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Mary-Anne McAllum

In this podcast Mary-Anne McAllum from New Zealand talks about attending the human rights conference.

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This summary encapsulates the key themes and insights from an interview with Mary-Anne McAllum at the Wellington Town Hall in March 2011. During the approximately 12-minute recording, McAllum discusses the findings of their master's thesis based research focused on the schooling experiences of young lesbian and bisexual women in New Zealand secondary schools. McAllum identifies several disadvantages that these students face, including discrimination by peers, disregard from the schools, and insufficient health promotion—all exacerbated by the exclusion of inclusivity and diversity within sexuality education programs.

The discussion highlights the fact that sexuality education is often skewed towards physical aspects and neglects personal identity and orientation, leading to inadequacies in addressing the needs of young lesbian and bisexual students. McAllum recounts anecdotes from fieldwork conducted in 2007, where educators presented misleading and fear-mongering information regarding sexual health, which was deeply concerning.

Research challenges in this demographic center on the problematic access to study participants. McAllum documents significant resistance when attempting to engage with secondary schools for current research, indicating that information packs sent to various institutions frequently go ignored or rejected. This resistance is attributed to the gatekeeping roles of school principals who may obstruct research due to discomfort or bias related to the subject of sexuality and diversity within their school environments.

During the interview, a query from the audience prompts McAllum to explain the preference for the term "bisexual" over "queer" within their research, citing the definitional clarity and personal significance. McAllum’s intent for the research is to spotlight bisexual visibility and needs, which they view as distinct from other sexual orientations. They also illustrate the complexities bisexuality encompasses, urging acceptance and understanding for those who identify as such.

The interview goes on to detail McAllum’s aspirations to contribute to the fields of civil and human rights. They emphasize an ambition to use their research to further knowledge and support advocacy efforts aimed at improving conditions and recognition for diverse sexual orientations. Despite an existing gap in scholarly literature on bisexual women, especially in New Zealand, McAllum aims to establish a dedicated academic space that prioritizes and investigates their unique experiences.

Lastly, McAllum reflects on the personal significance of attending human rights conferences and the sense of solidarity they feel among a diverse community of participants. They express optimism for a future wherein such events are unnecessary because broader society has progressed to total acceptance and integration of all sexual orientations. The interview ultimately envisions a world where individuals are embraced for who they are without prejudice.

The summary reiterates the focus of McAllum’s research on the disparate treatment and challenges encountered by young lesbian and bisexual women in secondary education, reinforcing the need for inclusivity. It underscores the importance of researchers like McAllum who confront hurdles not only in the academic realm but also in the broader pursuit of rights and recognition for the LGBTQ+ community.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:16th March 2011
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Wellington Town Hall, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004174).