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Transgression and the Situated Body: Gender, Sex, and the Gay Male Teacher.

Rofes, Eric

Abstract: This paper begins by examining representations of gay male school teachers in discourses produced by gay men, illustrating the ways gay men represent themselves in public discourse. The literature is reviewed for answers to questions about the role of the gay male teacher in education and the responsibility of the gay male teacher to gay liberationist politics while working as an educator. Events from the author's own classroom are used to illustrate dilemmas he has faced as a gay male college teacher and ways he has responded. Ways are then suggested within discourses on gender, the body, and sexuality that offer opportunities for gay male teachers to recognize their potential contributions to the field of education and the lives of children more fully. The review of the literature shows that the personal narratives of gay male teachers reveal the tradeoffs lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are forced to make as they move in the public sphere. Many gay men maintain sharp divides between their sex lives and classroom lives. They usually face the choice between a committed couple relationship and desexualized behavior. There is really no room for a type of gay male identity that acknowledges the value some gay men place on the erotic. Questions that the teacher may encounter include: if the teacher believes that there are many diverse and ethical ways for people to structure their social and sexual practices, is it acceptable to affirm this in the classroom?; and, if the teacher believes in casual, nonmonogamous sex, what responsibility does he have toward gay male students? Questions the gay male teacher faces in classroom situations and other encounters with students have implications for democratic education and social change. (Contains 22 references.) (SLD)

Title: Transgression and the Situated Body: Gender, Sex, and the Gay Male Teacher.
Author: Rofes, Eric
Note: 28p.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Diego, CA, April 13-17, 1998).
Publication Year: 1998
Document Type: Project Description (141); Conference Paper (150)
Target Audience: Practitioners
ERIC Identifier: ED423332
This document is available from the ERIC Document Reproduction Service.

Descriptors: Educational Philosophy; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; * Homosexuality; * Males; Minority Groups; Personal Narratives; * Sex Differences; * Teacher Student Relationship

Identifiers: Discourse; *Homosexual Teachers

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