Making the invisible visible: gay and lesbian issues in early childhood education

Case Studies & Research
20 p.
Periodical title
Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 3 (3)

This article, based on empirical qualitative data gained from a survey and interviews with a group of early childhood educators, argues for the inclusion of sexual differences, or more specifically, gay and lesbian equity issues, in approaches to anti-bias. The article examines the discourses that prevail in the field, that perpetuate the perceived irrelevance, invisibility and exclusion of lesbian and gay issues in early childhood settings and education generally. The discussion focuses on several main areas, including: the prevalence of the dominant discourses of childhood and sexuality that intersect to constitute sexuality as irrelevant to children; the pervasiveness of the discourse of compulsory heterosexuality and the assumed absence of gay and lesbian families in settings; or the assumed absence of significant gay and lesbian adults in children's lives; the presence of homophobia and heterosexism in early childhood settings; and the perceived irrelevance of broader social, political and economic issues to the 'child's world'. This article highlights some crucial issues for practice and policy development in the area of anti-bias education concerned with sexual differences.

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