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ERIC Number: EJ1068791
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: 17
Co-Constructing Space for Literacy and Identity Work with LGBTQ Youth
Blackburn, Mollie V.
Afterschool Matters, n4 p17-23 Spr 2005
Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), or are perceived as such, often suffer from neglect and abuse in schools. School personnel typically ignore the issues of LGBT youth in the academic curriculum and in extracurricular activities (Gray, 1999; Owens, 1998). Youth perceived as LGBT are often called derogatory names, harassed, or physically abused (Eaton, 1993; Gray, 1999; Human Rights Watch, 2001; Owens, 1998; Rofes, 1995). This neglect and abuse hinders the education of these youth, as suggested by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) 2001 nationwide school climate survey of 904 LGBT youth across the United States. According to the GLSEN report, 68.6 percent of these youth felt unsafe in their schools because of their sexual orientation, and 45.7 percent felt unsafe because of their gender expression (Kosciw, 2001). As a result, 31.9 percent had skipped a class, and 30.8 percent had missed an entire day of school in the month prior to the survey. Based on these findings, Kosciw (2001) concluded that the heterosexism and homophobia these young people experienced in schools hindered their academic learning. More specifically, heterosexism and homophobia in schools impede both LGBT students' literacy work (environments that cause students to feel alienated or insecure create an inhospitable climate for writing) and the identity work (LGBT students have little opportunity to explore their identities while heterosexism and homophobia work to make homosexualities invisible in schools). In this article the author examines the literacy and identity work in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth engage in an out-of-school context. She studied Story Time, a literacy group in a Philadelphia youth-run center, for LGBTQ youth called The Attic. The LGBTQ youth with whom she worked used their reading and discussions of texts in Story Time to validate their identities and to envision ways in which they might work against heterosexism and homophobia.
Descriptors: Homosexuality, Sexual Orientation, Sexual Identity, Social Bias, After School Programs, Extracurricular Activities, Bullying, Educational Environment, School Safety, Literacy Education, Identification (Psychology), Youth Programs, Social Justice, Poetry, Self Expression, Story Telling
National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Wellesley Centers for Women, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481. Tel: 781-283-2547; Fax: 781-283-3657; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.niost.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania