Disrupting Heteronormativity: What about the girls?

Year: 2004

Author: Charlton, Emma

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Currently in Australia a number of trends are interrelating to create an important moment in which the disruption of heterosexism, homophobia and anti-lesbianism can take place in schools. Through a combination of the rise in profile of sexuality and same-sex-attracted communities, the greater interest in issues of sexuality and schooling, and the interest in boys' education, some spaces are being presented in schools to address and disrupt heterosexism and homophobia. However, with the displacement of girls from the educational agenda as a result of the 'What about the boys?' discourse, spaces seldom exist to challenge anti-lesbianism and misogynist cultures in schools in the same ways that they do in relation to homophobia and hegemonic masculinities. This lack of space for challenging anti-lesbianism in schools was evident at a conference held in June 2001 that sought to raise awareness around issues of sexuality, schooling and homophobia, heterosexism and anti-lesbianism in schools. Whilst, the conference was successful on a number of levels, the emancipatory potential of this conference was undermined by a series of historical practices that denied difference and presented obstacles to the disruption of heterosexism and anti-lesbianism.