Leadership, Gender and Culture in Education: Male and Female Perspectives

By John Collard; Cecilia Reynolds | Go to book overview

10 Transgressing
Heteronormativity in
Educational Administration1

James W. Koschoreck


Introduction

The overwhelming heteronormativity presumed in the field of educational administration poses challenges both for scholars and practitioners who strive to transgress the societal expectations that constrain the expression of sexually diverse populations. In this chapter, I use information gathered through personal interviews to examine multiple ways in which the normalization of sexuality might be interrogated. I argue that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered faculty and administrators can more effectively contravene the normalizing practices of heterosexism by refusing to remain silent about issues of sexuality. Additionally, I include some implications for practising researchers and administrators for those who are seeking to challenge the heterosexist norms.

In these first few years of the new millennium the voices of queer educational administrators and researchers continue to be muffled by the over- whelming bellowing of the heteronormative order.2 While it is undoubtedly true that an increasing number of LGBTQ3 issues are being discussed both at national and regional educational conferences and in scholarly books and journals, the marginalization of these topics means that students, teachers and administrators in the public schools continue to experience intolerable levels of discrimination and harassment as a result of their actual or perceived sexual differences. According to a recent study published by the Human Rights Watch (2001), verbal and sexual harassment of LGBTQ students occurs across the USA with alarming frequency. Furthermore, the failure of teachers and administrators to adequately address these issues of abuse and to provide supportive educational information leads to a hostile school climate that undermines the emotional stability of LGBTQ students and contributes to depression, alcohol and drug abuse, school drop-outs, risky sexual behaviours and elevated levels of suicide attempts (Human Rights Watch 2001: 68–76).

What follows is in essence a montage of my own experiences as an out, gay male academic, along with findings from interviews I conducted with a gay male educational administrator. Each of us has come to an understanding that sexuality matters, whether it is given explicit voice or silenced.

-143-

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