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Speaking the unspeakable in forbidden places: addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the primary school

By Alexandra Allen, Elizabeth Atkinson, Elizabeth Brace, Renee DePalma and Judy Hemingway


This paper interrogates the ways in which school is produced as a particular bounded place (or collection of places) where sexuality, and particularly non-heterosexuality, is carefully policed by these boundaries. Drawing upon data generated in primary schools during a nationwide action research project (No Outsiders), we focus on three very different school places: the classroom, the staff room and a school -based afterschool art club. Our analysis engages with the contingency of place-making to show that place is neither a unitary experience nor a neutral stage upon which social relations are enacted. The three vignettes analysed offer insights into the critical potential of consciously and persistently working across (apparently) boundaried spaces within and beyond schools

Year: 2008
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