07 SES 08 A, Gender Identities and Education
Although educational studies have a long past in denouncing asymmetrical relations of access to resources, rights and full equality within the school, the truth is that the non-heterosexual young boys hardly are conceptualized as valid educational subjects or object of inclusive practices, appearing only in Psychology as victims (Rasmussen et al, 2004). The arrival of the multi/intercultural discussions in portuguese education did not contemplated sexual diversity and school education has been lived a cultural tension with the theme of (homo)sexual identity and orientation (Britzman, 1995), even nowadays it's possible to watch some micro-projects that express civic concerns against homophobic bullying (“It Gets Better”; “Inclusion”).
The reinvidication of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people for equal rights, as an expression of "sexual citizenship" (Lees, 2000) against a past of social injustice, has acquired, worlwide and in late decades, high visibility in media. In the educational field, although sex education in Portugal includes sexual orientation as a non-discriminatory criterion, cases of homophobic violence in schools tend, nationally (Pereira, 2009) and internationally (Pascoe, 2007), to persist. Internationally UNESCO report, entity connected to European Union – an ambiguous context of advances and simultaneous deficits around LGBT rights – elucidates that 70% of young european students (gay or not) affirm to be victims of this type of bullying. The European LGBT survey, elaborated by European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2013), suggests that educational policies against bullying in all european countries must be stimulated in future.
The bullying, particularly the homophobic one, profoundly affects young students who does not fit in gender and/or sexual norms, in the perception of themselves as "human beings" and a wide understanding of “ways of living that count as «life»” (Butler, 2011: xxiv), even as their educational relations – engagement, achievement, commitment and opportunities of success – and make them fall into gradual processes of disaffection and early school leaving (Caldas et al, 2012). The (homophobic) bullying does not only compromises the fundamental basic and human right to education as it also makes the public school respond as a democratic and safe place from violence, its historical equalitarian project of social justice and inclusion and the possibilities of citizenship that allows gay young people to be recognized as equal citizens.
This article is inspired by a survey conducted in a Master Research (Santos, 2013). I was interessed in tracing the expressions of homophobia in school panorama and the juvenile maneuvers to resist to it. I argued that homophobia is constitutive of masculinity discourses of school that tend to valorize heterosexuality as a capital. The survey also revealed a lack of educational discussion on the topic of homosexuality in curriculum and pedagogies and that "often silence people with different sexual orientations." (Santos, Fonseca & Araújo, 2012: 42). Nevertheless, the construction of sense of belonging to the cultures and gay communities (associations, coffee shops and bars) seems to be a young conciliatory prosecution with social (in)justice. The margins can represent here some possibilities for openness and social change (hooks, 1990).
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