Heteronormativity in the Texas Oil Patch: The Impact of Practices, Policies, and Curriculum on Gay White Students in the Texas Public School System
Thorson, Michael Andrew
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In the past two decades there has been an increase in public demand for the creation of a school environment that is positive and safe for all students. Nearly 90 percent of LGBTIQ students surveyed reported hearing ?gay? used negatively, as well as, hearing homophobic remarks on a daily basis. Although quantitative research exists, there is no qualitative research addressing these specific issues in Texas, a Southern state with strong conservative religious and political affiliations. With this in mind, I set out to explore how heteronormativity influenced practices, policies and curriculum from the perspective of participants who identified as gay and white and had attended the Texas public school system. The study is composed of seven participants with data gathered in a multi-stage unstructured interview process. This process consists of an initial interview, analysis, and follow-up interviews. These interviews were audio-taped, transcribed, and analyzed using holistic thematic analysis. All seven of my participants were able to articulate their experiences not only within the Texas school system, but within their family and community interactions. Themes that emerged included religion, heterosexual costume, personal homophobia/homonegativity, homophobic slurs, inaction of teachers and administrators, and LGBTIQ curriculum omission. This led to considering what can be derived from these experiences in regards to creating a positive school environment for LGBTIQ in Texas public schools. With these themes, several recommendations are made, including: ?Student organizations providing positive supports to LGBTIQ students ?Inclusive nondiscrimination and anti-bullying policies ?Training for administrators and teachers on LGBTIQ issues ?Inclusive curriculum The issues that affect LGBTIQ students within school districts across the country are varied and complex. This study begins to explore these complexities in order to better understand how to facilitate inclusivity for LGBTIQ youth in Texas public schools. Educators and school leaders must realize by not being mindful of the enacted curriculum, policies, and practices, they are potentially creating an oppressive and harmful school climate that not only affects LGBTIQ students physically, but emotionally with negative consequences on their academic achievement and mental health.