LGBT-Inclusive Education in Australia

Ten years ago, I was told that I couldn’t teach any books that contained gay characters. Our high school administration firmly believed that the community would object and that parents would demand the book be pulled from the shelves. Without explicitly saying so, they also believed that our students didn’t have a right to LGBT-inclusive education.

I would like to think that schools in America and Australia have made progress over the past decade. But as the National School Climate Survey from the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network shows, schools are often an unsafe place for young adults. Here in Australia, the new national curriculum could be a powerful force in promoting inclusive education practices, introducing new and compelling texts, and bringing social justice issues into classrooms.

Recently, my colleague Jackie Ullman and I wrote an article on the topic in The Conversation, entitled Australian Schools Must Promote LGBT-Inclusive Education. We draw on contemporary research to highlight both the need and the demand for inclusive education, and we share our concerns with the curriculum review process. We believe that schools can be powerful forces in driving social and cultural change, and we believe that schools need to be safe places for all of our students.

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