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Queer Generations: Belonging and sexual citizenship among gender and sexual minority youth


Something like one in four young Australians 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 in 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 well-being as their heterosexual peers.

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?

This Australian Research Council supported project aims to answer some of these questions. It incorporates 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 16-25 years old in 1995, and their counterparts twenty years later aged 16-25 years growing up today.

The study, which is led by Scientia Professor Peter Aggleton, is being conducted in partnership with the Australian National University (Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen), Deakin University (Dr Daniel Marshall) and the University of Western Australia (Associate Professor Rob Cover). UNSW team members include Associate Professor Christy Newman and Dr Toby Lea.

Team Members

Scientia Professor Peter Aggleton


Scientia Professor Peter Aggleton, Practical Justice Initiative

Associate Professor Rob Cover


Associate Professor Rob Cover, University of Western Australia

Dr Toby Lea


Dr Toby Lea, Centre for Social Research in Health

Dr Daniel Marshall


Dr Daniel Marshall, Deakin University

Associate Professor Christy Newman


Associate Professor Christy Newman, Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW

Professor Mary-Lou Rasmussen


Professor Mary-Lou Rasmussen, Australian National University


For further details, see

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