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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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34. Multiple Targeted Identities: Intersectionality and the Lived Experiences of Black Gay Males

Literature on Black Gay Males


Chapter 34

Multiple Targeted Identities

Intersectionality and the Lived Experiences of Black Gay Males

James M. DeVita & Allison Daniel Anders

In this chapter, we engage the everyday politics of navigating multiple targeted identities using the conception of intersectionality put forth by Kimberlé Crenshaw (1991a, 1991b, 1995), whose work centers around race and the law. The application of Crenshaw’s conception of intersectionality provides for dialogic exchanges about gender and sexuality, as well as opportunities to critique the ways social and institutional power target multiple subordinated identities. We represent Crenshaw’s articulations of intersectionality and apply her conception to research completed with Black male undergraduates who identify as gay.

We first introduce context and scholarship on race and sexual orientation. We present then Crenshaw’s work on structural, political, and representational intersectionality, and argue for analysis that privileges the lived experiences of targeted groups, rather than abstract theorizing about targeted groups (Abu-Lughod, 1991; Noblit, 1999). Crenshaw’s (1991b) commitment to interrogating systemic issues and patterns of social power, and her analyses of interactional disenfranchisement and disempowerment devote attention to the everyday lived experience of targeted groups. Ultimately, she argued for institutional and political changes that acknowledge the interactional experience of race and gender; we argue that “in the pursuit of political and structural equity one must consider the intersectionality of targeted individuals” (Anders, DeVita, & Oliver, 2012, p. 72). We investigate the application of her work in the illustrative scholarship that follows. Finally, we...

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