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THE POWER OF WE – TĀTOU, NOT MĀTOU

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Author(s): JUDIE ALISON | JO BELGRAVE | ROBIN DUFF

Journal: Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review
ISSN 1833-4512

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 21;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: queer educators | harassment | support | education system New Zealand | queer students

ABSTRACT
How safe is it to be a queer teacher in a New Zealand school today? Despite school employment and anti-harassment policies which specifically announce, in accordance with the Human Rights Act (1993), that all members of our diverse society are equally welcome, the reality often falls short of this. Schools vary widely, both in their choice of staff, and in their support for employees who may identify as (or are perceived to be) LGBTI. Some schools are pro-active and welcome diversity of all kinds, seeing this as a strength in that it reflects their community and provides role models for students who may be struggling with their own identities. Other schools are less welcoming: non-heterosexual staff employed in these institutions may find that they are disregarded, not supported in times of conflict (whether with other staff, or with students and their families), may be blocked from opportunities for promotion, and even become the target for harassment. This study briefly examines the situation in a small cross-section of New Zealand schools and assesses the degree to which a safe environment for queer teachers is provided. It also includes some suggestions from respondents as to how schools could be made more welcoming places for queer students.
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