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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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28. Hatred Haunting Hallways: Teacher Education and the Badness of Homophobia(s)

Introduction: On Badness

Extract

Chapter 28

Hatred Haunting Hallways

Teacher Education and the Badness of Homophobia(s)

Lee Airton

When you are targeted, it’s hard to know what to do. Sometimes I wrap myself in queer or psychoanalytic theory. I try to remember how we all suffer from gender- and heteronormative regulation, and that this is the transference (they do not hate me, they hate their own desire to break conformity, they hate the choices they have had to make against their desire). In so doing I can act with compassion; I can smile at staring children and say hello to glaring parents. I can approach gawking adolescents and warmly invite their questions. Humanizing myself is my best response. But sometimes I hide, behind a newspaper, behind a pillar. Sometimes I shut down and just go home. Sometimes I am rude or confrontational. A month ago I abruptly turned and walked towards a teenage couple who were following me in a subway station. They slowed and held each other, hiding their faces while I walked three slow circles around them and intoned “I see you…” on my last lap. We all have our ways of getting by.

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