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Gender and Sexualities in Education

A Reader


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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23. A Philosophy of Sexual Reciprocity for Secular Public Schools of Toronto

A Negative and Prohibitive Curriculum That Excludes


Chapter 23

A Philosophy of Sexual Reciprocity for Secular Public Schools of Toronto

Jair Matrim

In a brief analysis of surveys, census reports, policies, and curriculum, it will be first demonstrated that the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) policies for equitable, anti-heterosexist, and anti-homophobic curriculum become stymied because students and sex are routinely treated as subjects of moral control in schools. I use both an understanding of sex as a discourse, situated in the works of Michel Foucault (1978/1990), and the Deleuzian-Spinozist (Deleuze, 1988) distinction between morals and ethics to address how to substantively intervene in rigid patterns of heterosexist exclusion and negative discourses of sex at the TDSB. In particular, the distinction between morals and ethics provides a framework that can help explain how our power to act in our lives can become augmented and diminished in our social relations, and how different discourses of sex can work to persecute, enslave, or also empower students. As a result, comprehension of the distinction between morals and ethics is proposed to help increase the potential for school curriculum to reciprocate with students’ learning needs, support the free and autonomous organization of desire, and promote the possibility of a democratic, inclusive, pluralistic, and secular society.

In the year 2000, the TDSB adopted the Equity [Policy] Foundation Statement & Commitments to Equity Policy Implementation (TDSB, 2000). This policy sought to create anti-heterosexist, anti-homophobic, and social-equity policies that worked to include minoritized sex and gender identities...

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