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

By Damien Wayne Riggs and Indigo Willing


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN STUDIES on 20 AUG, available online: 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 whilst according to 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 paper suggests that schools often also perpetuate marginalisation, even if unintentionally. Drawing on interviews conducted with 23 lesbian mothers, the findings highlight 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

Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.1080/14443058.2013.812574
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