Sexuality education: how children of lesbian mothers 'learn' about sex/uality

Gabb, Jacqui (2004). Sexuality education: how children of lesbian mothers 'learn' about sex/uality. Sex Education, 4(1) pp. 19–34.




Sexuality is something that children experience from an early age. It may be a cause of individual concern and anxiety, but is seldom, if ever, deconstructed at any stage of a child's education. Institutionalized fear and misunderstandings of Section 28 (1988) have effectively removed discussion of sexuality, homosexual or otherwise, from the English school curriculum. This structural silence on sexuality is all too frequently repeated at home. In this article I interrogate how children from lesbian parent households 'learn' about sexuality, looking at the effects of their parents' (homo)sexual orientation on their 'sexuality education'. I consider how sex education is taught in schools; what children traditionally 'learn' about sexuality. I then look at whether sexuality education is any different for children from lesbian parent families; whether these children have greater sexuality knowledge, and, if so, how this has been 'learnt'. I suggest that it may be the ambient presence of sexuality—as both a topic of conversation and mothers' unspoken sexual identity—that means lesbian parent families offer a distinctive form of sexuality education. This article draws on empirical research on sexuality and lesbian parent families with lesbian parent families who lived in the Yorkshire region, UK. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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