Heteronormativity In Education

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Throughout history the Canadian education system has been utilized as a means to instil societal values and reproduce cultural norms. Researchers have referred to this phenomenon as the hidden curriculum (Jay, 2003). This hidden curriculum serves to secure the privilege of the dominant culture while subsequently marginalizing minority individuals. Normative discourses of gender and sexuality are promoted to students through the process of socialization. The process of constructing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals as deviating from the heterosexual norm is referred to as heteronormativity. Furthermore, the implication that heterosexual orientations and relationships are normal and superior to those …show more content…
The perpetuation of heteronormativity in educational institutions silences, excludes, and erases sexual minority and gender variant students and faculty (Macintosh, 2007). There are several avenues through which schools reinforce the status of heterosexuality as being normal and natural. This occurs mainly through the process of gender socialization and the construction of minority sexual orientations as inferior (Walton, 2004). Ways in which heterosexuality is validated in education include placing the focus of sex education classes on pregnancy and straight sexual mechanics; pervasive discourse on heterosexual teenage relationships; the feature of heterosexual relationships in media images, fictional stories and textbook representations; and the heterosexual dominance of school events such as school dances and proms (Walton, …show more content…
There has been a growing general concern about school safety and the bullying of students that has resulted in important political openings. However, the political, institutional, cultural and social pressures that reproduce dominant gender and sexuality discourses sustain caution among educators—even those who believe that change is crucial (Rayside, 2014). As a result safe schools policies, public discussions and anti-bullying programs have continuously excluded the issue of homophobia (Walton, 2004). Bullying typically refers to a relation of power between one or more individuals over another with repetitive attacks that are intended to harm (Walton, 2004). However, the power of heteronormativity has largely been ignored. LGBTQ students are subject to accusations of deviance, stigmatization, social invisibility, and marginalization while discussion on these subjects is taboo and often prohibited (Walton, 2004). Students who do not conform to dominant constructions of gender and sexuality are subject to a pervasive threat of

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