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Queer Cultural Studies in Adult Education

A brief overview of Chapter 18: "Using Queer Cultural Studies to Transgress Adult Educational Space" from Making Space: Merging Theory and Practice in Adult Education spruced with a foreword of the Heterosexual Questionnaire

Justin Riddler

on 2 September 2010

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Transcript of Queer Cultural Studies in Adult Education

Chapter 18:
Using Queer Cultural Studies to Transgress Adult Educational Space

Presentation By: Justin Riddler
AdultEd 6417 - Dr. Isaac
Fall 2010 The Heterosexual Questionnaire
Dr. Martin Rochlin - 1972 What do you think caused your heterosexuality? When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual? Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of? Could it be that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex? If you’ve never slept with a person of the same sex, how can you be sure you wouldn’t prefer that? Isn't it possible that all you need is a good homosexual lover? To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react? Why do heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyle? Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be what you are and keep it quiet? Would you want your children to be heterosexual, knowing the problems they’d face? A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual men. Do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual male teachers, pediatricians, priests, or scoutmasters? With all the societal support for marriage, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals? Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex? Considering the menace of overpopulation, how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual? Could you trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective? Don’t you fear s/he might be inclined to influence you in the direction of her/his own leanings? Heterosexuals are notorious for assigning themselves and one another rigid, stereotyped sex roles. Why must you cling to such unhealthy role-playing? With the sexually segregated living conditions of military life, isn’t heterosexuality incompatible with military service? How can you enjoy an emotionally fulfilling experience with a person of the other sex when there are such vast biological and psychological differences between you? How can a man know what pleases a woman sexually or vice-versa? Shouldn’t you ask your far-out straight cohorts, like skinheads and Jesus-freaks, to keep quiet? Wouldn’t that improve your image? Why are heterosexuals so promiscuous? Heterosexuals have histories of failure in homosexual relationships. Is is possible you turned to heterosexuality out of fear of rejection? How can you hope to actualize your God-given homosexual potential if you limit yourself to exclusive, compulsive heterosexuality?
There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that might enable you to change if you really want to. After all, you never deliberately chose to be a heterosexual, did you? Have you considered aversion therapy or Heterosexuals Anonymous? BUT FIRST... Umm... The reading? Justin? Actually this is all related... Heterosexism Subverse means of rendering non-heterosexuals invisible, by means of omition, distortion, biases or hostility in language, symbolism or behavior Ex: hospitals, blood-donation, adoption, school teachers, McDonald's Happy Meal toys, expectant mothers, censorship, marriage, DADT, etcetera... How Heterosexism affects Heterosexuals (ironically, having to give this explanation is, in itself, a form of heterosexism) [T]hrough heterosexism, any male who refuses to accept the dominant culture's assignment of appropriate masculine behavior is labeled early on as a "sissy" or "fag" and then subjected to bullying. Similarly, any woman who opposes male dominance and control can be labeled a lesbian and attacked. The potential of being ostracized as homosexual, regardless of actual sexual attractions and behaviors, puts pressure on all people to conform to a narrow standard of appropriate gender behavior, thereby maintaining and reinforcing our society's hierarchical gender structure. *Franklin, Karen (1998). "Inside the Minds of People Who Hate Gays" Retrieved Sept 1, 2010 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/roots/franklin.html So what sets heterosexism and queer-discrimination apart from other multi-cultural issues? What makes this a unique situation to address? Browning, p262:
"[Queer peoples] are the most 'other' of all 'others,' historically excluded as unnatural even by other excluded peoples" According to Powell (p264), communication is the key to education, and anything that opposes communication (ie: lying, prejudice, ignorance, anger and fear) are thus directly opposed to education And, as stated, education has been the caretaker of heterosexism in the United States, with the outlawing and censoring of queer presence in schools under the heterosexist belief that queerness is a threat to children (p265) Treating the Infection of Heterosexism Answer = Education Treating the Infection of Heterosexism Answer = Education / Answer = Visibility Alan Yang's research in 1998 shows a steady climb in support of queer persons since 1970 within the realm of tangible civil liberties, which he attributes to the tactics of visibility and comming out started after the Stonewall Riots in 1969 (p260-261) A more recent examination in 2010 of polls over popular opinion on the issue of gay marriage since 1988 seems to support Yang's research: *http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/08/opinion-on-same-sex-marriage-appears-to.html However, Yang also notes that since 1970, dissapproval of queer persons on moral grounds has dramatically increased, creating a paradox within his research (p261) Our chapter author, Andre Grace, contributes this with an increased blurring of the religious and the political pointing out that Yang's research also indicates an increased disdain of queer persons by conservatives while an increased tolerance occured in moderates and liberals (p261) IMO: It becomes innappropriate for us to blame continued heterosexism and descrimination on the religious-right or to exclude ourselves from blame. Heterosexism is deeply ingrained into American culture and is kept allive through the ignorance of the common man; thus it becomes the duty of the educated and enlightened to take up arms against discriminatory practices and to reveal heterosexism to those blinded by it. As Yang's research indicated, simply knowing a queer person is associated with increased tolerance and knowledge of queer issues. Only through visibility can the barrier of heterosexism be broken, and education begin. And while the religious-right, as Grace points out, is the greatest opposition to queer persons and greatest supporters of institutionalized heterosexism, I quote the reverend John Witherspoon:

"There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our [rights], we at the same time deliver the conscience to bondage" What other forms of heterosexism can you think of? Grace, A. P. (2001). Using Queer Cultural Studies to Transgress Adult Educational Space. In V. Sheared & P. A. Sissel (Ed.), Making Space: Merging Theory and Practice in Adult Education (pp. 257-270). Westport, CN: Bergin & Garvey.
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