Philosophical perspectives on lesbian and gay issues in education in a democratic society
The three central assertions of this thesis are: (1) that there are no moral grounds for the belief that lesbian and gay sexualities are inferior to heterosexualities, (2) that lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and heterosexuals are equally valuable and worthy of respect as autonomous human beings with life plans of their own which they have the right to pursue, as long as they do not harm others, (3) that a philosophically informed rationale for arguing for lesbian and gay equality is required in today's aspiring democracies. The concepts of personal autonomy, participatory democracy and the democratic virtues are familiar themes within the Philosophy of Education. This thesis brings these themes to bear on the question of the place of lesbian and gay issues within a democratic education system. In doing so, it places the oppression of lesbians and gays within the broader context of the oppression of other members of the democratic community. It examines these complex and diverse powers of oppression with the aid of philosophical literature and with reference to the philosophical concepts of personal autonomy and participatory democracy. In the light of the previous discussions, philosophical skills, concepts and literature are employed to develop a critique of the educational policies of the British government in the 1980s and 90s and offer alternative policy suggestions based on more adequate accounts of human nature and social values. Finally, both the manner in which education should be controlled, and the form and content of education within a democratic state are critically examined.