South African contributions to LGBTI education issues

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South Africa stands out in the African region for its protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights. This article examines South Africa’s contributions to local policy for LGBTIs and to work on LGBTI issues in education policy and education rights progress internationally. It also considers broader South African contributions to the theorisation of gender and sexuality. Data derive from an analysis of 102 interviews with key informants participating in high-level global networking for LGBTI students’ rights, and documentary analysis showing how stakeholders characterise South African contributions to transnational LGBTI education work. Informants identified how such contributions have a strong human rights emphasis, furthering post-colonial resistance to simplistic gender and sexuality classification schema imposed via imperial colonising dynamics. While South African work in this area has also promoted and facilitated research, it has at times been limited by ambivalence from its leadership. The nation’s early adoption of constitutional rights, relationship rights and educational equity provisions as acts of decolonisation contribute valuable African LGBTI work examples to the region. Their success encourages further funding for South-South transnational LGBTI education work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-471
Number of pages17
JournalSex Education
Issue number4
Early online date17 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • South Africa
  • transnational
  • gender
  • sexuality
  • education
  • progress achievements

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