Belonging and sexual citizenship among gender and sexual minority youth

Something like one in four young Australians is likely to experience serious mental health difficulties, disrupting education, relationships and work. Young people from gender and sexual minorities are especially prone to anxiety, depression and, in the worst case, suicide. Many of these problems are attributable to rejection at home, in school and the community.

Despite this, many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people successfully navigate the challenges of adolescence and attain similar levels of health and wellbeing as their heterosexual peers, despite the stigma and discrimination encountered. Central to success in such transitions is ‘sexual citizenship’, whereby individuals come to appreciate themselves as having equality before the law, as trustworthy, as deserving of respect, and as having the right to ‘belong’ – by participating in a range of practices including work and study, building families, and contributing to social networks and national cultures through volunteering and other forms of service.

But what is it that supports young people in this process and what are their interests and needs?

The project will incorporate policy analysis, historical, archival, textual and online research together with individual interviews and focus groups with two different generations of gender and sexual minority youth: those of the 1970s generation, who were between 16 and 25 years old in 1995, and their counterparts twenty years later aged 16 and 25 years growing up today.

Research Centre

Centre for Social Research in Health

Research Area

Sexuality, Health and Education

Newman, C.E., Prankumar, S. K., Cover, R., Rasmussen, M., Marshall, D., Aggleton, P. (2020) Inclusive health care for LGBTQ+ youth: support, belonging and inclusivity labour. Critical Public Health

Southerton, C., Marshall, D., Aggleton, P., Rasmussen, M. L., & Cover, R. (2020). Restricted modes: Social media, content classification and LGBTQ sexual citizenship. New Media & Society

Abidin, C., & Cover, R. (2019). ‘Gay, Famous and Working Hard on YouTube: Influencers, Queer microcelebrity publics, and Discursive activism.’ In P. Aggleton, R. Cover, D. Leahy, D. Marshall, & M.L. Rasmussen (eds.). Youth, Sexuality and Sexual Citizenship. London and New York:  Routledge.

Aggleton, P., Cover, R., Leahy, D., Marshall, D., & Rasmussen, M.L. (eds) (2019). Youth, Sexuality and Sexual Citizenship. London: Routledge.

Cover, R. (2019). ‘The Proliferation of Gender and Sexual Identities, Categories and Labels among Young People: Emergent Taxonomies.’ In P. Aggleton, R. Cover, D. Leahy, D. Marshall, & M.L. Rasmussen (eds.). Youth, Sexuality and Sexual Citizenship. London and New York:  Routledge.

Cover, R., Aggleton, P., & Clarke, K. (2019). ‘Education and Affinity? Pedagogies of Sexual Citizenship in LGBTIQ Youth Support Videos.’ Journal of Youth Studies.

Cover, R., Aggleton, P., Rasmussen, M.L., & Marshall, D. (2019). The myth of LGBTQ mobilities: framing the lives of gender- and sexually diverse Australians between regional and urban contexts. Culture, Health and Sexuality

Marshall, D., Aggleton, P., Cover, R., Rasmussen, M.L., & Hegarty, B. (2019). Queer generations: Theorizing a concept. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 22(4), 558-576.

Newman, C. (2019). Queer families: valuing stories of adversity, diversity and belonging. Culture, Health and Sexuality. 21 (3): 352-359.

Newman, C.E., Persson, A., Prankumar, S.K. Lea, T., & Aggleton, P. (2019). Experiences of Family Belonging among Two Generations of Sexually Diverse Australians. Published online in Family Relations on 19 November 2019.

Persson, A., Newman, C.E., Rasmussen, M.L., Marshall, D., Cover, R., & Aggleton, P. (2019). Queerying notions of “difference” among two generations of Australians who do not identify heteronormatively. Published online in Sexuality and Culture on 24 June 2019.

Clarke, K., Cover, R., & Aggleton, P. (2018). Sex and ambivalence: LGBTQ youth negotiating sexual feelings, desires and attractions. Journal of LGBT Youth, 15(3), 227-242.

Cover, R. (2018). ‘Micro-Minorities: The Emergence of New Sexual Subjectivities, Categories and Labels Among Sexually-Diverse Youth Online.’ In S. Talburt (ed.) Youth Sexualities: Public Feelings and Contemporary Cultural Politics. Praeger, pp. 279-302.

Hegarty, B., Marshall, D., Rasmussen, M.L., Aggleton, P., & Cover, R. (2018). Heterosexuality and Race in the Australian Same-Sex Marriage Postal Survey. Australian Feminist Studies, 33(97), 400-416.

Rasmussen, M.L., Aggleton, P., Southerton, C., Marshall, D., Cover, R., & Newman, C. (2018). “It was just nice to see they existed”. The importance of having LGBTQ teachers who are ‘out’ at school. EduResearch Matters (Blog of Australian Association for Research in Education), 29 October.

Cover, R., Rasmussen, M.L, Aggleton, P., & Marshall, D. (2017). Progress in question: the temporalities of politics, support and belonging in gender-and sexually-diverse pedagogies. Continuum, 31 (6), 767-779.

Rasmussen, M.L., Cover, R. & Aggleton, P. (2017). Sexuality, Gender, Citizenship and Social Justice: Education’s Queer Relations. In Peterson, A., Hattam, R., Zembylas, M., Arthur, J. (Eds.), Palgrave International Handbook of Education for Citizenship and Social Justice, Palgrave Macmillan, UK, pp. 73-96.

Australian Research Council Discovery Project

  • Associate Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen, Australian National University
  • Associate Professor Rob Cover, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Daniel Marshall, Deakin University

Related people

Emeritus Scientia Professor Peter Aggleton
Emeritus Scientia Professor
Professor and Associate Dean (Engagement and Impact) Christy Newman
Professor and Associate Dean (Engagement and Impact)