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Queer gender performance and media in school: Dissident reading, bullying and the word ‘gay’

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This article explores the potential of youth to learn about gender performance and sexual identity in school, framing the vulnerability of LGBTQ youth and issues of bullying. Exploring the significance of ‘dissident reading’ as the ability of a student to independently read or interpret media representations that may involve an analysis of stereotyping and irony, this article foregrounds research from five schools in the United Kingdom involving responses from 82 school children. Offering both a theoretical examination of dissident reading as a process to challenge hierarchies of gender performance and sexual identity, and an analysis of the discourse of school children themselves, a mixed-methods approach is involved in this research, framing limitations in school environments in the education of sexual diversity. This article argues that individual teachers have not only historically embarked on personal strategies of education outside the curriculum on the needs of LGBTQ youth but also that with the contemporary rise of populism, there is an increasing need for this.

Keywords: bullying; dissident reading; education; gender performance; media; queer youth

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bournemouth University

Publication date: September 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture (QSMPC) is a refereed academic journal devoted to the study of representations and expressions of queerness in its various forms. International in scope and representing a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, it publishes scholarship on topics at the intersection of media/popular culture and queerness in gender/sexuality. QSMPC invites articles and artwork pertaining to queerness in media and popular culture, as well as reviews pertaining to recently released queer media artifacts.
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