The second decade of the 21st century seems to be bringing with it a range of dramatic yet subtle changes to our society. For example, did anyone think that it would be legal to purchase marijuana in a smoke shop? Or that the selection process to send people to Mars would begin in earnest? Or that you could wear a pair of glasses that would project the Internet before your eyes? Or that same sex marriages would become a normal part of who we, our friends, and our families are?
It’s this latter category that Kevin Alderson says has created what he calls a new “sexual revolution.”
“The Internet and several societal changes in Canada over the past 10 years have led to both increased visibility and earlier ‘coming out’ experiences for members of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community,” explains the associate professor of counselling psychology in the Werklund School of Education.
Alderson says this new sexual revolution is a coming-out of sorts itself. “This once-silent movement is finding a loud and provocative voice, and the impact of this rapid shift is being felt in mental health practice,” he explains.
Many clinicians, however, have received little to no training in working with LGBT individuals. And Alderson, who focuses his research on human sexuality, says the changes in how society approaches LGBT issues have given rise to new sexual and gender identities that are not well understood.
Alderson discussed how he believes sexuality and gender are shifting for an ever increasing number of young people, when he gave a presentation called New Conceptions of Sexuality and Gender. He presented a provocative theory that he says he is still considering.
Alderson’s talk was part of the Engaging New Ideas in Education speaker series hosted by the Werklund School of Education.