Preface by Paul Willis
This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
14 Moving an Anti-Bullying Stance Into Schools: Supporting the Identities of Transgender and Gender Variant Youth
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Classrooms today contain students whose identities are constantly shifting and evolving. Often it is the teacher who lacks the embodied knowledge or social expertise to navigate new terrain when teaching students whose identities fall outside of teachers’ social, historical, political, and/or gendered networks. Understanding transgender (T) and gender variant and/or gender non-conforming (GV) youth and how to support their burgeoning identities in schools through both curriculum and policy, pose particularized challenges for teachers as they encounter how mythologized gender norms are deeply embedded in the social fabric of schools. Teachers today are being challenged with how to reconcile a binary-gendered past with an ever-evolving, non-binary present and the myriad gendered identities and complex realities of today’s students. An unfortunate reality that walks in the shadow of understanding the students’ shifting gendered selves is that any deviance from the norm (Miller, 2012) often brings on bullying behavior. This chapter discusses how school-wide policies impacting the school environment, an anti-bullying stance, and queering pedagogy can impact the classroom environment and generate a positive and affirming educational climate for TGV youth.
According to the 2009 GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) National School Climate Survey, secondary students who are either LGBTQ or gender variant and/or non-conforming—e.g., those students whose behaviors, mannerisms, expressions, and gender roles, and/or those whose appearance, whether through clothing, makeup, height, size, or weight, is non-conventional—accrue the worst bullying statistics in schools today. I highlight and hone in on their bullied statistics, because...
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