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Supporting Transgender and Gender Creative Youth

Schools, Families, and Communities in Action

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Elizabeth J. Meyer and Annie Pullen Sansfaçon

Supporting Transgender and Gender Creative Youth brings together cuttingedge research, social action methods, and theory on the topic of transgender youth and gender creative children. Organized in three sections covering theoretical and clinical, educational, and community perspectives, the chapters specifically address issues and challenges in education, social work, medicine, and counseling as well as recommendations that are relevant for parents, families, practitioners, and educators alike. The result is a well-researched and accessible book that will provide support and knowledge to a broad audience of individuals invested in improving the social worlds of gender diverse children and youth.
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Chapter Seven: The Limitations and Possibilities for Teaching Transgender Issues in Education to Preservice Teachers

← 96 | 97 →CHAPTERSEVEN

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INTRODUCTION: TEACHING TRANSGENDER ISSUES IN EDUCATION

What does it mean to study a ‘fringe’ topic? To teach something that is not part of dominant discourses? For the equity educator who is interested in transgender or gender-nonconforming issues (and presents as gender privileged), it means that a lot of negotiation, personal reflection, and rethinking are all necessary work. Teaching for equity and social justice is an un-colonized terrain; teaching for and about transgender issues within an equity framework adds an extra layer of unknowability (Lather, 1991, 2008). In heteronormative understanding, issues of sexuality garner more public attention while gender is subsumed within sexuality or even fades into oblivion. More often than not I deliver introductory sessions on transgender issues. For various ideological and political reasons, transgender is still a new frontier in education. For now, it might be enough to reflect not on the reasons why transgender issues are not integrated in teacher preparation programs in Ontario in particular or in Canada as a whole, but instead on what we can do given the limitations especially within the framework of equity and social justice.

In this chapter, I reflect on three pedagogical approaches in my experience teaching about or for transgender issues—if not also teaching to be critical of othering and privileging (Kumashiro, 2000)—in the preservice education program ← 97 | 98 →(Bachelor of Education) replete with the limitations of each approach. To reflect on the relevance of these approaches for preservice teachers (teacher candidates), I think...

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