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Author Sullivan, Ashley Lauren
Title Hiding in the open: Navigating education at the gender poles: A study of transgender children in early childhood
book jacket
Descript 337 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 70-06, Section: A, page: 1916
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Arizona State University, 2009
This dissertation is a qualitative study of transgender children and internalized body normalization in early childhood education settings, steeped in critical methodologies including post-structuralism, queer theory and feminist approaches. As a means to gain insight into the internalizing effects of body normalization on young children, ten transsexual adults were interviewed about their educational experiences. The inquiry focused on their reflections on schooling from the ages of three through eight years old. From their narratives, multiple themes arose regarding navigating transphobic social interactions. Most interviewees befriended peers who held the same gender identity and/or were considered "outcasts." There were barriers to friendship that stemmed from non-conforming behavior, and these seemed to increase with age. All were teased and assaulted, and each found different ways to cope with being bullied (including self-induced isolation, retaliation, building relationships with allies, and providing beneficial services to peers). When reflecting on interactions with teachers, the interviewees (known as research partners) recalled double the amount of negative interactions than positive ones. Included in these narratives were discussions of maximum control over the physical body, restrictive curriculum methods, and public humiliation
The research partners also recalled the effects of gender normative physical spaces and typically regarded the music classroom, art room, auditorium and library as safe and empowering spaces and the gymnasium, cafeteria, bathrooms, and principal's office as unsafe and disempowering locations. Foucault's normalization of the body theory was explored in relationship to the studied population. The findings suggest that gender performativity, gender segregation, gender normalization/gender role conformity are of particular concern for transgender children in early childhood education. The dissertation concludes with suggestions for creating more inclusive classrooms for diverse students including allowing children to be themselves, abandoning assumptions, eliminating gender segregation, involving parents, creating a safe environment, and supporting/protecting transgender children
School code: 0010
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 70-06A
Subject Education, Early Childhood
Gender Studies
Alt Author Arizona State University
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