University Of Tasmania
106774_F1_Its about protocols and decorums.pdf (180.13 kB)
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'It's about protocols and decorums' : governing queer student sexualities in schools as a human rights issue

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 10:53 authored by Angela DwyerAngela Dwyer
This paper will explore schools' governance of queer student sexualities as a human rights issue in relation to how romantic relationships are heterosexualised in schools. Even though schools are typically spaces in which romantic desires are 'properly' expunged, heterosexual relationships are so taken for granted that they are situated as a normal, basic human right. School staff consider them as a more proper way of doing romantic relationships in schooling contexts than same sex relationships. The paper argues that in doing this, schools perpetuate the idea that same sex relationships are abnormal and in need of 'proper' control and regulation. It explores how heterosexual relationships have become so normalised that, although illegal, some schools discriminate against same sex couples and deny same sex attracted young people their human rights and continue to reinforce school spaces as necessarily heterosexual spaces. As an exemplar, the paper will engage with the decision by a private boys school in Brisbane, Queensland, to disallow gay students to bring their male partners to a school formal in April 2008. The paper concludes with a call for more explicit school staff training and further research on how these forms of discrimination are enacted in schools.


Publication title

Proceedings of Activating Human Rights and Peace Conference


Garbutt, Rob






School of Social Sciences


Southern Cross University

Place of publication


Event title

Activating Human Rights and Peace

Event Venue

Byron Bay

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2008 The author

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Gender and sexualities