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1,, Australia Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society Homophobic bullying: Problems, policies, strategies Tiffany Jones Supervisors: Lynne Hillier, Anne Mitchell

2 Introduction/ Background 10% secondary students gay or lesbian, over 1/3rd had same-sex sexual experiences (Sears, 2005, p. xx). 1.7% students “born intersex” (Carroll, 2005b, p. 441). A growing number “transgender”, “queer” (Carroll, 2005a; Rasmussen, 2006).Sears, 2005, p. xxCarroll, 2005b, p. 441Carroll, 2005aRasmussen, 2006 Media controversies: formals, toilet use, bullying suicides. Education policy: end-goal of GLBTIQ youth research (Bochenek & Brown, 2001; Del'Angela, 2000; GLSEN, 2004; Russo, 2006; Hillier, Turner, & Mitchell, 2005; Hunt & Jensen, 2009; Ollis, 2007).Bochenek & Brown, 2001Del'Angela, 2000GLSEN, 2004Russo, 2006 Hillier, Turner, & Mitchell, 2005Hunt & Jensen, 2009Ollis, 2007 Seen as an “unproblematic good”, yet the extent, content and usefulness of Australian education policies unknown.


4 Research Question Explore the usefulness of constructions of GLBTIQ students in the dominant discourses of Australian secondary schooling education policy. 1. Discourses? 2. Constructions? 3. Usefulness?

5 Methodology & Methods Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA, capitalised) attributed to Fairclough’s Language and Power (1989). * Draws on post-structuralism and critical linguistics. * Fairclough’s threefold CDA approach (1989, 1992, 1998) analysing: 1. Texts: 80 federal, state and sector policy documents; 2. Interactive practices:10x 2-hour key informant interviews on policy development and implementation; 3. Contextual practices: 3,134x online surveys (December 2009-May 2010) by GLBTIQ secondary students aged 14-21. Advertised via Facebook, gay media. 55 forced- choice (quant) and open-ended (qual) questions, 20min.

6 Anti-discrim law: sexual orientation Anti-discrim law: gender identity Legal Exemptions (religious) Direct education policy solely on GLBTIQ issues Indirect education policy mentions GLBTIQ issues International × National ×××× ACT × NSW NT ×× QLD × SA ×× TAS × VIC WA ×× Findings

7 NSW * 1 page memo Homophobia in Schools (Boston, 1997) reminded principals of state anti-discrimination law on grounds including “homosexuality”, requiring them to “address homophobia” through student welfare and PDHPE/ sex ed curricula. Memo now online.Boston, 1997 *Anti-Discrimination Discourse’s legal framing of sexuality as discrim ground/ GLBTIQs “potential victims” to be protected, and as “potential complainants” in schools.

8 VIC * 8 pg policy Supporting Sexual Diversity in Schools (VIC Government, 2008), 1.5 pgs on homophobic bullying in Building Respectful and Safe Schools (VIC Government, 2010a, pp. 29-30), 3 pgs on transgender and intersex students in VIC Schools Reference Guide (VIC Government, 2007,, + more.VIC Government, 2008VIC Government, 2010a, pp. 29-30VIC Government, 2007, *Safe and Supportive Spaces Discourse’s framing of sexuality as safety issue/ GLBTIQ “wellbeing endangered”, to be supported. *Anti-Discrimination, Inclusive Education, Diversity Education Discourses.

9 3,134 GLBTIQ students surveyed: 56% f, 41% m, 3% trans, inters, gq. Most didn’t know policies or weren’t protected in school policy, ¼ were protected in policy.

10 DO WA SCHOOLS HAVE THESE POLICIES? *19.7% WA GLBTIQ students attended a school with such policy (only 10.8% for Catholic schools). *94.1% WA GLBTIQ students were given a sexuality education (strong like NSW). But this was chiefly on traditional male/ female puberty (91.1%), hetero reproduction (88.5%) and hetero safe sex (87.2%). *Only 11.5% of WA GLBTIQ students were taught that homophobia is wrong, the lowest result across all states. *Worse, 58.6% WA GLBTIQ students at Catholic schools were taught sex without marriage was wrong, 32.4% to convert to heterosexuality.

11 GLBTIQ students that knew their school had protective policies in were: -More likely to feel safe (75% v. 45%) -More likely to feel good about their sexuality (85% v. 78%) -More likely to report structural/ social support features at the school (below) and less likely to report “none”:

12 ARE WA SCHOOLS SUPPORTIVE? * 46.4% of WA GLBTIQ students attended a school with no social OR structural support features (on par with QLD for worst state result). The most likely support feature was peer friendliness, less than 1/3 of WA GLBTIQ students experienced this. * 72.2% of WA Catholic GLBTIQ students reported no support features at their school, worst result overall. * 81.9% of WA GLBTIQ students do not classify their school as a supportive, safe place. 43.6% of WA GLBTIQ students consider their school to be actively homophobic, worst state result. 38.3% consider it neutral/ silent.

13 Most GLBTIQs experienced some form of homophobic abuse incident (75%), most abuse (80%) occurred at school. Most incidents occurred in schools with no policy or “unknown” policy contexts: Relationships between GLBTIQ Students’ policy protection and homophobic abuse at school. Pearson Chi-Sq DF % of students abused at school whose school had policy: % of students abused at school unsure of policy context: % of students abused at school whose school had no policy: Verbal homophobic abuse (n=1,876) 35.253***2 25.18%36.62%38.20% Physical homophobic abuse (n=561) 18.283***2 23.20%29.40%47.40% Other types of homophobic abuse (n=2,143) 26.842***2 25.12%37.25%37.63% * 0.05>P≥0.01; ** 0.01>P≥0.001; *** 0.001>P



16 Policy Recommendations Push for federal Anti-discrimination law, critically consider state-level laws’ exemptions for religious/ private schools. State Depts to review and redress current policy lacks in bullying, discrimination and other areas (such policy must enumerate sexual orientation and gender identity). Safe and Supp Spaces and Anti-discrim Discourses aid creation of direct school-level anti-homophobia policies associated with health benefits. Indirect approaches (Inclusion, Diversity Ed) alone not enough to combat systematic institutional homophobia. Consider VIC gov policies (and NSW sex ed) as templates for a direct approach to GLBTIQ students.

17 Launch and promote state-level policies – research shows policies must be known to make a difference. Link policy documents to online resources. Fund some teacher training linked to the policy/ ies and encourage universities to include teacher education on the issue within behaviour management/ discipline training streams (also sex ed if available). Harness safe schools coalition models (SSCV), harness GSA models, harness government interagency models (like NSW’s NOGA and AHI).

18 Jones, T. (2011). A Sexuality Education Discourses Framework: Conservative, Liberal, Critical and Post-modern. American Journal of Sexuality Education, 6(2), pp. 133-175. Jones, T. (2011). Saving Rhetorical Children: Sexuality Education Discourses from Conservative to Post-modern. Sex Education 11(4). Jones, T., & Hillier, L. (2011). Trans-Spectrum Youth: Genderqueer, Transgender, Intersex, Androgynous, Not Sure and “Me”. Feminism & Psychology, (upcoming special issue on trans kids). Jones, T., & Hillier, L. (2011). The States of Australian Sexuality Education for GLBTIQ Students. Sex Education, (upcoming issue “good sex ed”). Hillier, L., Jones, T., Monagle, M., Overton, N., Gahan, L., Blackman, J., et al. (2010). Writing Themselves In 3: The third national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society. Jones, T., & Tyrell, K. (2009). Better Managing Homophobia. Teacher, 205(October), pp.62-63.

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