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ERIC Number: EJ1162702
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Looking Back into Trans Persons' Experiences in Heteronormative Secondary Physical Education Contexts
Devís-Devís, José; Pereira-García, Sofía; López-Cañada, Elena; Pérez-Samaniego, Víctor; Fuentes-Miguel, Jorge
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v23 n1 p103-116 2018
Background: School is one of the primary settings where non-gender conformer children and adolescents emerge as vulnerable groups at high risk of suffering violence and harassment. Within schooling contexts, embodied experiences in physical education (PE) may become particularly problematic for trans students. However, there is little research focusing on trans persons' experiences in PE. The purpose of this paper is to gather memories and impressions of a group of adult trans persons on their experiences in secondary PE. Theoretical framework: The concept of heteronormativity is used as a theoretical framework to provide insights and understanding to trans persons's experiences in PE. It is used to characterize inequalities and hierarchies derived from the intersection of the dualistic logic of gender binarism with other social categories and ideologies. Heteronormative discourses also act regulating the way of looking at and over trans persons' bodies, categorizing some of them as queer or abject. Participants and methodology: Study is based on semi-structured interviews to nine participants (five trans women and four trans men) from 23 to 62 years of age. A thematic analysis was carried out in order to flexibly and directly identify interpretative patterns of meaning within data, as well as to open them to interpretative frameworks. The categories were grouped into four themes best gathering the experiences of participants in PE. Results and discussion: (1) "Hindering desired gender": In daily practices, participants felt in 'the middle' of activities, spaces and gender groups, experiencing aloofness, isolation and loneliness. Participants complained about the fact that they could not perform gender segregated activities with their desired gender group. PE teachers played an important role in supporting heteronormative system. (2) "Preferences, aversions and opportunities": All participants experienced hegemonic forms of gender and sexuality linked to PE programme activities in different ways. For most trans boys, sport-based PE was their favourite subject, while trans girls found it particularly negative and demotivating. Exceptionally, some aesthetic and dance activities were recalled as nearly non-heterosexual practices. (3) "Confronting transgression." Situations of stigmatization and bullying in PE were frequent as a result from situations in which gender norms were eventually transgressed. Teachers impeded any attempt of trans persons to overcome heteronormativity in PE lessons. (4) "Intimacy struggles": Body intimacy was crucial for participants. Different strategies were used for the search of intimacy. Changing rooms were the most problematic spaces for trans students in educative contexts. The worse trans participants felt about their bodies, the more uneasy they felt in these facilities. Conclusions and final comments: Heteronormative contexts strongly determined trans persons' experiences in PE. Trans participants, especially those not performing gender conforming practices, were abjectified in PE lessons. This situation generated multiple forms of exclusion and rejection, as well as episodes of harassment. However, some practices counteracted the dominance of the heteronormative system, showing their potential to destabilize this ideology in PE.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Spain
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A