(Trans)gender diversity, cisnormativity and New Zealand education cultures: A dialogue

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... Cisnormativity still permeates educational institutions. Therefore, visibility does not equal safety (Burford, MacDonald, Orchard, & Wills, 2015). Visibility is not inherently good and those wishing to remain invisible have as much right to do so as those wishing to be seen. ...
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Young people are among the most affected and vulnerable groups in the HIV epidemic. Targeting young people in prevention strategies requires inclusive and participatory approaches. This paper discusses a film production project that involved youths in a remote rural community in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. It explores some of the processes and impacts of integrating a visual methods community action project in a local community context while targeting young people in an effort to engage them in a reflective dialogue on HIV and AIDS
This article presents findings from a mixed-method, utilisation-focused evaluation of an education workshop on diverse sexuality and gender (DSG) inclusivity offered at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand. Workshop completion enables participants to make a public commitment to DSG inclusivity by joining Unitec’s ALLY Network. A questionnaire was designed to ascertain whether workshop participation achieves the following outcomes: increased awareness of systemic discrimination and greater confidence to act in ways that promote DSG inclusion. The study also draws on findings from semi-structured interviews with current ALLY members. Data analysis included testing the statistical significance of differences between participants’ responses to pre-workshop questions and their responses to identical questions posed post-workshop (these questions were answered using Likert-type scales). Narrative data were analysed thematically. Findings indicate that the ALLY workshop is effective in achieving its goals. Emergent themes highlight areas of significant learning and growth for workshop participants as well as particularly valuable workshop practices and conditions. This study addresses a gap in the literature on evaluations of DSG diversity education and provides evidence supporting the continuation – and the informed, potential expansion – of a unique initiative within a New Zealand tertiary provider.
An important part of considering how sexuality and relationships education could explore contemporary issues in sexualities and relationships affecting young people in the classroom involves understanding why sexuality education sits so uncomfortably in schooling contexts, and the issues it inevitably raises (without getting stuck in them). After these have been explicated, the Introduction highlights several contemporary sexuality and relationship issues affecting young people; sex and gender politics in a neoliberal era of consumption and commodification, and attending to the complexities of young people’s engagement with them through digital technologies, and exploring the lived complexities of sexual and gender diversity in young people’s everyday lives. Next I explore how research that utilises contemporary theory to engage with young people’s lived experiences of sexualities and relationships can be helpful in informing approaches to teaching and learning about contemporary issues of sex and gender politics in the classroom. In the final section I introduce how each of the book chapters and the Afterword speak to the major theme of the book; how researchers and teachers working together can create an awareness of the implications of theories underlying practices in the sexuality education classroom, and experiment with using current sociological and philosophical theories to explore contemporary issues in sexualities and relationships affecting young people, through foregrounding students’ lived experiences.
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