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Accepted for publication (PostPrint)

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Publication Title

Sex Education: Sexuality, Society, and Learning


Classrooms reflect and contribute to normative sex, gender, and sexuality categories in school culture, rules, and rituals. Texts, materials, curriculum, and the discourse we employ as educators perpetuate the pervasiveness of these categories. This article explores the less visible ways sex and gender categories are constructed in English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms, and how institutionalized heteronormativity positions students within normative categories of sex, gender, and sexuality. These limiting conversations are difficult to identify and even more difficult to challenge. But it is precisely this dynamic – the subconscious reinforcing of sex and gender binaries – that upholds the dominance of the institution of heterosexuality. Merely addressing LGBTQ issues in the field of teaching reading, writing, and literacy is an incomplete strategy. I argue that to disrupt normative narratives in the ELA classroom, educators must first identify the everyday practices occurring in school spaces, specifically recognizing the teacher as a text. For sustained challenges to institutionalized norms, ELA teachers must engage in this work outside of LGBTQ-inclusive instructional materials and anti-homophobic education, and I offer specific methods for disrupting mainstream narratives in ELA classrooms.


This is an author-supplied copy of the manuscript accepted for publication in the identified journal. It has been peer-reviewed and contains the final content by the author, before formatting for publication by the publisher.

The publisher (Routledge) has authorized this post-print to be deposited in an institutional repository.