Sissies, Faggots, Lezzies, and Dykes: Gender, Sexual Orientation, and a New Politics of Education?
Keywords: Sexual orientation and schools; queer legal theory; politics of education; gender
Summary, key points, quotes:
Many areas of academic scholarship have tended to ignore these issues. Each of these deep structural features is intrinsic to the U.S. political culture. The lines around sexual orientation and gender can soften and harden depending on the current political environment we are in. Two of the most controversial political issues involving the U.S. public education have been gender and sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the gender-based violence people often face reflects long-standing legal, political, and cultural norms of what “real” men and women should be and how they should act. The Queer Legal Theory (QLT) is trying to establish a theoretical framework and an agenda for much-needed future research. QLT acknowledges many different ways “to be”. Since public schools are governmental entities ruled by laws, regulations, and policies those who teach, study, play, and otherwise live within a public school's walls are required to conform. Lugg defies politics broadly, “as a historical series of ever-shifting power relations, interactions, alliances, and conflicts between individual and collective actors.” It appears that Lugg is speaking to the general audience interested in these issues, as well as past, present, and future teachers in the public school community. Lugg searches for clarity in this article in how particular legal understandings of gender and sexual orientation shape nearly every aspect of public school life. Gender is defined as an ongoing, lifelong series of evolving performances and sex as a chromosomal state. It has come to Lugg’s attention that research is being less focused on the individual and more on the communal. The United States and the individual states bar sex discrimination, not gender discrimination. The problem is that, “the law has no mechanism to protect men from being fired if they act stereotypically female, although women have had legal recourse.” The article goes further to say that female teachers were not allowed to be married after the Civil War because if they were unmarried, then they were assumed to be nonsexual. Later, after WWII, male and female teacher now, were expected to eventually get married to prove they has the proper moral fiber to work with children. Most importantly is the story of Jamie, who was teased, threatened, bullied, abused physically and verbally by peers, teachers, and faculty of his public school. Given the climate of the era, students learned that to be queer was to be a sissy, a faggot, a lezzie, or a dyke. It unfortunately became the norm to say these things opening without a second thought, look, or scorn.
Points of interest:
- Difference of upbringing and era/generation. Today we are more open and accepting then people were just a generation ago.
- My roommate has a very literal interpretation of the Bible, my dad does not discriminate but simply asks where do be draw the line with acceptance and changing what the Bible and our Constitution says?
- This issue is very sensitive to the scrutiny, acceptance, and tolerance of may different people because of different backgrounds, beliefs, and upbringings.
- Gender is defined above as an ongoing, life long evolving things. Sex is chromosomal. There are many variations of the (X,X) female and the (X,Y) male genes. So we are never just truly female or male.
- I have a friend who is a male, likes girls, dresses like a man, but has a higher voice and expresses himself in a more feminine manner. He hangs out with a lot of girls, has never had a girlfriend, and would rather have a dog then a girlfriend. However, all that being said, he has hopes of marrying a female one day, having kids, and growing old with lots of grandchildren. This is of course all possible for a homosexual couple, but the point is that while he may seem to be a girly man, it does not mean that he likes men, or has any kind of sexual attraction to men. We often judge too quickly based on the typical "role of the man/role of the women" stigma we create.
- The case of Jamie, should be closely looked at and taken as an example of what should have never happened and what must never happen again. Discriminating against homosexuals is just as bad as doing it against Blacks, Hispanics, etc. His case is an example to all that this discrimination is not just upsetting people, it is physically ruining lives and whether we agree or disagree with homosexual rights, we as teacher must be open to all ways of living life within out classroom setting.