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Spaces of change: Everyday gender activism through near‐peer gender and sexuality workshops with young people in the UK

Boyer, Kate ORCID: and Wood, Isabelle 2023. Spaces of change: Everyday gender activism through near‐peer gender and sexuality workshops with young people in the UK. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 10.1111/tran.12616

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This paper explores ‘near‐peer’ gender and sexuality workshops taking place in UK secondary schools in support of the nationally required relationships and sex education curriculum. In line with UK law, these workshops promote respect, kindness and communication in a framework that explicitly validates LGBTQI+ identities, relationships and family structures. Based on interviews with 24 gender workshop facilitators, we explore the kind of practices that are needed to create spaces in which young people can openly reflect on their views about gender and sexuality, and advance the above‐noted goals of promoting respect, kindness and empathy for people of all genders and sexualities. We argue that gender workshops constitute an important and under‐explored space of ‘everyday’ activism. We further argue that through practices of atmosphere curation and the near‐peer relational dynamic between facilitators and participants, these workshops create valuable spaces for young people to critically reflect on their views and attitudes about gender and sexuality in a way that does not exist elsewhere. This work extends understanding about the kinds of spatial practices that might be needed to bring forth more positive gender cultures, and deepens our understanding about the experiences and functioning of ‘everyday’ work for social change that takes place outside of ‘high profile’ activist sites such as marches, demonstrations and protests.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0020-2754
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 24 April 2023
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 07:14

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