2.1 “Parental Rights” Special Series: “The status of the parent is almost like a moral alibi” with Dr. Jen Gilbert

2.1 “Parental Rights” Special Series: “The status of the parent is almost like a moral alibi” with Dr. Jen Gilbert

Episode Description
In this first episode in a four part mini series about “parental rights”, Stephen and Shannon speak to Dr. Jen Gilbert.

Dr. Gilbert is Professor and Chair of the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL). Dr. Gilbert’s scholarship and teaching explores the experiences of LGBTQ+ students, teachers, and families in schools and the history of controversies over sex education in schools. Dr. Gilbert’s work is international in scope and she has established a strong research partnership network in both the U.S. and Australia. She is an active public scholar and designs projects that explores the connections of social equity and education. Dr. Gilbert previously held Professorship and academic leadership roles at York University in the Faculty of Education. She has been formally recognized for her scholarship, mentorship and leadership by the American Educational Research Association, World Association of Sexual Health and Canadian Society for the Study of Education.
Bio Source: https://discover.research.utoronto.ca/54461-jen-gilbert

Dr. Gilbert begins the episode by explaining the ways that parental rights have been used throughout history to oppose more inclusive models of gender and sexuality in schools. While there are historical echoes, we also speak about the specific factors in the current context that have amplified and mobilized the parental rights movement. Dr. Gilbert challenges the misunderstanding that sexuality is brought into schools through teachers and curriculum, and provokes the construction of the innocent child that is often used to limit important conversations about gender and sexuality in schools. We also speak about the way the notion of parental rights privileges particular parents and erases parents and children. Dr. Gilbert shares two important cases in which youth have opposed regressive curricular moves. Rather than limiting and narrowing curriculum, we speak about the ways sex education, and discussions of gender and sexuality more broadly, need to move beyond the health curriculum. Dr. Gilbert ends our interview with an important, although reluctant, manifesto about how to foster educational hospitality.

Episode Resources
Gilbert, J. (2010). Ambivalence only? Sex education in the age of abstinence. Sex Education, 10(3), 233–237. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681811.2010.491631

Gilbert, J. (2014). Sexuality in School: The Limits of Education. University of Minnesota Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctt7zw6j4

Gilbert, J. (2016). The pleasure of protest: LGBTQ youth in school. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 13(1), 33–35. https://doi.org/10.1080/15505170.2016.1138260

Gilbert, J. (2018a). Contesting consent in sex education*. Sex Education, 18(3), 268–279. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681811.2017.1393407

Gilbert, J. (2021). Getting dirty and coming clean: Sex education and the problem of expertise. Curriculum Inquiry, 51(4), 455–472. https://doi.org/10.1080/03626784.2021.1947732

Gilbert, J. (2018b, November 29). Responding to sexual violence in schools: What can educators learn? The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/responding-to-sexual-violence-in-schools-what-can-educators-learn-107769

Gilbert, J., & Rawlings, V. (2022, June 21). “Parental rights” lobby puts trans and queer kids at risk. The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/parental-rights-lobby-puts-trans-and-queer-kids-at-risk-184804

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Shannon D. M. Moore

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba

Shannon D.M. Moore is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at The University of Manitoba. Prior to joining the faculty, Shannon was a social studies and English teacher in the public school system in British Columbia for 19 years. Shannon is a public education advocate, and a founding member of People for Public Education Manitoba (@PublicEdMB). Moore’s research interests include media and digital literacies in the social studies classroom, the impacts of online learning on teachers and teaching, and the impacts of neoliberalism on public education.

Stephen Hurley

Chief Catalyst voicEd Radio Canada

Stephen Hurley has spent nearly 40 years as an educator. He has experience as a classroom teacher, a curriculum consultant, a teacher educator and a policy observer. As the founder and chief catalyst at voicEd Radio, Hurley is passionate about nurturing stronger relationships between education research, practice and policy.