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Cripping the controversies: Ontario rights-based debates in sexuality education

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sexuality education, comprehensive sexuality education, critical disability studies, crip theory, children’s rights

Abstract (summary)

Comprehensive sexuality education is increasingly being employed on a global scale, with controversies arising regarding the content of such education and the rights of children to access sexuality education versus parents’ rights to decide the moral education of their children. In this paper, we utilise crip theory and a critical disability studies lens to analyse controversies surrounding parents’ rights versus children’s rights in the context of comprehensive sexuality education in Ontario, Canada. Using a disability studies perspective, this paper discusses the erasure of disabled children and youth in debates over children’s and parents’ rights while problematising the liberal humanist and legal frameworks often employed in comprehensive sexuality education and children’s rights. As such, we theorise how a more relationally attuned version of both children’s rights and comprehensive sexuality education can avoid oppositional politics and the reification of liberal humanist and ableist ideologies.

Publication Information

Adam W. J. Davies & Noah Kenneally (2020) Cripping the controversies: Ontario rights-based debates in sexuality education, Sex Education, 20:4, 366-382,


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All Rights Reserved