The construction and representation of sexual and gender diversity in Namibian school textbooks: global discourses or Southern African realities?
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Liberal, western approaches to non-normative sexuality and gender have been roundly critiqued by queer education theorists for their regulation of sexuality and their perpetuation of cisgenderism and heteronormativity. School textbooks are a key regulatory site for the control of gender and sexuality and create zones of inclusion and exclusion in school systems. In Southern Africa sexuality and gender diversity has become a key site for global culture wars between locally embedded understandings and more global (read Western) discourses. Therefore we analysed 5 school textbooks in the Life Skills subject area in Namibia and found a clear attempt at liberal constructions and representations of sexual and gender diversity. This contrasts with local and national level understandings of non-normative sexualities and genders and is strongly influenced by Namibia's signatory status to a wide number of global education agreements that reflect a liberal humanistic understanding of sexual and gender rights.