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Educators Queering Academia

Critical Memoirs

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Edited By sj Miller and Nelson M. Rodriguez

The memoirs in this collection represent a cross-section of critical reflections by a queerly diverse set of individuals on their experiences inhabiting a variety of spaces within the field of education. In their stories, the authors share how they queered and are continuing to queer the academy in relation to questions of teaching, research, policy, and/or administration. Their memoirs speak across generations of queer educators and scholars; collectively their work highlights an array of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. As snapshots in time, the memoirs can be taken up as archive and studied in order to gain perspective on the issues facing queers in the academy across various intersections of identities related to ethnicity, culture, language, (a)gender, (a)sexuality, (dis)ability, socio-economic status, religion, age, veteran status, health status, and more. By way of the memoirs in this volume, a richer body of queer knowledge is offered that can be pulled from and infused into the academic and personal contexts of the work of educators queering academia.
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Chapter Fourteen: Undone and (Mis)Recognized: Disorienting Experiences of a Queer, Trans* Educator

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Undone and (Mis)Recognized: Disorienting Experiences of a Queer, Trans* Educator

ERICH N. PITCHER

 

Laugh and cry and tell stories. Sad stories about bodies stolen, bodies no longer here. Enraging stories about the false images, devastating lies, untold violence. Bold, brash stories about reclaiming our bodies and changing the world.

—ELI CLARE, 1999, P. 60

Queer and trans* histories and memories are important because of the systemic erasure of our narratives. My stories are about being undone and (mis)recognized. Contained within these stories are traces of stolen bodies, bodies no longer here. Some of us were not meant to survive (Lorde, 1995). So I tell these episodic stories with all the privileges contained within my life’s history, a white, emerging middle-class, bourgeoning academic who is perceived as “male.” My femininity, and my being assigned female at birth, are often negated. This negation is usually attributed to my queerness because of transmisogynistic tropes like being a “man in a dress.” But my queerness is often visible, both recognized and (mis)recognized.

I am visible when walking my dogs in the early morning hours in my neighborhood, holding my partner’s hand. We are two men, queering the public space. But I am undone in moments when my genderqueer trans man partner and I go out to eat and the server balks at our desire for a single check. As if our...

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