ERIC Number: ED379697
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Nov
Unlocking the Classroom Closet: Privileging the Marginalized Voices of Gay/Lesbian College Students.
DeSurra, Christopher J.; Church, Kimberley A.
A study of investigated perceptions of gay/lesbian undergraduates regarding their sense of marginalization or alienation in the college classroom. Two research questions were posed: (1) What, according to gay/lesbian students, are the characteristics of classroom environments that create feelings of marginalization? and (2) What, according to gay/lesbian students, are specific strategies employed to cope with these feelings? The participants were interviewed alone and in six focus groups of five or six students from southern California universities. Their responses, often taking the form of a narrative, were charted and categorized along two continuums representing a range of responses to the two research questions. The first continuum, the "marginalizing-centralizing continuum" ranges from narratives documenting "explicit marginalization" or homophobia on the part of instructors and students in a class and "implicit marginalization"--avoiding issues of homosexuality when they arose in the classroom, to narratives documenting "implicit centralization" and "explicit centralization" involving unplanned and planned inclusion of gay/lesbian views. The second continuum ranges from narratives documenting "response outing," that is, responses to marginalization that involve a direct confrontation or announcement of sexual orientation in the classroom to narratives documenting "response remaining closeted,""preoccupation/no active response" and "dropping out." The wealth of narratives documenting explicit marginalization and the suffering such practices induce in gay/lesbian students demands that sensitivity be implemented into the college curriculum. Too often, gay/lesbian students have been silenced in research; exploring homosexual issues with more qualitative methods can access important details that cannot possibly come through quantitative methods. (TB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A