How Do Different Parts of the School System Deal With Homophobia? | Teen Ink

How Do Different Parts of the School System Deal With Homophobia?

June 8, 2009
By Robert Bernard BRONZE, Oak Park, Illinois
Robert Bernard BRONZE, Oak Park, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments


Pollack, Wim S. "Taking Off the Gender Straitjacket." Real Boy's Voices. Random House. 32-41.
This book from the packet which we were assigned to read was the point at which I found my topic. The author traveled around America to get interviews from boys of all ages. The essay’s focus is on how society encourages boys to cover up their emotions, and it contains parts of interviews with stories from the interviews to show the many factors that come out of boys bottling up emotions, or what happens when they don’t do so. On page 35, I read about different boys being sexually harassed with the use of the words wimp, wuss, and fag. I realized how much I engaged in that when I was younger, and how the word gay is used now, as a universal insult. It made me realize that this was a good topic to work on. The author is biased towards the view that emotional suppression affects the majority of boys, and that is what he is trying to prove, it is a good source because it has useful interviews with a variety of different voices in this topic. This is an essay from the course material, and is great to show the problem from a personal level, coming from interviews with those affected.
Loutzenheiser, Lisa W. "How Schools Play "Smear the Queer"" Feminist Teacher: 49-54.

The whole point of this article is on homophobia in schools, the title has to do with homophobia in the schoolyard. The article starts off by describing the game “Smear the Queer”, the point of which is to demean and sexually harass a usually weaker individual. The article goes on to further describe the effects of homophobia and sexual harassment, including higher suicide rates for homosexuals versus heterosexuals, and the fact that it hurts everyone, not just the person on the bottom of the pile. This article directly addresses my topic, homophobic harassment in schools, and is a lot more direct than other articles which only have small sections on homophobia. The author is biased towards the protection of minorities, as it is a feminist magazine where this article was taken from. She relates the put-downs of homosexuals to females’ stereotype of working in the home. This is also from the course packet, but it is about observation and not interviewing. It shows how kids on the playground act when they think no adults are watching.
Robinson, Kerry H. "Anti-Homophobia Teacher Education." Teaching Education 15 (2004): 3-8.

This academic journal is intended to educate teachers on homophobia in their schools, and what they can do to stop it. It talks about how homophobia is widespread in schools, and how many teachers are either oblivious to it, or downplay it. It has a few interviews of different teachers about its affects and what they have seen of it. This article gives a different viewpoint of homophobia from the teacher instead of the student, which is helpful since students are usually the focus of information and not the teachers. It is coming from an academic journal for teachers to help them become better teachers, so it is only biased in that it is more about teaching strategies to counteract homophobia than about the problem itself. In all, it is the only teacher-oriented article that I could find directed at homophobia, so it is helpful to see the problem from a different perspective. I would use this to show how many teachers are oblivious to the problem, and how they are sometimes not different from the students.
Walton, Gerald. "Bullying and Homophobia in Canadian Schools." Journal of Gay & Lesbian Issues in Education 1 (2004): 23-36.

This essay in a different academic journal is on the politics of bullying, specifically homophobia, in schools. The article is geared towards educating administrators on how to deal with homophobia and looks at different policies implemented to combat the problem. The author basically challenges the reader to help start anti-bullying/homophobic policies in schools by showing how many schools dealt with this problem. This article comes from a journal dedicated to gay and lesbian issues in education, so its main focus is such. Researching the different policies of schools is a good way to see how administrators deal with homophobia and their views on its impact in their schools.
White, Hilary, and Steve Jalsevac. "Lesbian Ontario Education Minister Hires "Homophobia" Watchdog for Schools." Life Site News 13 Mar. 2008. 24 Apr. 2009 .

An article about a homophobia “watchdog” is pretty interesting, as it is one of the better extrinsic implementation of anti-homophobia that I have seen around the interne, and it sounds pretty interesting. Basically, Ontario’s education minister hired a homophobia activist for the purpose of stopping homophobia. She has done such things as putting out homophobia questionnaires across the province. This article deals directly with how to stop homophobia, not just how it is affecting the schools. It is helpful to have an article about the solution and not the problem. The article isn’t particularly biased in any direction, as it is from a news outlet, and therefore tries to stay neutral.

Olson, Andy. "Homophobia in the Schools." Geocities. 25 Apr. 2009 .

This is a great article in that it supplies numbers and not just qualitative data about homophobia. It is written about the author’s research and that of others on the subject. He goes on to talk about and supply numbers of the suicide rate among gay and lesbian teens, and how their dropout rates and drug abuse rates are much higher than that of heterosexual teens. This article is helpful for research because it is the best one I could find with quantitative data on homophobic bullying. He states that in an average student hears 25.5 anti-gay remarks, which is about what I guessed it would be around, but it is still alarmingly high. The article is very leftist, from the group Youth for Socialist Action, and it is apparent the author thinks these numbers are as alarming as I do. The numbers are really helpful for research because it is quantitative data and not qualitative like most of the other information.
The point of this essay is to examine the different approaches to homophobia in the school system, as well as the problem from the general viewpoints of the students, teachers, and administrators that are affected by homophobia. How do different parts of the school system deal with homophobia? The objective of this paper is to show that the general views from all three sides are flawed. The majority of students see it in schools, but participate in it because they generally feel it is harmless. Teachers see it, too, but not all try to stop it, and it doesn’t have much of an effect on the problem when they do. Finally, administrators generally don’t see the problem, as they aren’t always directly involved with the student body, but they are the main party that has the power to get rid of the homophobia. The problem is that they are the ones that see it the least. Hopefully, through this article the reader will obtain a greater understanding of homophobia, and what to do to stop it.

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