For this week’s learning experience with LC 2, we were assigned the reading of, “But I’m Not Gay”: What Straight Teachers Need to Know about Queer Theory”, as it was written by Elizabeth J. Meyer. There were many ideas throughout the article that Meyer explains and elaborates on. One theme she explains is the discriminatory line between the female and male gender roles in school curriculums. She explains the gender ideology by giving examples like male and female kissing booths, girls in school given barbies to play with while the boys are given toy trucks and male superhero characters, and in general stereotyping their interests and behavior off of their given sex. Also, teachers have based their disciplinary actions and set expectations off of genders, such as which are considered “normal” and/or stereotypical. The author, Elizabeth Meyer’s, talks about lived experiences through the studies she has researched about the hidden, sexist ideology in curriculums that basically teach these kids what is so-called “normal” and encourages kids, and adults, to hide their expression.
Another theme that Elizabeth Meyer’s brings up in her writing is that gendered harassment between kids at schools for the people not “acting” how they are supposed to, dressing their gender, or simply just their behavior, can lead to horrendous long-term effects. The long-term effects of such gendered harassment are, but not limited to, increased feelings of depression, lowered self-esteem, the greater risk to experiment and get addicted to drugs and alcohol and above all, the greater risk for suicide.
After reading this article, a plethora of questions arose in my mind about gender norms, stereotypes, gay and lesbian inequality, and more. The first thing that popped in my head, which I made into a discussion in class, was the dress code in schools, mainly public schools that do not require uniforms. In the learning experience today, I discussed the very unequal dress code standard for boys and girls. I made a connection back to my past high school where, in our school agendas, there was listed the dress code for girls and boys separate. The girls list for what not to wear was absurdly long whereas the boys had a few bullet points which said something along the lines of “appropriate message shirts”.
The message the dress code tells students is that, obviously, there are standards for genders but what is more important is that this system of telling the students of the school, especially the young women, that what they wear defines them and could be deemed “inappropriate” when shouldn’t what you be wearing be a right, like freedom of speech and expression? This topic goes along with the idea of “slut-shaming” young girls while in an education facility where learning should be the number one priority. It was very interesting to hear my classmate’s opinions and views on this because it is a universal experience and again, especially for the women and young girls, to be shamed for wearing something to may be too revealing or too short in the. Hopes of not pulling boys attention in school, where they should be focusing on the teacher and the board.
I also want to touch on the subject of Richard’s part in the learning experience where he explained the GSA clubs that are present in some schools, like John Carroll University, and how they encourage inclusivity and educate students on the LGBTQ+ community. I thought it was quite interesting to hear some personal experiences from our fellow classmates on their previous schools GSA clubs. One person explained how this club was well funded and well known in the school but there was a stigma on the club where if a student joined, they would automatically be labeled as “gay” or “lesbian” which then discouraged kids that identified as heterosexual to join the club in worries they may be made fun of.
In this week’s learning experience, the themes we chose to emphasize was the gender stereotyping of kids in schools and the effects of not learning about LGBTQ education within schools, as it is an everyday experience for some people. Also, emphasizing these themes make the matter more well-known and more visible to people as they are called “hidden ideology”. We wanted our classmates to learn more about the issues that are still happening today and to also connect it back to their personal experiences to then further their values and hopefully take these steps into consideration for when they, possibly, become teachers and educators in the future. My contribution to the lesson planning was to read the article at hand and examine it further to then explain it to the class and then go onto share my own interpretations of it. My responsibility for teaching the unit was to explain the main points of Meyer’s article and create critical thinking for my classmates to then go into a group discussion with questions that I made.
Meyer, E. (2007). “But I’m Not Gay”: What Straight Teachers Need to Know about Queer Theory. In N. Rodriquez & W. Pinar (Eds.), Queering Straight Teachers: Discourse and Identity in Education. (pp. 15-32). New York, NY: Peter Lang.