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Ashley Hurst
Professor Shahani
WST 485
Final Research Paper
Queering Children through Queering The Classroom
This paper will be exploring the dynamics of elementary schools and how they have an

impact on queer children, cis children, and how this institution overall encourages the ubiquitous

heteronormativity that is prevalent throughout society and perpetrates violence and

discrimination towards the LGBTQ community, as the majority of individuals in the U.S. attend

elementary schools and are influenced by them either consciously, subconsciously, or both, as

this institution commonly encourage heteronormativity and discourages queer children. I will be

using the theoretical frameworks of growing sideways, backward birthing, queer space, and

queer time as a means to explain how spaces such as elementary schools are in need of queering.

I will also be using research relating to gender in elementary school spaces specifically, as well

as my personal experiences in the classroom as a way to support my claim of why elementary

schools are in desperate need of queering. I will then apply this information to how as a future

educator I will use this knowledge to transform my classroom into a safe space for everyone and

educate the students in my classroom on gender identity and expression.

First of all, the issue of forcing heteronormativity on children through a multitude of

gender roles and social expectations (in which is common practice in elementary schools)

correlates with the conventional idea that children are “growing up” as opposed to another term

Stockton argues for called “growing sideways”, as she elaborates on in her article Growing

Sideways or Why Children Appear to Get Queerer in the Twentieth Century. Stockton states that

“If you scratch a child, you will find a queer in the sense of someone “gay” or just plain strange”
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(Stockton 1), meaning that children naturally do not necessarily identify with these confining

heteronormative gender roles or expectations, rather it is forced upon them in order to fit into

society and be seen as if they are “growing up” in a “normal” or acceptable way. In regards to

her argument against using the term “growing up” and advocacy for the term “growing

sideways”, she states, “Hence, growing up may be short-sighted, limited rendering of human

growth, one that oddly would imply an end to growth when full stature (or reproduction) is

achieved. By contrast, “growing sideways” suggests that the width of a person’s experience or

ideas, their motives or their motions, may pertain at any age, bringing “adults” and “children”

into lateral contact of surprising sorts” (Stockton 11). She adds on to this by explaining that

adults in general (including teachers) typically do not even consider the possibility that children

can be queer. This assumption is extremely detrimental to children who are queer, as they feel

like they socially do not belong and that they’re not “growing up” in the way that they should be.

Not only do children have extreme expectations to meet as they “grow up”, society also tells

them when they are allowed to have various life or sexual experiences. One example of a space

in which queer children are not typically accepted and are influenced to “grow up” is elementary

schools, as heteronormativity is perpetuated in a multitude of ways, in which will be critiqued in

this paper. Stockton explains the consequence of forcing heteronormativity and the emphasis

society puts on “growing up” for queer children by defining this experience of “backward

birthing”, in which individuals later on in life decide to challenge and defy these gender roles

and expectations they have been biologically and socially assigned and “come out” as the sexual

identity they feel represents themselves, in which they have suppressed since childhood due to

the harsh consequences of not conforming in society. This experience according to Stockton

could feel as if they’re being born again, as their childhood identity was assigned for them and
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that their life experience of growing was not linear, rather their experiences were unique and not

defined by said conventional ideas of growing.

This issue of heteronormativity influencing children through the educational institution

during the time of childhood and spaces such as elementary school classrooms also applies to the

framework of queer space and time explained by Halberstam in her article Queer Temporality

and Postmodern Geographies. He describes the meaning of queer space and time by

stating“….that queers use space and time in ways that challenge conventional logics of

development, maturity, adulthood, and responsibility” (Halberstam 13). All of these steps in

development are viewed as in other words simply a part of “growing up”, which is how these

two issues and frameworks are interconnected. Spaces such as elementary schools and the time

of childhood are important to critique because they have immense control and influence over

children’s identities and how they view the world. Individuals are very much restricted during

the time of childhood because children are depicted as not being mature or responsible enough to

make important decisions and schools are spaces in which purpose is to “push children in the

right direction” and comply to the norm. The space of schools can be very much detrimental to

queer children as they commonly perpetrate heteronormative gender roles and exclude or

endanger the queer child through expressing their identity in forms such as bathroom

discrimination, appearance guidelines, and various other forms of violence or discrimination.

This directly correlates to a point made by Halberstam in this article in which she discusses how

conventional time and space, as well as queer time and space have a lot of cultural and political

influence (Halberstam 4). Furthermore, Halberstam explains, “hegemonic constructions of time

and space are uniquely gendered and sexualized” (Halberstam 8). Schools should not have the

intention of forcing heteronormativity on children with a social or political agenda through the
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social construction of gender; therefore elementary schools must be queered. Children need to

feel comfortable expressing themselves freely however they feel fit in spaces such as elementary

schools, as opposed to feeling tremendous pressure to conform conventional logics of time

through “growing up” or in other words, growing into heteronormativity.

According to the article Gender Stereotypes Children's Perceptions of Future

Compensatory Behavior Following Violations of Gender Roles “studies have shown that children

quickly acquire cultural stereotypes, particularly about the appropriate social roles for men and

women” (Hughes and Seta 685). This study focused on 5th grade students in which were given a

list of traits, actions, and occupations and asked to respond to them by associating them with a

certain gender with the choices being typical of men, typical of woman, or typical of both men

and woman. The results showed that both girls and boys at the early age of 11 already have

preconceived notions and stereotypes in regards to what is “normal” for one to do based upon

their gender, but they found that the girls were slightly more flexible in their answers, while the

boys reacted more stereotypically (Hughes and Seta 689). These stereotypes and ideas that

children hold at such young ages are incorporated into the classrooms and have an impact on

classroom environment. The article Kissing Brides and Loving Hot Vampires: Children’s

Construction and Perpetuation of Heteronormativity in Elementary School Classrooms examines

multiple diverse ethnographic elementary schools and discusses classroom environments and

how they perpetrate heteronormativity in which often go unnoticed and without concern of

teachers or parents. Not only does this article focus on the influence that teachers have on

perpetrating heteronormativity through forms of whole class instruction, but the author also

discusses observations among peer activities in the classroom that feed off of the idea as

heterosexuality being desirable. Through the collection of data Ryan concluded that, “not only
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do sex and sexuality circulate in elementary schools, but also the widespread presence of

normative notions of (hetero) sexuality constructed and perpetuated through children’s

interactions makes classrooms heteronormative spaces. In these settings, students learn from

each other that people are – and should be – straight, with those who do not conform positioned

as somehow ‘other’” (Ryan 78). One particular observation she made involved a group of three

students in which were playing together. One of the children announced “you may kiss the bride”

as the other two (one being a girl and the other being a boy) proceeded to pretend to kiss each

other in this act of role playing. The same scenario was observed by groups of other children in

which same-sex role playing was belittled and protested by the students, solidifying the

normative and preferred status of heterosexual coupling and constructing same-sex sexuality as

forbidden and undesirable (Ryan 80). Although observations such as these may not appear to be

problematic to the majority of teachers and parents, Ryan states, “What often goes unrecognized,

however, is that this kind of game and its resulting humor are built on a foundation of shared

knowledge and assumptions about sexuality and, more specifically, the language, attractions,

behaviors and religious rituals of heterosexuality” (Ryan 76). Another observation made in this

study is the common phrase of “that’s so gay” used by students as slang for describing something

that is bad, therefore creating the association that to be gay is a negative thing, which is highly

detrimental and influential to children’s ideas regarding homosexuality and queer idenities (Ryan

80). These are just a few examples she provides showing how the way in which children

perceive sexual identity and sexuality are defined in the space of school, as being heterosexual or

queer would make you a target as “the other” among your other childhood peers. Another issue

she brought up was the lack of alternative perspectives challenging heteronormativity presented

in the classroom. She provides examples of instructional time spent on children listening to
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stories with solely heterosexual characters, writing sentences involving heterosexual

relationships only, drawing heterosexual families, most interestingly would assign non-fiction

animal characters a gender, resulting in creating a heterosexual animal family, and the existence

of predominately heterosexual extra-curricular clubs ran by the schools, such as in this case a

club endorsing and allowing girls to obsess over hot vampires such as Edward in the Twilight

book series” (Ryan 82). This one perspective instructional trend is very problematic because it

excludes queer children or even children belonging to queer families, as it ignores their existence

in the classroom, as well as automatically assigns children who may identify as queer in any

form in the category of feeling like they do not belong among their peers, like they are less

valued, their is something wrong with them, and that they are not “growing up” in a normal way.

Therefore, they are restricted to conforming to the norm and suppressing any possibility of

having a queer identity as mentioned earlier by Stockton and are likely to experience “backward

birthing” as a result of the non-accepting and exclusive classroom environment.

In another article, I Feel Like A Girl Inside: Possibilities for Sexual Diversity in Early

Primary School, Stafford, a teacher and author of this article, describes a scenario of a child who

was assigned a girl at birth, but declares that she wants to be a boy and does not want to play

fairies with the other girls and is forced into wearing a dress to school on picture day by parents.

As opposed to this student socially isolated themselves from peers, the child expressed

themselves openly and challenged gender roles and various forms of heteronormativity in the

classroom. For example, Stafford explained the scenario of the student approaching her with the

issue that the other kids were playing a game called “boys chase girls” which was very much

gendered. The teacher asked the child what they should do about that and the child brilliantly

thought that they could change the game so that one team was called the “chasing team” and the
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rest of the children were on the other team, allowing any gender to play any part. The students

went along with this plan without complaint (Stafford 10). This brings up the issue as to why

everything always has to be gendered and our often lack of associating scenarios such as this to

be gendered and problematic. The fact that this 7 year old caught onto the idea that gender roles

are social constructs and can easily be altered in order to make things inclusive for every group

shows how intelligent and queer children can be in the sense that they sometimes think outside of

societal norms and critique them. In opposition to this, society depends on this gender binary

greatly and this issue regarding how many adults would not catch onto this kind of scenario as

being socially constructed; rather the majority of adults would simply see this kind of gendered

play as natural. This scenario influenced Stafford to partake in a study in which involved

working with a teacher, doing observations, interviews, etc in a kindergarten classroom to learn

more about gender and the space of schools. The teacher she worked alongside, “described the

pressure she had felt from colleagues to incorporate a binary, gender-difference approach into

her teaching, and she also described her hesitation to do this as she did not want to engage in

stereotyping” (Stafford 21). During this specific study, Stafford witnessed heterosexuality being

incorporated daily into curriculum by this teacher and only observed homosexuality referred to

once when the class discussed anti-bullying and what it means to be homophobic. Although this

teacher had good intentions when attempting to explain to her students that it’s okay to be gay

and that homophobia will not be tolerated in the classroom, it is problematic that the teacher

brought this topic up on this special anti-bullying day, as opposed to ever incorporated queer

identities into the curriculum often, as queer children would not see themselves represented

(Stafford 20). During her fieldwork in the classroom, a child named Duncan expressed feelings

towards wanting to be a girl to the teacher and began partaking in more feminine actions such as
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drawing pictures of girls in dresses or dressing up in feminine clothing and tiaras. Duncan began

to feel isolated from peers because of his sexual expression and in response the teacher read a

book to the class about a boy who wore pink to school and challenged the gender stereotype that

boys cannot like pink through a group discussion. Stafford responded to this observation by

stating, “Margaret’s focus on children knowing and advocating on behalf of themselves provided

a template that supported Duncan’s shift away from mocking traits deemed “feminine” as this

self-perpetuated repudiation was causing distress. However, the pedagogy did not provide for

larger change within the classroom and school” (Stafford 27). In other words, reading this book

was a step in the right direction, however, more needs to be done in order to make large scale

changes on how children view others. In the article Real Lives, Relevant Texts: A Survey of B2G

Children Counternarratives, Davis argues that literature in the classroom can be a useful tool for

teaching children diverse perspectives and a way in which children can gain empathy for others.

Davis explains queer texts can be used to fulfill common core standards and explains,”To date,

the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted by 42 states in the United States

and the District of Columbia. With the outcome of college and career readiness, the CCSS

require all schoolchildren to interact with 70 D. E. Davis a range of texts. To ensure students’

future success they must appreciate and “come to understand other perspectives and

cultures…from widely divergent… diverse experiences and perspectives” (Common Core State

Standards Initiative, 2015). Group discussions and literature are good ways to incorporate issues

of gender and diversity in the classroom and create an overall more positive learning

environment, as it allows children feel as if they can be themselves freely, therefore combating

the need to express their sexual identity and come out later in life as common practice discussed

in Stocktons piece.
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The documentary Valentine Road shows the harsh reality in which a person might feel

the need to conform to gender and sexual norms, for fear of being discriminated against to the

point of murder. This documentary discusses the story an 8th grader named Lawrence King who

was a gender non conforming person of color. Lawrence expresses his sexual identity to peers

openly through wearing girl’s clothes, make-up to school, and even asking another boy to be his

valentine, whom he had a crush on. Previous to his murder, their were 22 documented

complaints of abuse on Larry that resulted in him being taken out of his home and being adopted.

Once he had a solid support system at home and began to feel better about himself, he began to

come out to the rest of society. Lawrence King was murdered in the classroom during a unit on

tolerance simply for being different, as his murderer was the boy he asked to be his valentine and

just so happened to be transphobic and involved in white supremacy. This documentary shows

figures that supported this child’s sexual expression, but also shows very harsh reactions to this

child and his death, as some people shown in the film use his sexual expression for justification

for his murder. The documentary states the statistic that, “80% of teenagers whom are coming

out say that they do not have one adult in the school that they consider to be supportive or

helpful in any way” (Valentine Road). This emphasizes the need for having teachers that are

empathetic and willing to support children who are different, as well as shut down discrimination

of any kind. One teacher shown in this film specifically talks about how she told Lawrence that

he needs to not express himself and keep his identity private. The school also made Larry wipe

off the make-up he wore to school on specific occasions, which I found to be very

discriminatory. Brandon’s girlfriend also made the astounding statement that: “Coming to school

dressed like that, you’re making a big statement,” implying that his abnormal appearance and

expression justified his murder. Surprisingly, the teacher that actually supported Larry was
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removed from the school and forced to work at Starbucks instead and people were wearing

bracelets that were in support of Brandon, the murderer, to be set free. I was very appalled and

devastated by this documentary as some people showed no remorse or value towards Larry’s life

and felt more empathy towards Brandon. Regardless, this supports my argument in that the social

settings of schools are spaces in which both teachers and peers actively discriminate against the

appearance of LGBTQ students or students of color. Because of this, Stockton’s framework

holds up because students could potentially be afraid to transition or express in fear of violent

and discriminative responses including telling them what they can wear to school, which

bathrooms they can use, bullying by peers, violence, and even the possibility of murder,

therefore, students may decide to just blend in with everyone else, as opposed to standing out

like Larry did.

Through my experience working in classrooms thus far, I have certainly observed

scenarios similar to what this research has summarized in regards to classrooms being highly

sexualized and gendered environments. Once a week, I attend Franklin Elementary school and

work in a first grade classroom. A few weeks ago, I watched as a girl from the class ran up to the

teacher and explained to her that she was upset because someone had just asked if she was a boy

or girl. This girl has short hair, therefore does not conform to the conventional beauty standard of

girls having long hair, therefore I assume this is why someone asked her this, despite the fact that

this justifies the question whatsoever. My teacher responded by stating, “You’re girl, so just tell

them that you’re a girl if they ask you that.” I thought that it was a simple way of explaining to

the child that you’re who you are and that you shouldn’t let other peoples opinions matter to you,

which is good in theory, however children are very self conscious already and influenced greatly,

therefore I think this might have impacted the child more than the teacher might have thought as
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she responded to it like it was no big deal. I think as a teacher it would be important to possibly

pull the child aside and have a conversation with her in regards to a situation like that because

what if the child didn’t identify with being a girl? This response would have a very different

meaning as it would solidify that the child is confused and that she needs to conform to her

identity given at birth. Going off of this, although I realize that teachers have very hectic jobs

and so much to manage that it is sometimes hard to give students the proper acknowledgements

they need, I noticed that whenever girls are upset and cry in the classroom my teacher seems to

respond to it more than she does to the boys, perpetrating the stereotype that girls are socially

allowed to be emotional, while boys should suppress their feelings and only express anger or

aggression if they do express emotion. Today specifically, as the children were walking back into

the classroom from recess, one of the boy students was crying and my teacher responded to him

simply through ignoring his emotions and telling him to put his coat away and then come back

and sit on the carpet as it was routine. It is obviously unrealistic to have children in your

classroom that are always perfectly happy, however, I think that the children’s well-being should

be the teachers first priority always before learning because you never know why a child is

crying unless you ask. The boy could have been crying about falling and scraping his knee for all

I know, but what if it had been more serious like for example involving another child bullying

him in which would have a lasting influence on the way he perceives himself and what is

normal? Another incident that occurred today was a comment that a boy made to me defining the

disabled children at the school as “weird.” This came up in conversation between the first grader

and I when we were walking into the lunchroom together and I asked where their class normally

sits for lunch. We arrive at the table where the rest of the class is sitting down and he simply

states: “We sit here and the weird kids sit at that table.” While getting out my lunch I questioned
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him in regards to what he meant by that comment and for the purpose of finding out who these

children he categorized as weird were. He went on to explain that one kid talks funny and began

mocking his speech, to which I told him that he might have a disability and that’s why he might

not speak normally. The child then agreed with me and said “he does have a disability and that’s

where the disabled kids sit.” Astonished that he was so open to defining an oppressed group at

the school as “The Other” by calling them weird I was a little bit caught off guard, but I still

managed to explain to him that he shouldn’t refer to them as that and that it’s simply not nice or

accepting of them. These are just a few examples I felt were worth mentioning as they clearly

show how important one’s experience in the time frame of childhood in spaces such as schools

are and how they shape how these children view themselves and the world around them.

As a future teacher, I will apply this research for the purpose of making children more

mindful, empathetic, culturally responsive, and overall educated on issues involving diversity

and differences in hopes of making the future world a better place. As I have previously

mentioned, children often are influenced by what takes place at school and look up to their

teachers as mentor figures, therefore it’s incredibly important to be to be mindful of what I am

teaching to students and how I portray myself as a supportive figure. When thinking of the type

of teacher I aspire to be, I would much rather be a teacher that succeeds at teaching children how

to be good people in which involves the teaching of morals such as the acceptance of differences

and unity among one another than be a teacher who’s students have the highest test scores. I will

take on a queer eye pedagogical stance as Davis refers to in which the teacher disrupts and

challenges gender norms in the classroom both when observing peers interacting with one

another, as well as through including curriculum that disrupts heteronormativity. It is immensely

important to include curriculum that involve diverse groups from various perspectives such as
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people of color, queer students, disabled students, etc. so that they are represented and respected,

as opposed to devalued or simply ignored. I would also take a “gender-affirming” type of model

as explained by Serano in which children have the ability to explore their genders in my

classroom, as it will be a safe space where children will not feel the pressure to conform and

suppress who they are for the purposes of appearing as if they’re “growing up” in a normal way

that conventional society would approve in. One way that I think this goal of allowing students

to express themselves can be reached is through creating a positive relationship with students and

classroom bond. This can be done in a variety of ways such as interviews, student of the day,

show and tell, journals, etc. where students have the time and space to express themselves on a

personal level to the classroom if they see fit. Through getting to know your students and

allowing them to know each other well, you’re able to possibly find out about any hardships

students may have going on, as well as the overall dynamic of their lives so that you can be

aware of how you can personally help students emotionally and mentally. You may not even

discover that you have a queer child in your classroom unless you take the time and effort to get

to know all of your students and their unique backgrounds and needs. Lastly, allowing students

in the same space and same time frames of their lives a pathway to friendship is essential

because this gives them the opportunity to relate to one another, as well as learn about the

differences they may have, resulting in more cultured and empathetic students.
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Annotated Bibliography:

Cunningham, Marta, Sasha Alpert, Eddie Schmidt, and Michael Orendy. Valentine Road. ,
2014.

 This tragic documentary shows the murder of a 15 year old gender non-conforming
student named Lawrence King that took place at school. This student was shot and
killed strictly due to the transphobia of one of his fellow classmates, as Lawrence King
was very open about his sexuality, wore dresses to school, etc. This documentary shows
interviews of teachers and peers who were very supportive of this gender non-
conforming youth and others who were not and believed that the murder was justifiable
and had empathy for the murderer, Brandon. This documentary was very helpful to my
paper and research on how schools are not safe spaces for the LGBTQ individuals that
are discovering their identity and expressing themselves openly. This not only
reinforced the point I made throughout my paper in regards to how heteronormative the
dynamics of school are, but it also showed the violence and discrimination that queer
individuals face at school. The interviews that were shown which included a wide
variety of opinions in regards to Lawrence King’s murder worked as a way to
understand the different viewpoints that individuals including teachers, peers, etc. have
on sexual expression and identity in the institution of school.

Davis, D. E. Real lives, relevant texts: A survey of B2G children's


counternarratives. Multicultural Learning and Teaching. 2017. 12(1), 67-86.
doi:http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2090/10.1515/mlt-2013-0031
 This article discusses individual queer student experiences and also many statistics
relating to queer children and the institutions of school arguing that schools are
commonly places that perpetrate heteronormativity and binary gender roles. This article
discusses various issues that queer children face at school including bathroom
discrimination and other forms of discrimination and violence. This article is targeted for
educators so that they are aware of how to maintain a classroom that does not violate
queer children, but alternatively changes the way that students view gender through
various curriculum, a queer eye pedagogical stance, and ultimately queering the
classroom. I thought that this article was very helpful in providing statistics and student
personal experiences with violence and discrimination, as these will enhance the
importance of my argument of why it is crucial that we queer the classroom. I also found
it to be very useful as it provides various resources for teachers to use in their teaching
curriculum that includes issues such as diversity and gender which can easily be defended
through the Common Core Standards if needed.
Halberstam, Judith. “Queer Temporality and Postmodern Geographies.” In A Queer Time and
Place: Transgender Bodies, Subculture Lives. 2005. New York University Press: New
York. pp. 1-15.
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 This article discusses the issues of space and time and how they are very much socially
constructed for the purposes of reproduction, productivity/capitalism, and other large
scale factors that determine how the majority of people live their lives and in what spaces
they live their life which is very much hegemonic. The issue of queer space and time is
discusses goes against these norms and power structures in which individuals main goals
are not birth, marriage, work, reproduction, and death. This article argues for going
against this sameness in which the majority of people live their lives and challenge the
expectations and gender roles for how one should live. I am using this as a main
framework in my paper because I think it very much applies to the expectations and
gender roles that are forced upon children. As for queer children, not conforming to these
normal time expectations can be very detrimental and have severe consequences because
our society is so obsessed with everyone living their lives in the same way and being
“normal.” I am also using the argument for queer space from this reading as a way to
support my argument that spaces such as elementary schools are in need of queering.
Hughes, Farrah, and Catherine Seta. “Gender Stereotypes: Children's Perceptions of Future
Compensatory Behavior Following Violations of Gender Roles.” Sex Roles, vol. 49, no.
11/12, 2003, pp. 685–691.
 This article discusses the socialization and influence of stereotypical gender roles in
children through an experiment involving a group of fifth graders and remembering
particular images that resulted in the emphasis of how ingrained stereotypes are and the
problems associated with this. In other words, this experiment showed that both children
and adults remembered inconsistent information regarding the images they were shown
that were highly stereotypical. In regards to my research paper, although it was already
obvious to me that stereotypical gender roles are ingrained in children’s minds, this
research gave me specific statistics to back up this argument. This source helps me
explain how stereotypical gender roles would be perpetrated in the classroom because if
children view these gender roles as “normal” without any critique, they would likely be
acting upon these gender roles in the classroom in various ways. Ultimately, this source is
helpful as it proves that children despite their age are vulnerable to conforming to social
norms and gender stereotypes.
Ryan, Caitlin L. “Kissing Brides and Loving Hot Vampires: Children's Construction and
Perpetuation of Heteronormativity in Elementary School Classrooms.” Sex Education,
2015, pp. 1–14.
 This article discusses heteronormativity specifically in the elementary school setting and
how it is perpetrated through other students as well as teachers and the overall classroom
environments which are anti-queer. Because of this, the article makes it very clear that
this has very negative consequences for both queer children and non queer children as
they learn at school what kind of attitudes to have towards being queer or another peer
being queer. This article gives many situations and interactions in the classroom that is
very common that perpetrates heteronormativity and excludes queer students and portray
them as “The Other”. For my research it was very important to have specific scenarios
like what are included in this article to support my argument that schools are not
necessarily queer friendly places. This article also is helpful as it provides implications
and how teachers need to intervene in certain situations, as well as be mindful in what
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they are teaching so that they are not discriminating against any group and providing
immense diversity. Lastly, I found it extremely important that not only does the article
discuss that it is enough as a teacher to be mindful in what they are teaching and
intervene when necessary, they also need to have curriculum that teaches students about
sexual identity in their curriculum.

Serano, Julia. Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding


Transgender Children Debates.” Medium. 2016.

 This piece discusses the issue of transitioning as well as detransitioning and how this is
commonly used as an argument against transgender individuals going through sex
changes and challenges these claims throughout in various ways. She also discusses the
issue of transphobia as well as other societal implications that Trans individuals face. She
then discusses the issue of queer children and the large controversy surrounding whether
or not children should be able to change their birth assigned gender identity and different
ways that this is dealt with including the gender-affirming approach as well as gender
reparative therapies. Although this article is not being used my main framework for this
research paper, I wanted to include bits and pieces from it such as issues of transphobia
towards the queer community. I thought that it was very important what she had to say
about queer children in the sense a common misconception is that children are too young
to decide that their birth assigned gender is not how they wish to identify. I also really
thought that what she discusses in regards to the different ways one can handle issues of
gender dysphoria should include allowing children to explore their sexuality, as opposed
to being forced into repressing them in which will be discussed in my paper.

Stafford, Anika. “I FEEL LIKE A GIRL INSIDE: Possibilities for Gender and Sexual Diversity
in Early Primary School.” BC Studies, no. 189, 2016, pp. 9–29,198.

 This article discusses work that a teacher did in regards to education and sexual identities
and what they learned through personal experience/ observations as well as research. She
mentions that a lot of teachers she knew had felt that feminism had gone too far and that
it should not be accepted in the classroom, nor discussed in the classroom. She brings up
various situations she encountered with queer children and also other children/faculty that
would correlate with sexual identities. I personally found all of the observations and
experiences she had to be very helpful because of how in depth they were, as they
provided me with a large understanding of how sexual identities have a role in various
situations. I also thought that her experiences with other teachers were helpful in
supporting my argument that teachers are often homophobic and are unwilling to accept
diversity in their classrooms, which is detrimental and has a large influence on children.
Stockton, K.B. “Growing Sideways or Why Children Appear to Get Queerer in the Twentieth
Century.” The Queer Child. 2009. pp. 1-19
 This article explains the issue of defining childhood to adult experiences as “growing up”
and provides other ways in which we can view and characterize these experiences. This
article also discusses how we as a society push expectations on children and expect that
they are heterosexual. These expectations result in queer children not having the ability to
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be themselves and identify with the sexual identity that they wish and then experience
“backward birthing” when they are older and feel that they can come out publically in
regards to their sexual identity. This article is another one of my main frameworks I am
using for my paper because I am discussing how detrimental the expectations are for
children when we expect them to “grow up” in a certain way or in other words be normal.
Not only does this impact queer children, it also impacts cis children because it
influences the way in which they view their queer peers. Lastly, this article is very much
pertinent because it overall emphasizes that we need to allow children to be themselves
and not push norms or expectations on them.