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LGBTQ Teachers and Civil Partnership: Working the Spaces of Potentiality Dr Aoife Neary, Department of Education and Professional Studies, University of.

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Presentation on theme: "LGBTQ Teachers and Civil Partnership: Working the Spaces of Potentiality Dr Aoife Neary, Department of Education and Professional Studies, University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 LGBTQ Teachers and Civil Partnership: Working the Spaces of Potentiality Dr Aoife Neary, Department of Education and Professional Studies, University of Limerick


3 (Hargreaves 1998; Hargreaves 2001; Zembylas 2004)

4 Feeling Rules Inculcated (hetero)norms and standards that define what we should feel in various circumstances. The work required to achieve a correspondence with these rules. Hochschild 1975; 1979; 1983 Emotional Labour

5 it could be a personality trait, it could be my philosophy, my vision but, maybe, being gay, I've a heightened awareness of achieving very high standards…a hidden agenda that maybe … subconsciously…that you have to prove yourself Fergal, Principal, Educate Together Primary LGBTQ Teacher - Another Layer of Labour

6 10,000 hours to be an Expert

7 I check myself to see what is it about me that "gives the gay away"

8 Have you ever been on a crowded train with your gay friend and a small part of you is cringing because he is being SO gay and you find yourself trying to compensate by butching up or nudging the conversation onto "straighter" territory? This is you who have spent 35 years trying to be the best gay possible and yet still a small part of you is embarrassed by his gayness.

9 Steve, Teacher, Educate Together Primary I kind of find myself sometimes, if I’m on yard duty, unless they are in the classroom and going to classes, I kind of find myself sometimes…I find myself walking in and (god this is embarrassing) nearly butching it up a bit. Gender Norms

10 Conscious when children are laughing. You have to be incredibly cautious [because] the strange connection between paedophilia and being gay [that] is quite strong in some people’s minds. Alertness and Caution Ronan, Teacher, Catholic Primary Simon, Principal, Educate Together Primary

11 I would never put it in their faces [colleagues]. There are some people [gay colleague] there who would go in and sit down and go discuss The Boiler House [Men’s Sauna and Entertainment Venue] in front of staff — which is way too much information in front of women say from (wealthy suburb) who are raising four kids and not about to listen to that type of conversation. Richard, Teacher, ETB Second-level Appropriateness

12 Not ‘shouting from the rooftops’ ‘waving a flag’ ‘not going to put it in anybody’s face’ ‘making a big announcement’ ‘going out on the street and shouting it’ Arbitrary Boundaries

13 Pat [partner] and myself wouldn't walk hand in hand around here, simply because of parents. Yeah and equally if we're walking along hand in hand and we come across a family with kids Pat looks at me 'you're on your own' and we just like we break away, because again like that, we're not going to leave, we don’t want to rub it into people, we don't like… we're very happy together but we don't want to cause stress or strain for everybody. Eimear, Teacher, Catholic Primary Parents and Appropriateness

14 On the one hand I feel like, yes, I need to be very proactive, it's a school and I hear about other Educate Together schools who are very proactive about it, addressing homophobia naming it, really being clear about it with fifth and sixth class. My only fear is I think everyone knows about me and I would hate for them to think it's me on my hobby horse, I'd rather have it come from the other teachers… You know, I wouldn't want it to be ‘Oh look at him, he get the kids to defend himself’. Simon, Teacher, Educate Together Primary Addressing Homophobia

15 Supportive Colleagues People were really fabulous and so incredibly supportive and joyful for me. Bev, Teacher, Catholic Second-level

16 It forced me out. And it was uncomfortable initially, but now it's just like, I just talk about Pat [partner] in the staffroom like everybody talks about their partner…it’s better it’s out, it’s a relief that it’s out there…exemplifying the acceptance that there is in the staffroom. Ordinariness Eimear, Teacher, Catholic Primary

17 A New Voice Bev, Teacher, Catholic Second-level ‘I’m seen in a new light — it’s interesting. I’m gone out of the kind of quiet place and I’m becoming I suppose more at the centre of the school’.

18 ‘It's made me more confident…I have…firm foundations or grounds to stand on when I am being vocal in defence of students who are gay…I tackle it when I hear it [homophobia] and…I think the fact that I'm in a civil partnership…gives me that that little bit more confidence and that sureness of foot’ (Conor, Teacher, Community School). New Confidence

19 “You mean you're not monogamous???” and I said ‘No, I'm not, I haven't been monogamous for 20 odd years! And he was shocked by that, totally shocked and floored because he couldn't get the whole thing together in his head…it kind of scrambled his brain…And I thought that was a good thing….I'm leaving it…with him…I'm not talking about it or clarifying it or anything! Richard, Teacher, ETB Second-level Challenging Norms/Queering

20 I would have been very nervous around the chaplain. And…that’s assumed prejudice because she’s a chaplain and she’s a Catholic chaplain she wouldn’t accept me…like ‘oh she’s conservative one’… You can’t always blame others for not accepting you when you don’t even know whether they do or not. Interrupting Assumptions Bev, Teacher, Catholic Second-level

21 When you have him [their son] it puts other things into perspective too…because if we have an inhibition about this, he's going to wonder why…so we have to be as normal as we are inside outside. Parenting Eimear, Teacher, Catholic Primary

22 I got into a conversation with a parent who asked was I Ms Miss or Mrs...a random question, not knowing anything about me and I said straight out…I'm not sure how to answer that...and explained...I wasn't sure how it would be received and didn't really care... do you know something now I just don't give a shit anymore I'm just worn out (laughs), I don't care. Worn Out Sarah, Teacher, ETB Second-level

23 Concluding Thoughts

24 I think that issue (with the letters) in the 80s can come back to me and I don’t want that repeating or being any risk. The past lives in the present in our bodies (Bev, Teacher, Catholic Second-level)



27 Complexities of Gender and Sexualities Teacher Education Appropriateness


29 Thank you! Dr Aoife Neary Department of Education and Professional Studies, University of Limerick

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