Twenty-first century genders and sexualities: Implications for policy, education, representation and health

Photo by Norbu GYACHUNG on Unsplash

Professor Rob Cover (RMIT) presents the HRC/Gender Institute Annual Lecture on Gender

Twenty-first century genders and sexualities: Implications for policy, education, representation and health
The HRC/Gender Institute Annual Lecture on Gender

What does the twenty-first century emergence of new and alternative gender and sexual identities mean for policy, legislation, health and education if they critique the very foundations of how we talk about gender and sexuality today?

While masculine, feminine and (sometimes) transgender have been the traditional frameworks for describing gender identity, the past half-decade, the emergence among particularly young Australians of non-binary genders, new gender and sexuality labels, and new practices for everyday identity have resulted in—literally—hundreds of new gender and sexuality terms such as heteroflexible, asexual, homoflexible, sapiosexual, nonbinary, a-romantic, pansexual and many others that are meaningful to those who feel they describe their sense of selfhood.

This new ‘taxonomy’ of labels, categories and identity descriptors are both more expansive and more specific than either the traditional masculine/feminine and hetero/homo language that underpins policy protections, relationship practices, media inclusivity and diversity, how we conduct gender and sexuality research, and how we respond to inequalities, human rights abuses, and abusive behaviours.

This talk maps out the new language of gender and sexuality and how it has emerged, and the impact it has on a range of scholarship and everyday practices. Addressing the culture of online hostility and the framework of ‘cancel culture’ that disavows the new identities, the talk foregrounds new ways for incorporating diversity in policy, education, media and health.


Professor Rob Cover

Rob Cover is Professor of Digital Communication at RMIT University. Professor Cover's research focuses on gender and sexuality in the context of digital media, healthy bodies and social belonging.

Professor Cover comes to the ANU with an HRC-ANU Gender Institute Visiting Fellowship.

Date & time

Wed 31 Aug 2022, 5pm


Barton Theatre, Level 1 JG Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing


Professor Rob Cover (RMIT University)


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