Prof advocates for the 'queering of higher education'

A professor recently published an article in which he “offers recommendations to eliminate repressive, heteronormative practices” in higher-ed.

University of Texas at Tyler Professor Frank Dykes, along with educator John Delport, explain in a recent article that since “LGBTQ issues are marginalized in teacher preparation programs”—the primary focus of their research—“repressive, heteronormative practices” have flourished.

[RELATED: Prof urges colleagues to promote ‘progressive politics’ in class]

“Heterosexuality is often assumed and institutionally enforced through rituals, daily interactions, and the curriculum,” Dykes and his colleague argue, noting that colleges often do so by using “textbooks that fail to include individuals identifying as LGBTQ.”

Further, the two suggest  that teacher-prep programs often use “textbooks that portray homosexuality as something dangerous,” which can lead to “deprecating remarks and stereotypes” in response to the mere mention of terms like “gay” or “lesbian.”

“Historically, LGBTQ communities have been maligned through stereotyping by linking homosexuality with promiscuity, mental illness, disease, child pedophilia, and hypersexuality,” the two educators write. “To this end, pre-service teachers often enter K-12 classrooms perpetuating inaccurate and biased views of gender and sexuality and unobtrusively implement these beliefs in everyday classroom practices."

[RELATED: Prof calls for ‘redistribution of opportunities’ in higher ed]

Meanwhile, the two complain that a lack of “gay role models” conveys “the message that heterosexuality is the only ‘normal sexuality,’” thus subjecting students to “heterosexual norms.”

However, both come to the conclusion that colleges have “significant opportunities to intervene in and interrupt this heterosexism,” offering a number of recommendations for how this could be done.

“Our first recommendation would be for faculty members to confront institutional heteronormativity in higher education,” they explain, encouraging educators to “include the history of the LGBTQ movement in preparation courses” and “include examples of ‘non-traditional’ families” in classroom discussion.

Additionally, they suggest the use of “children’s books addressing gay and lesbian families” to be used in courses that prepare future teachers of young children, which would add to the “queering of higher education itself.”

Finally, they conclude by cautioning educators against promoting religious freedom in schools since it “is often a tool used to exclude and avoid talking about LGBTQ issues.”

[RELATED: ‘Manspreading’ a sign of ‘sexist environment,’ student claims]

“Research studies have found that many educators continue to believe that teachers should not be asked to teach against their religious beliefs,” they add.

The then note that they hope their practices “will be embraced by all teacher preparation programs to advance the field of teacher education and to provide a culturally responsive pedagogy that meets the needs of all constituencies.”

Campus Reform reached out to Dykes for an comment, but he declined.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen