Erasure and agency in sexuality and relationships education and knowledge among trans young people in Australia

Damien W. Riggs, Roz Bellamy, Jeremy Wiggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sexuality and relationship education (SRE) for trans young people is fraught with ongoing institutional and informational erasure, even as trans young people display considerable agency in navigating their SRE needs. This paper reports on a survey of 112 Australian trans young people, who shared their experiences of SRE (in terms of delivery and content), and their views on three story completion tasks where they were asked to respond to prompts about three fictional stories focused on trans young people (and for some their cisgender partners) and intimacy. Participants reported that SRE was delivered in class and focused on puberty and anatomy, although many participants accessed SRE information informally. Participants overwhelmingly reported the erasure of trans-specific SRE content and suggested that SRE content should include a trans focus. Responses to the story completion task emphasised the agency of the fictional trans young people in asserting their boundaries, deserving respect, being knowledgeable about their bodies and ensuring their safety. Fictional cisgender young people in the story completion tasks were expected to be respectful, and to be guided by trans people (but also to educate themselves). The paper concludes with recommendations for harnessing trans young people’s agency in the context of SRE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
JournalSex Education
Volume24
Issue number2
Early online date28 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • agency
  • erasure
  • sexuality and relationships education
  • story completion
  • Trans young people

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