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Critical Pedagogy, Sexuality Education and Young People

Issues about Democracy and Active Citizenry


Edited By Fida Sanjakdar and Andrew Kam-Tuck Yip

Critical Pedagogy, Sexuality Education and Young People presents cutting-edge empirical and theoretical research on the role of critical pedagogy in transforming sexuality education. Featuring the work of scholars from around the globe, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Finland, this unique collection of work expands the meaning of pedagogy in the field of sexuality education by augmenting young people’s voices and agency, and by emphasizing a democratic and civic focus. This volume identifies and interrogates theoretical frameworks based on critical theory and critical pedagogical discourses, cross-cultural studies and critical literacy to offer new ways to conceptualize critical pedagogy in sexuality education. Many of the practical classroom applications presented will engage educators and classroom teachers in the areas of curriculum design, classroom pedagogies and institutional reform. They can also be applied to the formulation and implementation of more effective policies for sexuality education involving schools, community groups and students. The chapters in this volume interrogate texts, institutions, social relations and ideologies impacting contemporary sexuality education policies and pedagogical practices, prompting a consideration of alternative models of sexuality education for today’s globalized age.

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10. It’s a Family Affair—Queering Relations: Closets, Communities and ‘I’ (Mark Vicars)


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10. It’s a Family Affair—Queering Relations: Closets, Communities and ‘I’


Introduction: Coming Out of the Straight and Narrow

As a favourite fictional character of mine, the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, pointed out: “It’s sad, believe me missy, when you’re born to be a sissy, without the vim or verve” (Wizard of Oz, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). I have written elsewhere about the heresy of growing up as a ‘sissy boy’ (Rofes, 1995) in a working class family in a small Northern town in England in 1980s (Vicars, 2008, 2012, 2015) and how I quickly learned the utility of ‘spinning a good story’ or as Father put it “telling lies”. My counter re/narrations of everyday life, were on reflection, psychic interruptions to the hetero-norming and storming logic of everyday life through which I endeavoured to mount “a structural defense against an increasingly chaotic world” (Roof, 1996, p. xxxi).

Not being or behaving like other little boys only ever further sought to complicate and confound. My father would often tell me how ‘When I was your age I could jump a five bar gate, was the best fighter in the school-yard and could kick a football for miles’. Never very good at lying, I was constantly betrayed by my interests and expressions: my closest friends were all girls, I was not remotely interested in football, couldn’t fight and all associated ephemera that signified hetero-gendered...

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