Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ Issues in Primary Initial Teacher Education Programs

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ Issues in Primary Initial Teacher Education Programs


  • David Rhodes School of Education, Edith Cowan University, Australia
  • Matt Byrne School of Education, Edith Cowan University, Australia


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Abstract:  Existing research has explored inclusion in education, however, issues related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ young people, with some notable exceptions, have, until recently, seldom been included in any meaningful academic discussion. Issues of youth race, gender and sexuality have been interrogated as discrete issues. This small but growing body of research demonstrates the potential impacts of intersectional disadvantages experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ young people in Australia (Uink, Liddelow-Hunt, Daglas, & Ducasse, 2020). This article seeks to explore the existing research and advocate for the embedding of a critical pedagogy of care in primary Initial Teacher Education (ITE) curricula, inclusive of diversity of race, ethnicity, socio-economic-status, gender and sexuality. Employing intersectionality theory, this research will examine the specific disadvantages that arise as the result of occupying multiple minority demographic categories, which are relational, complex and shifting, rather than fixed and independent. Primary educators are well positioned to name disadvantage, racism and heterosexism, make them visible and, through culturally responsive pedagogical approaches and inclusive curricula, challenge the status quo. To ensure that learning and teaching moves beyond stereotypes, primary curricula should be representative of all students and present alternate ways of being human in culturally appropriate, positive ways, to the benefit of all students. ITE programs provide the ideal arena to equip teachers with the knowledge and competency to respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ young people.

Keywords:  Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander; gender diversity; inclusive education; indigenous; LGBTIQ+; primary school; sexuality

Published:   15 April 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v9i2.3822


© David Rhodes, Matt Byrne. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.