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CGWS Open Seminars (Lunchtime)
Date: 3 December 2008 Time: 1.00- 2.00 pm
A seminar to be given by Emily Gray , Educational research
Bowland Nth SR 14
Title: "I'm not ashamed of being gay; it's a completely natural thing for me to be": Coming out/staying in, the complexities of lesbian gay and bisexual teachers' experiences.
A major theme of my ongoing PhD research into lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) teachers' experiences is the continual narrative process of coming out. This paper discusses the implications of coming out as LGB given queer theory's project of opening up identity categories as contestable sites of knowledge, politics and meaning (Seidman, 1996). Although I acknowledge that it is vital that we continue to challenge the validity of identity categories as meaningful descriptors of people, I think that it is also important to engage with the roles that identity categories play in the lives of LGB people. It is arguably particularly important to do this within institutional contexts such as schools.
It is posited here that there is often little space within schools for LGB teachers to articulate the complexities of existing as a lesbian, gay or bisexual person because such identities are ignored, misunderstood and/or scandalised by other staff and/or pupils. Such injury contrasts with the lives of LGB teachers outside of their profession, where social networks of resistance, understanding and pride are often in place. In addition, the way in which some of the LGB teachers interviewed are able to resist the heteronormative discourse and to challenge the discursive production of the heterosexual/homosexual binary within school is explored, as well as the way in which coming out intersects with the politics of location.
Queer theory has been criticised for reading the lived experiences of people as texts. This paper asserts, however, that a critical queer/feminist framework enables an interrogation of the discursive constructs that impact upon the lives of participants as teachers and as lesbian, gay or bisexual people.
Who can attend: Anyone
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