Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here


SergioDiaz's picture

The importance and necessity of Blackburn’s for transforming the classroom reaches beyond the LGBTQQ community into something larger. That is not to say that the LGBTQQ community’s struggles should be appropriated in the ed system, rather it means that much of the work Blackburn outlines has useful applications in education in general. The most concrete illustration of this is work that happens in The Attic and subsequently the work The Speaker’s Bureau group does by empowering youth through celebration of their identities and giving them voices in ways they don’t usually have in school. Because of the teacher’s often subversive role created by an already oppressive and homophobic education system, there is a need for teachers to speak out against homophobic behavior in the classroom. Blackburn makes a very interesting point about academic achievement and its relation to the vilification of the LGBTQQ community because exploring LGBTQQ issues have a negative impact in grades and in turn does not allow people to talk about their issues openly. This seems to be related to deficit theory which itself relates with ESL, which I myself have been very interested in. The proposals to move away from a protect and punish approach to learn about gender and sex differences and focus on real change that needs to happen by opening up comprehensive dialogue and welcoming students from all identities like what happens in The Attic seems to be a common theme in the path to a multicultural education. The idea of understanding and having individuals feel a sense belonging regardless of their identity is relatable across the discipline and brings in many questions to mind. Can schools as an institution be welcoming to every identity when they still have a fundamental need to be institutions of learning and teaching? Even when bringing in and working with culturally appropriate material (I.E. LGBTQQ Texts/Minority perspective) will a process of learning and welcoming take place? How can public institutions push back against the parents who don’t want their children to learn these perspectives?(I’m thinking of a specific controversial case recently where a teacher was arrested for having a class assignment writing to a person in prison.) Where does the non-profit realm like The Attic take up the slack of formal education when it shouldn’t? How does this lead to lack of accountability? What is there to do with the deaths of bullied students? I don’t mean to distract myself from the original point so I will say again that the points Blackburn makes to improve education can be used across identities. And by looking at the need to restructure the protect and punish approach in LGBTQQ to a welcome and accept we can rethink how we protect and punish our students and how we welcome and accept them in terms of academic achievement.