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Challening gender- and sexuality-based discrimination in UK schools: Young women's experiences of illegitimation and resistance

Sauntson, Helen ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0373-1242 (2020) Challening gender- and sexuality-based discrimination in UK schools: Young women's experiences of illegitimation and resistance. In: Ingvar Kjaran, Jón and Sauntson, Helen ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0373-1242, (eds.) Schools as Queer Transformative Spaces: Global Narratives on Sexualities and Genders. Routledge Research in Educational Equality and Diversity . London, Routledge

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This chapter provides a nuanced examination of the experiences of young lesbian and bisexual women in UK schools. A growing body of research examines sexuality and schooling, however, very little of this research questions how homophobic and biphobic discourse operates in differing ways for young women and men and tends to implicitly assume that homophobia is experienced in a similar way. Given the particularly detrimental effects of bi/homophobic discourse on girls, a more nuanced analysis of the gendered aspects of bi/homophobic discourse in schools is needed. This chapter goes some way to redressing this balance by exploring young gay and bisexual women’s experiences.

The chapter uses data from interviews with lesbian and bisexual-identified young women in which they discuss their experiences of negotiating and enacting their sexual identities in the school environment. The interviews are analysed using Bucholtz and Hall’s tactics of intersubjectivity framework to examine how participants understand their sexuality identities in relation to the secondary school context. Findings indicate that the frequent enactments of homophobia and biphobia through silence, ignoring and censoring in the school environment were particularly salient for the young women in the study. Furthermore, analysis of the interviews provides insight into some of the reasons for this gendered experience which relate to the UK school context and some specific strategies for challenging homophobia and biphobia that the participants have developed.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P40 Sociolinguitics
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5369

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