Culturally queer, silenced in school? Children with LGBTQ parents, and the everyday politics of/in community and school
- Ulrika Dahl
- Annamari Vänskä
- Ann-Sofie Lönngren
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Lambda Nordica. Tidskrift för homo/lesbisk/bi/transforskning
Children with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and/or queer (LGBTQ) parents have received heightened attention during the processes of policy making regarding adoption and donor insemination legislation in Sweden during the 1990s and early 2000s. Yet, very little academic knowledge exists about children and young people in LGBTQ families and their experiences in schools. We engage the idea of "culturally queer" as a potentially useful framework for understanding the experiences of children and young people with LGBTQ parents. School, with its major impact on young people's lives, is one of the sites where family as discourse and practise is negotiated. This is why a group of researchers from Humboldt University, Berlin (Germany), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Lund University (Sweden) are undertaking a study on the school experiences of children and young people with LGBTQ parents. Our first aim is to discuss how these kids are recognized within queer communities. Our second aim is to analyze what we see as a problematic silence in school around children and young people with LGBTQ parents. This is about the powerful and everyday workings of normative understandings of who family should be. Schools and teachers might not see the need to actively include non-normative family-structures in their work. This seemingly innocent-looking process in fact re-constructs ideals of family, childhood, sexuality and gender. It is necessary to actively work against the silencing of kids with LGBTQ parents in the context of school. This is important for these kids; it is equally important for children and young people with heterosexual parents to see that family can be more than mum-dad-child. We see this as a part of the long-established debate in queer theorizing and activism about the meaning and practises of 'family'. We see a need to further theorize the currently ongoing normalization of queer families. At the same time, there is an equally ongoing need for struggle against indirect homophobia and transphobia.
- Gender Studies