"They're all just little bits, aren't they": South Australian lesbian mothers' experiences of marginalisation in primary schools

Damien Riggs, Indigo Willing

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Multiple formations of family have always been a part of Australia's social and historical landscape, yet social norms typically function to marginalise some family forms while according others a privileged status. Marginalisation on the basis of sexuality, for example, whilst arguably somewhat less prevalent than in previous decades, nonetheless continues for those families positioned outside the heteronorm. Institutions such as schools can play an important role in transforming marginalising practices, yet research such as that presented in this article suggests that schools often also perpetuate marginalisation, even if unintentionally. Drawing on interviews conducted with twenty-three lesbian mothers, this article highlights the often subtle ways in which such mothers with children in South Australian primary schools experience marginalisation by educators. Specifically, we argue that marginalisation occurs in the form of injunctions made upon lesbian mothers to inform educators about their families (and to do so in often highly normative ways), to accept that it is their role to manage discrimination, and to treat as routine the marginalisation of their families. Such findings indicate that changes still remain necessary within Australian educational practices in order to ensure the full inclusion of lesbian mother families on terms of their own making.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)364-377
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Australian Studies
    Volume37
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

    Keywords

    • heteronormativity
    • lesbian mothers
    • marginalisation
    • primary schools
    • South Australia

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