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Special Interest Group

Sexualities and Gender

The Sexualities & Gender SIG provides a forum for educators and researchers with interest in sexualities in the context of education to discuss theory, policy and practice issues. Over the last ten to fifteen years, there has been a growing interest in issues of identity, including sexual identity, within educational research. This, coupled with increasing government interest in social inclusion, has led to the development of a stronger research voice for marginalised groups, including those marginalised by their sexuality. In addition, this growing field has incorporated research beyond issues of marginalisation and exclusion, developing specific strengths and perspectives which in turn contribute to the wider research community. Research into sexualities has added important work to earlier studies in gender and identity, and has brought new theoretical perspectives and research paradigms to the field.

The aims of the SIG are:

  • to support work with by scholars and practitioners in shaping theory, policy and practice in the field of sexualities research in education;
  • to bring together diverse voices from the research community, creating a forum for discussion and dissemination of research related to sexualities in the context of education;
  • to create opportunities for collaboration on research projects in this field;
  • to establish a point of contact with parallel groups internationally, and  contribute to opportunities for international collaboration and partnership;
  • to support the publication of research reports and discussion papers in academic journals with an interest in this field, such as Sex Education, Sexualities and Gender and Education in the UK, and the Journal of LGBT Youth in the United States;
  • to organise research events, such as conferences, seminars and lectures, focusing on sexualities;
  • to provide a channel for the dissemination of research in this field to the wider research community.

What we do Sexualities & Gender SIG members produce a biannual e-newsletter with details of debates, publications and events in the field. The Sexualities SIG is also interested in running events on sexualities and education theme to develop links between researchers, policymakers and practitioners. Recent SIG events include a seminar, in conjunction with the Youth Studies SIG, on ‘Sexualities, youth work and informal education’. Existing interests of current SIG members are broad ranging and include: Theory, policy and practice in Sex & Relationship education; LGBTQ issues in education; researching sexualities equalities in schools and higher education settings; challenging homophobia within school/youth work settings, policy and practice interventions around teenage pregnancy; feminist and queer pedagogies; exploring the production of sexualities and genders in educational settings; exploring heteronormativity in educational settings, social justice and sexuality in education.

SIG Convenors

Joshua Heyes

University of Birmingham

Before coming to the world of educational research, I completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Nottingham, during which I worked on sexual ethics and philosophy of religion. I then took up an exciting opportunity to...

Helen Sauntson, Dr

Professor of English Language and Linguistics at York St John University

Helen Sauntson is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at York St John University. Much of her teaching and research focuses on LGBT+ issues, especially in relation to language and education. As a former teacher, Helen maintains an...

Fiona Cullen, Dr

Senior Lecturer at St Mary's University

Fin Cullen is a qualified Youth and Community worker and worked for over a decade across the UK in a variety of contexts including youth homeless provision, residential settings, day centres, school-based youth services, centre-based, outreach,...