Australian sex education isn’t diverse enough. Here’s why we should follow England’s lead.

The Conversation, 7 August 2018

By David Rhodes, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Edith Cowan University

How children are taught about sex, relationships and sexuality at school is shaping up to be a political hot potato in Australia (again).

It’s already been slated to be an issue in the Victorian state elections later this year. That’s just a short time from being on the agenda during the same-sex marriage debate.

Now a radical shift in how children in England are taught about sex, relationships and sexuality promises to be the biggest reform of its kind in nearly 20 years. Here’s what Australia can learn from the new English system.

 

‘I Just Want to Be Myself’: How We Can Challenge Homophobia, Transphobia, and Racism in Australian Schools

Drawing on the experiences of Safe Schools Coalition in Australia since 2010, this article focuses on the potential for successfully challenging homophobia, transphobia, and racism in schools.

The discussion challenges assumptions about the incompatibility of cultural difference with gender or sexual diversity, in particular the perceived irreconcilability of Islamic faith or culture with same-sex attraction. Comparing research on the health impact of homophobia and transphobia on students with the impact of racism provides the basis for a discussion of the benefits of challenging all forms of prejudice-based abuse and discrimination.

While there are some key differences, the methods and strategies used in schools to value and support cultural diversity can also be applied in schools to support gender and sexual diversity. Lessons from the practice experiences of Safe Schools Coalition suggest that all forms of diversity can and do positively interact to create more inclusive educational environments.

 

State Government to fully fund Safe Schools anti bullying initiative

Hon Susan Close MP, Minister for Education and Child Development, Government of South Australia. Press release published: Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A new Safe Schools anti-bullying initiative will be made available from July to assist public secondary schools in tackling the unacceptably high rates of bullying and suicide among LGBTI students.

The refreshed initiative will be delivered by SHine SA and replaces the Federal Government program which expires at the end of June.

The reality of Safe Schools

The Guardian, Wednesday 14 December 2016

The speed with which modern societies are adapting to the upending of conventional ideas about gender and sexual identity “may be the most important cultural metamorphosis of our time”, wrote Jenna Wortham in the New York Times Magazine a few months ago.

Heteronormativity, cisgender, gender binary, queer theory and gender fluidity are now mainstream ideas, or at least mainstream enough to cause a sustained backlash.

Read more here 

 

Resources for primary schools with transgender students: latest research

 

Australia Association for Research in Education, July 2016

Schools constitute a key context in which children may disclose that they are trans or gender diverse. It is not uncommon for a primary school to be asked to sensitively support a trans or gender diverse child. This highlights the need for school communities to provide affirming and informed responses.

While there are few resources accessible to this age group exploring what it means to be trans or gender diverse, there are a growing number of picture books featuring trans and gender diverse characters.

Read more here 

 

We must celebrate gender and sexual diversity in our schools

The Conversation, February 16, 2016 10.14am AEDT

By Lucy Nicholas, Discipline coordinator and Lecturer in Sociology (gender and sexualities), Swinburne University of Technology

Moralising commentaries about the Safe Schools Coalition are dangerously out of touch with the science of sex, the social research about gender and the realities of the ways that young people already understand their own sexual and gender identities.

Read more here