Sex, Genders, and Sexualities

This cluster seeks to combine contemporary and historical perspectives to understand the multiple power structures that so profoundly shape experiences of sex, genders and sexualities – as well as attempts to confront and overcome these structures in the pursuit of human rights.

This cluster seeks to combine contemporary and historical perspectives to understand the multiple power structures that so profoundly shape experiences of sex, genders and sexualities. It also examines attempts to confront and overcome these structures in the pursuit of human rights.

We investigate a range of movements for rights and reform for gender, sex and sexuality diverse people, and the categories, objectives and strategies that have animated these movements. Recognising the crucial intersections between academia and activisms, we share a commitment to decolonial and intersectional analyses that highlight the need for the voices and concerns of people of colour and Indigenous people to be central to both activist and academic work. Our research critically interrogates past demands and champions current rights to live a safe, dignified and thriving existence as ‘women’, or as gender, sex and sexuality diverse people. Through our attention to diversity and to the historical and colonizing forces that have underpinned ‘development’, we critically analyse issues relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 5 ‘Gender Equality’ and SDG 16 ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’.

Specific Projects

Memory-Keepers addresses the significant problem of historical amnesia regarding women’s activist work. It examines the rationale, strategies and tactics that Australian women and women’s organisations employed to preserve their own histories in the face of a male-dominated public agenda. It analyses how they acted as gate-keepers of their own memory until wider social shifts allowed that memory public visibility. In doing so, it will contribute a deeper historical understanding of women’s agency – from activists to archivists. 

The project funded by UOW Community Engagement Grant will be carried out in close partnership with Advance Diversity Services (ADS). It will conduct a survey, focus group discussions and interviews to investigate:

  1. Diversity service workers’ attitudes and concerns towards ADS’ plan to provide support services to CALD LGBTIQ+ communities in the context of COVID-19;
  2. The workers’ knowledge and skills gap in delivering community outreach initiatives and services to this social group. Using findings generated from this pilot study, ADS will be able to develop appropriate staff training programmes and manuals, and subsequently, effective community outreach initiatives to support CALD LGBTIQ+ people affected by effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

The project explores the migration biographies of queer individuals who have emigrated out of their Southeast Asian home country. Through autobiographical account and empirical findings collected from in-depth interviews, the study will address these questions:

  • How do we develop survival strategies to capacitate ourselves for queer life-affirming projects?
  • What resources, privileges and reserves do we possess to succeed in capacitation of self and significant others?
  • What kind of trade-offs are implicated? What persistent forms of debility exist in our queer migrant lives?