The failure of antihomophobia education : embracing the hope of an impossible future (2013)
In recent years academic attention, educational resources and popular media have turned to the issue of homophobia in schools and the violence facing LGBT youth and those perceived to be LGBT. Consequently there has been an increase in the development of curricula and other pedagogical tools meant to address the problem of homophobia. Yet there has been very little qualitative data exploring the success of these pedagogies, or the implications and efficacy of these programs for LGBT students.This qualitative extended case study addresses this analytical gap through an examination of the media and educational discourses employed by one urban community organization in Vancouver, Canada and the youth filmmakers with whom they work. The organization, Out in Schools, takes film, much of it youth produced, into educational settings throughout British Columbia in the hopes of breaking the silence surrounding gender and sexual diversity. In addition, they run a one-week filmmaking camp for aspiring youth filmmakers. This project utilises a number of ethnographic methods including participant observation, face-to-face interviewing, and researcher fieldnote reflections. Participants include adult facilitators, teachers, and youth filmmakers. Interviews took place over a three-year period. The theoretical framework for this research is largely poststructural drawing extensively from queer and feminist theories. As part of this project’s theoretical investigation, I juxtapose the voice of queer youth and queer youth media production alongside the larger narratives of queer and neoliberal politics.Analysis revealed that the messaging of antihomophobia education has influenced and limited the ways in which Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer youth are able to articulate queer identities. This study concludes that antihomophobia education is largely a normative project, that it is wholly implicated in discourses that arise from heteronormativity, informed by liberal understandings of individualism that invariably identifies the queer victim as a way of negating responsibility. Lastly, through a synthesis of data and analysis, I investigate the future of queerness within educational discourse, and drawing upon the work of Muñoz (2009), Duggan (2002, 2009), Bruhm & Hurley (2004), Bryson and MacIntosh (2010), I advance a notion of queer futurity in educational spaces.