Article | Confero: Essays on Education, Philosophy and Politics | Radical heterosexuality: Straight teacher activism in schools : Does ally-led activism work?

Title:
Radical heterosexuality: Straight teacher activism in schools : Does ally-led activism work?
Author:
Leigh Potvin: Faculty of Education, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
DOI:
10.3384/confero.2001-4562.160614
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Year:
2016
Volume:
4
Issue:
1
Pages:
9-36
No. of pages:
28
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2016-06-27


The vast majority of schools in Canada are dominated by unsafe spaces and experiences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth 1 who continue to experience higher rates of suicide, depression, isolation, harassment/bullying, and self-harm compared to their straight peers2. Gay/Straight Alliances (GSAs) and other LGBTQ-inclusive groups exist in schools with the goal of mitigating and working against homophobia. Most often in Ontario (Canada), straight teachers lead these groups3. Because of the pervasive role straight teachers play in GSAs and other anti-homophobia initiatives in schools, there is a practical need to analyze the role and experiences of straight teacher ally activists working with LGBTQ students and the overall effectiveness of anti-homophobia efforts under their purview.

Here, I explore the efficacy of straight teacher allies, the importance of understanding straight privilege, and the significance of radical heterosexuality for straight people doing LGBTQ activism. Relying on queer theory and decolonizing/Indigenous queer theory, I argue that it is necessary for straight teachers to acknowledge their straight privilege in order to challenge homophobia’s companions: heterosexism and heteronormativity. In addressing the latter two covert forms of oppression in schools, teachers and students could shift into deeper, more effective resistance measures.



Volume 4, Issue: 1, Article 2, 2016

Author:
Leigh Potvin
Title:
Radical heterosexuality: Straight teacher activism in schools : Does ally-led activism work?:
DOI:
10.3384/confero.2001-4562.160614
References:

Battiste, M. (2005). You can’t be the global doctor if you’re the colonial disease. In. L. Muzzin & P. Tripp, (Eds.), Teaching as activism (pp. 121–133). Montreal, QC: McGill-Queens University Press.

Battiste, M. A. (2013). Decolonizing education: nourishing the learning spirit. Saskatoon, SK: Purich Publishing.

Bishop, A. (2013). Tools for achieving equity in education. Becoming an ally. July 31, 2013. http://www.becominganally.ca/Becoming_an_Ally/Home.html

ishop, A. (2002). Becoming an ally: Breaking the cycle of oppression in people. London, UK: Zed Books.

Blount, J. M. & Anahita, S. (2004). The historical regulation of sexuality and gender of students and teachers: An intertwined legacy. In Rasmussen, M.L., Rofes, E., & Talburt, S. (Eds.), Youth and sexualities: Pleasure, subversion, and insubordination in and out of schools, (pp. 63–84). New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan. DOI: 10.1057/9781403981912_4

Britzman, D. P. (1995). Is there a queer pedagogy? Or, stop reading straight. Educational Theory, 45(2), 151–165. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-5446.1995.00151.x

Bryson, M., & Castell, S. de. (1993). Queer pedagogy: Praxis makes Im/perfect. Canadian Journal of Education / Revue Canadienne de L’éducation, 18(3), 285–305. DOI: 10.2307/1495388

Callaghan, T. D. (2007). Contra/Diction: How Catholic doublespeak in Canadian Catholic secondary schools furthers homophobia. Canadian Online Journal of Queer Studies in Education, 3(1).

Delpit, L. (1988). The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other people’s children. Harvard Educational Review, 53(3), 280-298. DOI: 10.17763/haer.58.3.c43481778r528qw4

Driskill, Q.L., Finley, C., Gilley, B., Morgensen, S.L. (2011). Introduction. In Driskill, Q.L., Finley, C., Gilley, B., Morgensen, S.L. (Eds.), Queer Indigenous studies: Critical interventions in theory, politics, and literature (pp. 1-31). Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

EGALE Canada. (2011). Every class in every school: Final report on the first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools, Full Report. Ottawa, ON: EGALE Canada.

Eichler, M. (2010). Joining the family: Experiences of being and becoming ally activists of LGBTQ people. Journal of Transformative Education, 8(2), 89-102. DOI: 10.1177/1541344611406904

Eyre, L. (1993). Compulsory Heterosexuality in a University Classroom. Canadian Journal of Education / Revue Canadienne de L’éducation, 18(3), 273–284. DOI: 10.2307/1495387

Finley, C. (2011). Decolonizing the queer Native body (and recovering the Native bull-dyke): Bringing ‘sexy back’ and out of Native studies’ closet. In Driskill, Q.L.,

Finley, C., Gilley, B., Morgensen, S.L. (Eds.), Queer Indigenous studies: Critical interventions in theory, politics, and literature (pp. 32 - 42). Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality, Vol. 1. New York, NY: Random House.

Freire, P. (1968/2011). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: NY, Continuum International Publishing Group.

Freitag, M. (2013). A queer geography of a school: Landscapes of safe(r) spaces. Confero: Essays on Education, Philosophy and Politics1(2), 123-161. DOI: 10.3384/confero.2001-4562.13v1i21b

Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). (2011). The 2011 national school climate survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in our nation’s schools.

Goldstein, S. B., & Davis, D. S. (2010). Heterosexual allies: A descriptive profile. Equity & Excellence in Education43(4), 478-494. DOI: 10.1080/10665684.2010.505464

Griffin, P., & Ouellett, M. L. (2002). Going beyond gay-straight alliances to make schools safe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. Angles: The Policy Journal of the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies6(1), 1-7.

Halperin, D. M. (1997). Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography. London, UK: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195111279.001.0001

Jones, A. (1999). The limits of cross-cultural dialogue: Pedagogy, desire, and absolution in the classroom. Educational theory49(3).

Kitchen, J., & Bellini, C. (2013). Making schools safe and inclusive: Gay-Straight Alliances and school climate in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 146 (1), 1-37.

Kumashiro, K. K. (2000). Toward a theory of anti-oppressive education. Review of Educational Research, 70(1), 25–53. DOI: 10.3102/00346543070001025

Kumashiro, K. K. (2004). Against common sense: Teaching and learning toward social justice. New York, NY: Routledge.

Lapointe, A. A. (2015). Queering the social studies: Lessons to be learned from Canadian secondary school Gay-Straight Alliances. The Journal of Social Studies Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jssr.2015.07.004

Malmquist, A., Gustavson, M., & Schmitt, I. (2013). Queering School, queers in school: An introduction. Confero: Essays on Education, Philosophy and Politics1(2), 5-15. DOI: 10.3384/confero.2001-4562.13v1i21g

Margaret, J. (2010). Working as allies: Winston Churchill fellowship report.

Meyer, E. (2007). “But I’m Not Gay”: What Straight Teachers Need to Know about Queer Theory. Queering straight teachers: Discourse and identity in education, 15–29.

Morgensen, S. L. (2011). Spaces between us: Queer settler colonialism and Indigenous decolonization. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816656325.001.0001

Ngo, B. (2003). Citing discourses: Making sense of homophobia and heteronormativity at Dynamic High School. Equity &Excellence in Education, 36(2), 115–124. DOI: 10.1080/10665680303513

Nicholls, R. (2013). Que(e)rying my Teacher Identity. Journal of LGBT Youth, 10(4), 388–393. DOI: 10.1080/19361653.2013.825202

O‘Conor, A. (1995). Who gets called queer in school? Lesbian, gay, and bisexual teenagers, homophobia, and high school. In Gerald Unks (Ed.), The gay teen: Educational practice and theory for lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents (pp. 95 - 101). New York, NY: Routledge.

Oyewumi, O. (1998). Making History, Creating Gender: Some Methodological and Interpretive Questions in the Writing of Oyo Oral Traditions. History in Africa25, 263-305. DOI: 10.2307/3172190

Pascoe, C. J. (2007). Dude, youre a fag: Masculinity and sexuality in high school. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Rasmussen, M. L. (2004). Safety and subversion: The production of sexualities and genders in school spaces. In M. Rasmussen, E. Rofes, and S. Talburt (Eds.), Youth and sexualities: Pleasure, subversion, and insubordination in and out of schools (pp. 131-152). New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan. DOI: 10.1057/9781403981912_7

Rasmussen, M. L., Rofes, E., & Talburt, S. (2004). Introduction: Transforming discourses of queer youth and educational practices surrounding gender, sexuality, and youth. In M. Rasmussen, E. Rofes, and S. Talburt (Eds.), Youth and sexualities: Pleasure, subversion, and insubordination in and out of schools (pp. 1-16). New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan. DOI: 10.1057/9781403981912

Rich, A. (1980). Compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence. Signs, 631-660. DOI: 10.1086/493756

Rofes, E. (2004). Martyr-target-victim: Interrogating narratives of persecution and suffering among queer youth. In M. Rasmussen, E. Rofes, and S. Talburt (Eds.), Youth and sexualities: Pleasure, subversion, and insubordination in and out of schools (pp. 41-52). New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan. DOI: 10.1057/9781403981912_3

Root, E. (2009). This land is our land? This land is your land: The decolonizing journeys of white outdoor environmental educators. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 15, 103-119.

Russell, G. M. (2011). Motives of heterosexual allies in collective action for equality. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 376–393. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01703.x

Schneidewind, N., & Cathers, K. (2003). Becoming allies for each other: An inclusive approach for confronting heterosexism in schools. Equity & Excellence in Education, 36(2), 184–193. DOI: 10.1080/10665680303511

Sensoy, Ö., & DiAngelo, R. J. (2012). Is everyone really equal?: An introduction to key concepts in social justice education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Short, D. (2013). Don’t be so gay!: Queers, bullying, and making schools safe. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Thomas, C. (2000). Introduction: Identification, appropriation, proliferation. In Thomas, C. (Ed.), Straight with a twist: Queer theory and the subject of heterosexuality (pp. 1 – 44). Chicago: IL, University of Illinois Press.

Tompkins, J. (2002). Learning to see what they can’t: Decolonizing perspectives on indigenous education in the racial context of rural Nova Scotia. McGill Journal of Education, 37(3), 405–422.

Walton, G. (2006). H-cubed: A primer on bullying and sexuality diversity for educators. Our Schools, Our Selves 15(2), 117- 126.

Wotherspoon, T. (2004). The sociology of education in Canada: Critical perspectives. Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press.

Volume 4, Issue: 1, Article 2, 2016

Author:
Leigh Potvin
Title:
Radical heterosexuality: Straight teacher activism in schools : Does ally-led activism work?:
DOI:
10.3384/confero.2001-4562.160614
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
Citations:
No citations available at the moment
Export in BibTex, RIS or text