Mary-Anne McAllum

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[00:00:00] This recording was made up a second, the Asia Pacific Outgames human rights conference held in Wellington, New Zealand in March 2011. [00:00:09] Marion McCallum and I'm from the University of Auckland in my paper was based on the research I did for my master's thesis. And I looked at the schooling experiences of young lesbian and bisexual women, and New Zealand and New Zealand secondary schools. And the results from the data showed that these young women felt that they were really disadvantaged and several areas on the schooling. theory the the treatment by the peers, the treatment by the school of general, the lack of health promotion and the school. The but what I talked about today was the sexuality education programs and schools, and how they don't really embrace inclusive it, even though it's in the New Zealand curriculum. inclusiveness and diversity are not regarded, or that overlooked in many cases, and in particular, in the sexual sexuality education programs. And this, of course, puts those young women at a disadvantage. In some of those disadvantages include the way health Teachers Pay Teachers who ever teach sexuality, teach sex education, so it's based more on the physical aspect. So the aspects of who you are as a person, your identity, your orientation, how you behave sexually, it's crossed over, and it's crossed over because a lot of teachers are frightened. One example that I gave in my talk was two of my participants, he asked me for answers to some of the questions. One of the teachers had told them. Sorry, they were two separate participants in two different parts of New Zealand. They both had the experience where the health teacher had told them that if they did not save themselves for marriage, they could catch AIDS. So that that was horrifying. [00:02:11] And how recent was this? [00:02:13] This was in the century, this was in a did my fieldwork in 2007. And as I see it in two different wildly different locations, one was a state carried very large High School. The other one was a small code, religious institution, in both the teachers one male, not that I'm saying that had anything to do with it, but it spoke volumes about the teachers own beliefs and attitudes and knowledge. And here they are teaching sexuality education. How easy [00:02:49] is it to do research in that age group. [00:02:53] If I could just get to the students would be just easy because the kids want to come and talk. They need to talk because it's an opportunity for them to vent. But we have difficulties and accessing my current research looking at young by women and New Zealand see from new schools. I've seen about 30 packs of information to secondary schools. And that was actually four weeks ago, I've had one Yes, I've had three different knows. And two of those schools have got a very high, diverse population and the students and and the staff. But it was a flat no was an absolute denial. And so that means I've got 26, big gaping voids with schools have probably put my material in the band. They haven't even replied. [00:03:48] So when schools deny access, is that through because of the general teaching population? Or does it have to be okay, through like a board or a principal? [00:03:59] Do you know it's got and this is part of the ethics process? has to go through the school principal, who is the representative of the Board of Trustees? So if the principal looks at it and says, No, then my hands are tied, I cannot really go any further. And my master's research, there were a couple of schools where the principals went to the guidance counselors and said, hey, look, what can we do about this, and the council was arranged, everything was fantastic. But that was because the principals had a lot of time for the counselors, and I also had a lot of time for this student communities, and they recognize the diversity. And most cases, school principals will use the excuse that No, they're not allowing research of any kind. And then I know that's not true, because I know I have colleagues who are actually working in those schools doing research. So I think it's that it's that easy. sexuality, we can have that in our schools, we don't have people like these schools. And I have actually had that response from a principal. We don't have people like that in our schools. So it's really it's saddening, and it's sickening, because [00:05:17] to me, it at [00:05:20] suggests a huge lack of understanding and the lack of, of even interest in understanding that these process these are knowledge units, instead of looking at them as whole people. [00:05:32] There's some comments from the floor about the use of the word bisexual, instead of us using was like queer. And you made a comment about kind of effects approval for using something like bisexual as opposed to queer. Can you talk about that? [00:05:45] The choice of the word by comes partly because that's how I identify. But also because queer theory at the use of the word queer for start looking the way the term gay has evolved over the years, and where we're at now. Many people who I know who are lesbian, bisexual, call themselves gay, let's call queer, these the director, general populace interpretation, but then this queer theory. And I'm going to be using queer theory in a way to decentralize a lot of the beliefs that are out there and schools. But I chose bisexuality because I believe it is a tune that is usable. I know young women use that term to describe themselves. And I know too, that the boundaries to bisexuality are as flexible as, as those legalistic things that little girls use for jumping games. And I think I described it as a cardboard box. And if it rains, then it melts. And so there's no boundaries. So you can be bye bye can mean a huge range. It's not a restrictive tune, that somebody asked me if they hit a trans person who identified as by would they be eligible? And I said, heck, yeah. Yeah. Welcome, anyone who identifies as female. So, yeah, so by as opposed to queer, more, more definitive, for the, for the purpose of my studies more definitive, and more usable. [00:07:28] So what do you think the research of what do you think the results of the research will be used for? [00:07:35] To get me a PhD? [00:07:38] Not that will. It's obviously that's part of the reason because I want to work in places that I can't work currently because I don't have fun. But that work, I want to be in the area of civil rights of human rights. And I think, to look into it myself to build up my own knowledge bank is going to help me enable other people to either to share the knowledge or the skills to help make things better for diverse sexualities. That's that underlies pretty much what I do. [00:08:16] As you're saying, I mean, there's a huge gap in the literature for bisexual women in this country [00:08:22] is bisexual women and the world basically [00:08:27] all the women adult women there is this wonderful people as Robin I think that's a sign and America this the by any other name book that's that's been around for a long time, these magic GABA. [00:08:42] Paul Rodriguez, rust, [00:08:46] Kristen McLean, on Australia and New Zealand, there really isn't any there's no literature, no academic literature and New Zealand that just looks at bisexual young bisexual women. It's usually lumped in with young lesbian women. And really the the needs I see a for the two groups are quite separate. So that's partly why I'm doing it. I just want want to make a space. And it's it's our space, it's a it's a bi space. [00:09:19] So what are the specific needs for bisexual women? Well, [00:09:24] firstly, to feel that they're not impose that they're not imposters. And I know, and I've experienced this myself, I've been accused of exercising the heterosexual privilege. And that really makes me feel awful, because it's like I'm using something and then it gets so totally against who I am. [00:09:51] A lot of young women [00:09:53] use the term as a way of hooking guys, which is a bit of a concern. But that that's, that's what they do. It's part of who they are at the time and part of the journey. But I, I know that they are young by women out there who have issues, as I said, they don't know whether they're straight, whether that guy with a fit. And it's where they fit, because often the the lesbian communities within the schools, the students won't accept them, because they might have had a boyfriend, or they might show interest and avoid so or you can't be part of us. So you're not lesbian. But because of the the interest in same six, when you're moving in the straight world. You can't you don't feel a part of that either. Because the straight people say, Well, what are you doing in our group? You should be with the lesbians. So really, it's a no go zone, because there's nobody brave enough to step out there and say, Well, bye, come and join me. So maybe that's something that will come out of what I'm doing. [00:11:06] In for you personally attending a conference like this, what does that mean to you what you want to get out of it? [00:11:11] Well, look, well, like everyone else. I've only been here for three or four hours. And this is just amazing. I never wanted to stop the speakers. The plenary is was absolutely fantastic. [00:11:22] But I think to to move and [00:11:27] physically be amongst people who are so diverse, not only in this sexuality, but and who they are as people. It's, I'm on a real high real adrenaline bus. And I just say power to us to all of us here. And I just hope that this the app games, the conference, that keeps on and I'd love to know where the next one's going to be. [00:11:53] Absolutely. We're just thinking hit save. It's It's a 50 years. If somebody was listening to this in 50 years time, what would you like to say to nothing nothing? [00:12:01] Well, if they are listening in, they are doing any research into bisexuality, I hope you read my thesis. But also, I would like to think that in 30 years time, maybe we don't need to have conferences [00:12:15] like this, because [00:12:17] we're all just going to be people out there being who we are, and it's not going to offend anybody. Nobody's going to be prosecuted or murdered or stones thrown at them or anything. And it will just be a big, happy family. And everybody's cool.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.