André P. Grace
In this chapter I would like to challenge you in two particular ways. First, I invite you to explore possibilities for learning outside the hetero-normative box. By this I mean that I would like you to journey beyond familiar ways of knowing, seeing, thinking, and acting to explore queer cultural studies as a counter-cultural and political way of reading what Freire (1998) calls “the word and the world.” In my work I use the word “queer” to name lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, the transgendered, and transsexuals. I also use it to represent how w/e 1 act in this world. For me, the word queer names and represents my identity and difference. Like many other queer persons, I take back the word from homophobes who use queer as a derogatory word to assault my integrity, and I use it to engage in linguistic jousting with them. This engagement interrogates hetero-sexist language and meaning, and it questions hetero-normative boundaries to being and acting. From this political perspective, some of us embrace queer as a powerful word. However, Others in our community refuse to use the word, and even feel that it excludes them. For them, queer neither names nor represents who they are or how they act in the everyday. The debate over such naming and representation is a vital and ongoing one in our loosely configured queer community. It is an important part of a politics of identity and community formation that is concerned with the intricacies of queer being and acting.
Of course, you will only get a capsular view of queer cultural studies and its possibilities for transgressing “mainstream” adult educational space within the limits of this essay. However, should you choose to journey further along this revealing culture-and-power terrain, a rich and substantial queer literature in cultural studies and other academic discourses can be found in inclusive libraries