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Education for Diversity in a Multisexual Society: negotiating the contradictions of contemporary discourse

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In spite of recent significant changes to the National Curriculum in England and Wales, including the introduction of personal, social and health education and citizenship, the subjects of sexuality and sexual identity remain virtually untouched in English primary and secondary schools. While diversity of sexual orientation is acknowledged in new government guidance on sex and relationship education, it receives no explicit recognition elsewhere in the curriculum. In this article, the author examines the current social, political and legal context within which this curriculum is situated, and its often contradictory intersections with popular culture. Drawing on current research into sexuality, gender construction and heteronormative forces in education, the author outlines a complex and contradictory network of forces which simultaneously exploit and undermine non-heterosexual lifestyles and relationships, and examines the way in which these discourses permeate both the school and wider society. The author considers ways in which these intersections and contradictions might be used as a means of challenging compulsory heterosexuality within and beyond the school.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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