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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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32. Some of Us Are Brave: A Review of the Research on the Experience of Black LGBT Professors in Colleges and Universities in the United States

Introduction

Extract

Chapter 32

Some of Us Are Brave

A Review of the Research on the Experience of Black LGBT Professors in Colleges and Universities in the United States

Sheltreese D. McCoy

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.

—Audre Lorde

In 1982, Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith sought to name or give expression to Black1 women’s studies in their groundbreaking anthology, All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies. In their introduction, Hull, Scott, and Smith (1982) stated, “Black women could not exist consciously until we began to name ourselves” (p. xvii). They went on to point out that the process of naming was the necessary starting point for the growth of Black women’s studies, for by naming themselves, Black women were able to speak to their unique experiences of gender and racial oppression. This process of naming is doubly difficult for individuals who bear identities that are fixed and unfixed at the same time. On the one hand, scholars have argued that race is a permanent social construct with material consequences (Brondolo, Gallo, & Myers, 2009; Harrell, 2010; Love, David, Rankin, & Collins, 2010). On the other hand, queerness as a social construct is commonly based on liminality, instability, and fluidity. What are the personal and professional implications of having...

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