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‘I Just Want to Have a Better Life and Be Who I Want to Be’: Competing Perspectives on LGBTI Inclusion in South African Schools

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Part of the Diversity and Inclusion Research book series (DIRE)

Abstract

South Africa’s constitutional imperatives of social inclusion, social justice, respect for diversity and the transformation of society are reflected in broad education policy. This includes the mainstreaming of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues in education policy and frameworks. However despite formal provision for LGBTI inclusion, the purpose of this chapter, which is theoretically grounded in the tradition of social justice education, is to present varied perspectives showing that much needs to be done for LGBTI-inclusive policy to be translated into school-based practice. Methodologically, the chapter uses a desktop study and document analysis to elucidate tensions between the aspirations of the post-apartheid legislative and policy space, pervasive discrimination in schools and increased levels of agency among LGBTI young people. Despite homophobia, transphobia and backlash against Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), the perspectives presented in this chapter foreground the increasing levels of visibility, protest and agency among LGBTI young people in schools. This chapter concludes by building on the existing work in social justice education and CSE in South Africa and by recommending ways to ensure the presence and visibility of LGBTI learners in South African schools.

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Correspondence to Finn Reygan .

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Reygan, F. (2021). ‘I Just Want to Have a Better Life and Be Who I Want to Be’: Competing Perspectives on LGBTI Inclusion in South African Schools. In: Pearson Jr., W., Reddy, V. (eds) Social Justice and Education in the 21st Century. Diversity and Inclusion Research. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-65417-7_7

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