The Invisibility of Sexual and Gender Diversity in ACT Schools

Presentation Type: Panel
Conference Stream: Intersections
Presenter: Riddhi Blackley, Erin Smith
Presentation Title: The Invisibility of Sexual and Gender Diversity in ACT Schools
Room: Swan
Program schedule: Saturday 15 August 2015 at 10:00
Duration: 20 mins

Summary

In 2014 SHFPACT embarked on a research project to evaluate the impact of their educational puberty sessions on the Canberra Grammar School Community. In addition to highlighting the efficacy of their puberty program, the research provided insight into areas where action and information are sorely lacking in health education. One particular area is sexual and gender diversity.

This presentation takes findings from the student surveys and focus groups to show the current state of invisibility of sexual and gender diversity within sexuality and relationships education in many ACT schools. While increasing numbers of young people are identifying as same-sex attracted and/or gender diverse, it’s clear that health curriculums are failing to keep up.
Same sex attracted and gender diverse young people face an increased risk of STI’s and sexual violence. It is widely accepted that sexuality and relationship education acts as a protective factor against these risks. Yet the vast majority of same sex attracted and gender diverse young people find such education mostly irrelevant. In the main, conservative messages about heterosexual sex exclude same sex attracted and gender diverse young people and promote a feeling of ‘otherness’.

This presentation will be of particular interest to teachers, school counsellors and other educational faculty members. We will explore ways to increase students’ exposure to positive conceptions of sexual and gender diversity and introduce the Safe Schools Coalition ACT, a program that works to create safer educational environments for same sex attracted and gender diverse families, teachers and students.

Presentation slides (PDF)