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Gender and Sexualities in Education

A Reader

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Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson

This volume is about the education of gender and sexualities, which is to say it explores how gender and sexuality identities and differences get constructed through the process of education and «schooling». Wittingly or not, educational institutions and educators play an important role in «normalizing» gender and sexuality differences by disciplining, regulating, and producing differences in ways that are «intelligible» within the dominant or hegemonic culture. To make gender and sexuality identities and differences intelligible through education is to understand them through the logic of separable binary oppositions (man-woman, straight-gay), and to valorize and privilege one normalized identity within each binary (man, straight) and simultaneously stigmatize and marginalize the «other» identity (woman, gay). Educational institutions have been set up to normalize the construction of gender and sexual identities in these ways, and this is both the overt and the «hidden» curriculum of schooling. At the same time, the «postmodern» times in which we live are characterized by a proliferating of differences so that the binary oppositional borders that have been maintained and policed through schooling, and that are central to maintaining highly inequitable power relations and rigid gender roles, are being challenged, resisted, and in other ways profoundly destabilized by young people today.
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14. Failing Progress: Changes in School Climate for LGBT Youth Over Time

Anti-LGBT Remarks Over Time

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Chapter 14

Failing Progress

Changes in School Climate for LGBT Youth Over Time

Joseph G. Kosciw, Emily A. Greytak, & Mark J. Bartkiewicz

Schools reinforce and reproduce the inequities found in larger society (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977), such that they serve to maintain existing power structures related to sexuality and gender. Specifically, schools produce and reproduce heterosexuality as the only “normal” and viable option (Kehily, 2002), while simultaneously reinforcing rigid gender norms that marginalize those who do not conform to the strict, binary system of gender (Connell, 1996). Anyone who falls outside these “normative” constructs of sexuality and gender—such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth—is subject to violence, discrimination, and marginalization. Thus, it is no surprise that LGBT students report high rates of in-school victimization (Berlan, Corliss, Field, Goodman, & Austin, 2010; Harris Interactive & GLSEN, 2005; Kosciw, Greytak, Bartkiewicz, Boesen, & Palmer, 2012), including sexual harassment and physical assault (Bochenek & Brown, 2001; CDC, 2011; Gruber & Fineran, 2008). This anti-LGBT bias not only manifests itself in direct attacks on LGBT students, but it also becomes part of a school’s “hidden curriculum” (Jackson, 1968), perpetuating the invisibility and marginalization of LGBT people through both formal and informal structures (Walton, 2005). Official policies such as the lack of formal protections for LGBT students in anti-bullying policies or explicit limitations on discussion of LGBT issues, along with everyday practices of educators, including omissions of LGBT people in classroom curricula...

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