Understanding heteronormativity and microaggressions in the work-integrated learning setting

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Abstract

Despite the expectation that work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences will provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for healthcare students this is often not the reality for sexually and gender diverse students. Heteronormativity and microaggressions experienced by sexually and gender diverse healthcare students, are rarely considered in the context of WIL. The experience of heteronormativity and microaggressions in the WIL setting requires sexually and gender diverse healthcare students to navigate disclosure decision-making in a power-laden context where all the available options carry potentially negative consequences, which should not be the case. This discussion paper explores the experiences of heteronormativity and microaggressions by sexually and gender diverse healthcare students, identifying the risks to this cohort. Heteronormativity jeopardizes the learning of healthcare students and their wellbeing, whilst also reinforcing deeply entrenched biases, in the form of norms about professionalism. Suggestions about how sexually and gender diverse students might respond are then presented.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Work-Integrated Learning
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 May 2024

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