Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Lutz van Dijk and Barry van DrielTrentham BooksISBN 9781-85856-413-516.99184 pages
Discussing sexual identity from an early age is a positive move towards challenging prejudices and misunderstandings before they become a part of an individual's behaviour.
Sexuality being such a taboo subject makes these discussions tricky - even traumatic - yet children are usually familiar with their own body by about two-years-old, so these conversations will feed the inquisitive nature of the child and discourage the damaging and misguided views of sexual diversity still present in many parts of the world.
For example, Section 28, which banned councils and schools in England and Wales from promoting homosexuality, was repealed in 2003, yet many are still wary of discussing it. In line with current Department for Children, Schools and Families guidance on dealing with homophobic bullying, part three of this book - Examples of Best Practice - offers useful examples for teachers and other professionals and get discussions around sexuality started.
Homophobia is a sensitive issue and discussions around it provoke a number of differing and passionate beliefs. That said, homophobic bullying "causes permanent damage to young people and blights the schools and colleges where it takes place," according to Stonewall's Education for All campaign.
The book is an interesting read and a positive tool in taking a stance against homophobic bullying. By introducing ways of approaching the topic, which avoid threatening the hetero-patriarchal position of society, this book offers useful ways of questioning individual understandings of sexuality.