Past SaGR Research Projects

Diversity and Safety on Campus @ Western

The initial aim of this research was to investigate the experiences of sexuality and gender diverse (SGD) staff students at Western Sydney University. Through its inclusion of non-SGD and SGD staff and students, this research is better able to address not only the concerns raised by SGD staff and students, but also the cultural norms that shape all staff and students’ engagement with diversity generally, and sexuality and gender diversity in particular. Thus, this study examines Western’s climate for SGD individuals, as well as the services available to them. It offers recommendations for Western to develop strategies for maximising the inclusion and safety of SGD individuals across its campuses. Funded by Western Sydney University, (Vice-President (People and Advancement); School of Social Science & Psychology; School of Education). Find the report here.

Researchers: Tania Ferfolja, Nicole Asquith, Brooke Brady & Ben Hanckel

Keywords: sexuality and gender diversity (SGD); LGBTQI+; tertiary education; equity; discrimination; campus climate

‘Game to Play?’ Exploring the experiences and attitudes towards sport, exercise and physical activity amongst same sex attracted and gender diverse young people

Research highlights that same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people (SSAGD) are at significantly greater risk of mental ill-health than their cisgender peers, largely due to discrimination, bullying and prejudice based on homophobia and transphobia they experience on a daily basis in families, in schools, at work, in the health care system, in sports, and in the broader community more generally. This pilot study, conducted with same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people (SSAGD) aged 12-24 in NSW was conducted in order to contribute to positively addressing the increased inclusion of SSAGD young people in sport and physical activities. The research was undertaken by Western Sydney University (WSU) in collaboration with Twenty10 incorporating Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service NSW (GLCS).

Young SSAGD people in this research experienced numerous forms of discrimination in sport and exercise, but especially in PE at school. It is critical that steps are taken to address the violence and discrimination that SSAGD young people experience in sport and exercise environments, including tackling homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and heterosexism.   The sporting sector can help make a difference to the health and wellbeing of SSAGD young people by providing equitable and safe access for every young person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. If young people have positive and affirming experiences in exercise, sport and PE, this can lead to healthy lifelong habits around sport and exercise, and can inspire a new generation of people to play sport.

Keywords: sport; youth; sexuality and gender diversity (SGD); LGBTQI+;

Researcher: Ryan Storr, Kerry Robinson, Lucy Nicholas, Cristyn Davies, Anneke Collison

Redressing the Promotion Gap: Practices and programs to minimise gender disparities in academic advancement

This project reviewed the literature on innovative domestic and international practices designed to improve the promotion rates of women in academia, assessed current promotion policies and gender equity initiatives at WSU, and compared WSU with other institutions in the sector. The methods used were a comparison between WSU promotions policy and procedures documents and those at two other institutions, interviews with senior women academics at Western Sydney University and interviews with both internal and external members of the Western Sydney University Academic Promotions Committee. Funded by a VC Gender Equality Grant.

Researchers: Kate Huppatz, Cris Townley, Nida Denson, Peter Bansel,

Development and piloting of a menstrual health literacy program for women aged under 25

This project examined the experiences of and knowledge around menstrual health in young women. Funded by Kimberly-Clark Australia Pty Ltd / Western Sydney University.

Researchers: Mike Armour, Kathryn Holmes, Caroline Smith, Freya Macmillan, Tania Ferfolja, Christina Curry

Keywords: dysmenorrhea; menstrual pain; menstruation; girls; women; health literacy

Growing Up Queer: Issues Facing Young Australians Who Are Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse 

This pilot project, conducted with young people who identify as gender and sexuality diverse, was undertaken during 2012-2013. It was a collaborative project involving academics from the University of Western Sydney – Professor Kerry Robinson, Dr Peter Bansel, Dr Nida Denson, and Dr Georgia Ovenden; two external consultants with expertise in filmmaking, script writing and performance – Cristyn Davies and Elena Knox; and Twenty10 – a Young and Well CRC supporting partner, located in Sydney, New South Wales. Twenty10 is an organisation focusing on those needing support around identity issues associated with gender and sexuality diversity. This pilot research aimed: (i) to gain an understanding of the experiences of young people who identify as gender variant and sexuality diverse across a broad range of issues such as identity, health and wellbeing, education, technology, and access to services; (ii) to work creatively and collaboratively with a group of these young people to begin to develop innovative, relevant and engaging resources based on research findings that would contribute to increasing professional and community awareness of their experiences and needs; and (iii) in the development of these resources, to provide this group of young people with a valuable and socially engaged experience of documentary-style video production using hand-held technologies – in this case, iPods. Find the report here.

Researchers: Professor Kerry Robinson, Dr Peter Bansel, Dr Nida Denson, Dr Georgia Ovenden and Cristyn Davies

Keywords: sexuality and gender diversity (SGD); LGBTQI+; youth; identity; health and wellbeing; education; technology; access to services