Returning to my blog to say a little something about institutionalized heteropatriarchy...

I haven't written anything in a long time because I've actually been busy enjoying my new departmental colleagues, students, and campus and community work. Perhaps I really do need to rename the blog "On (re)becoming an academic"...

On the heels of a simultaneously energizing and deflating weekend workshop on LGBTQ issues in educational research, I am once again inspired to post something with the sincere hope that it ripples outward. Also motivating me is the public outcry against Waiting for Superman (many wonderful critiques are located here ). Below is the e-mail that I just sent to the American Educational Research Association's executive director.

A bit of context: The executive and social justice directors of this organization will be the lead authors on the report regarding LGBTQ issues in educational researchers. So far as I know, neither of these authors have lived out of the closet or extensively studied queer lives and theories. Moreover, the organization has openly struggled with the Queer Studies Special Interest Group, of which I am the current chair, over when a "research" organization ought to "advocate" for and with systemically marginalized social groups. I won't go into that history here, but you can read up on it (as well as other reflections on this past weekend) on Bill Tierney, Therese Quinn, and Catherine Lugg's blogs if you are interested.

And the letter...

Thank you again for your work organizing this past weekend's workshop. If you're feeling as tired as I am, I hope you have a chance to experience a little R&R.

I came across a blog on an L.A. teacher who committed suicide, and the parallels between the blog author's words and many of our own this past weekend compelled me to write to you. I know that on Saturday afternoon I was not as composed or centered as I would have liked to be out of frustration and exhaustion. The blog author's words about teachers to a non-teacher audience ("the spectators and grand-standers in this conversation") remind me of many workshop participants' words about queer youth and workers following John Easton's [the director of the Insitute of Education Sciences] presentation. As she wrote in blunt terms,

"Is this just a game to you, or what? For those of us in the trenches, it most certainly isn’t. Enough is enough. Deal with the real issues, approach us from a place of humility and respect, and offer genuine support. Put up, or SHUT UP."

As you and [the social justice director] author the report, I request that you "deal with the real issues," "approach us from a place of humility and respect," and "offer genuine support." I full well realize the limitations of AERA's ability to "advocate," but I also think if the organization is going to have a social justice director and take public stands on policies and practices that have generated and sustained great suffering for many people, it ought to stand on the side of justice in its report on LGBTQ issues in education and call into question clearly and directly the compulsory heteropatriarchy of U.S. educational institutions. To again quote the blog author, "Enough is enough."

And with that, I am going to return to my research and teaching responsibilities, which, not incidentally, I attempt to undertake in ways that integrate research, advocacy, and activism. I again appreciate your willingness to listen to the concerns of the Queer Studies SIG and myself during the past few months.


And just for fun, an image that inspires me (with credit to definatalie, it's creator).