part of a panel on The Power of Direct Action an the Legacy of ACT UP, part of the Tyneside Cinema Frontline series at a screening of 120BPM, April 2018.  Image: @Andrew_Simpson_


Chris currently teaches Public Law and Gender, Sexuality and the Law (undergraduate) students, and supervises dissertations students at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

He currently supervises the following doctoral students:

(PhD) Cameron Giles, Evidencing Sexual Fraud via Mobile Dating Application Profiles in instances of HIV Status Disclosure and Non-Disclosure, 2017-present

(DLaw) Elisabeth Griffiths, Only Relatively Equal? Is there a hierarchy of protected characteristics emerging within the Equality Act 2010 and if so, how do employers perceive the different protected characteristics and are some more important than others when decisions are made about individual employees in the workplace?’, 2016-present

(PhD)  Giuseppe Zago: Experiences of Sexual Orientation(s) and Gender Identities in Prison: Queering the Law in England and Wales, and Italy, 2016-present

(PhD) Rosie Hodsdon: Investigating the impact of the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations (2014) and the Digital Economy Bill (2016-17) on the UK BDSM pornography industry, 2016-present.

(PhD) Alexander Maine: Same-Sex Marriage and the Homonormative Legal Identity: The emergence and effect of the Homonormative and Homoradical identities on LGBTQ legal narratives, 2015-present.

(PhD) Katharine Parker: Public Sex and Security: Perceptions of Safety held by Men using Public Sex Sites in Newcastle upon Tyne, 2014-present.



Chris with some of his past Northumbria LLM students

A passionate and innovative teacher, Chris was also one of the founding judges of the Routledge/ALT Teaching Law with Technology Prize.

He is always interested in hearing from potential doctoral students and is willing to supervise students in the areas of law & sexuality, queer theory, and legal education.  Please contact Chris directly at:

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