Under Pressure: The Regulation of Sexualities in South Africa Secondary Schools


Deevia Bhana

Publisher: MaThoko's Books
Publication date: 2014
ISBN: 9781920590581
Format: paperback

Currently Under Pressure is out of print, a copy is available for viewing in the Gala Library

This is a groundbreaking study of the persistent prejudice and violence against LGBT people in South African school systems. Gala has produced a deeply important testament to the importance of empirical evidence as fuel for transformation in the South African context, and a powerful call to action that is part of a mounting effort globally to disrupt the perpetuation of anti­LGBT bias in schools around the world.
– Eliza Byard, PhD, Executive Director, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

As powerful sites of social transformation, schools are crucial in the fight against discrimination and inequality. But are South African schools meeting their constitutional requirements in relation to sexual diversity? Are they working to create positive and affirming spaces for lesbian and gay learners?

Under Pressure is the first multi­school study to answer these and many more questions. Drawing on in­depth interviews with learners, teachers, school managers and parents, the book offers a compelling portrait of an education system rife with homophobia. It provides a detailed account of how school communities understand and respond to homosexuality, and in doing so uncovers a persistent culture of enforced heterosexuality.

But Under Pressure also offers a way forward. It reveals an enormous potential for diversity programmes and identifies a number of entry points for change. Most importantly, it shows that all of us – teachers, parents, school managers and policy­makers – have a role to play in combating homophobia.

Under Pressure is compulsory reading for anyone interested in education, policy, social justice, gender equality or sexual rights.