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Gender and Sexualities in Education

A Reader

Series:

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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25. The African Dance Program: “Where Is the Love?”

Introduction

Extract

Chapter 25

The African Dance Program

“Where Is the Love?”

Lance T. McCready

This chapter was previously printed in Making Space for Diverse Masculinities, by Lance T. McCready (Peter Lang, 2010).

One day, while Kevin and I were walking to class, we caught the attention of some students in a nearby building who were inexplicably hanging out of an upstairs window. At first I ignored them, then I realized they were armed with water balloons. Before I could warn Kevin, a rain of multicolored water-filled balloons began whizzing by our faces, splattering on the pavement in front of us. A couple of balloons hit us on the legs, bursting and wetting our socks on impact. I grabbed Kevin’s arm and hurried us along into the doorway of an adjacent building. When we got to the doorway we looked at each other in disbelief. I had had a taste of what it was like to experience Parkwood High School in Kevin’s gender-nonconforming shoes, rather than in my own more conventionally masculine ones. The experience was unsettling and left me thinking about what it was like to live day-to-day as a target of discrimination.

The two students I discuss in this chapter, Antoine and Kevin, performed their masculine gender identities in nonhegemonic ways by virtue of the fact that they were effeminate and openly identified as gay (Connell, 2005). Because they were gender nonconforming, they were routinely harassed by their...

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