View Full Version : Homophobia in Academia
10-12-2006, 12:03 PM
I'm a "mature" gay male finishing up my Ph.D. in Workforce Education & Development (HRD) at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. My primary research interest is homophobia and heterosexism in American society and in the educational community in particular. I also work for the university as an Education and Public Policy researcher. A Southern Illinois native, though I grew up in Arizona and Southern California, I've enjoyed living in many parts of the country and will probably be relocating again after I graduate with my Ph.D. in August, 2007. I'm not involved in a relationship, though I'm always attracted to and interested in becoming friends with others who have dreams and goals, along with plans for achieving them; who are educated and informed independent thinkers and actors, moral, kind, ethical and honest. :rainbow:
10-12-2006, 12:21 PM
Hi Gerry, welcome.
I'm curious to hear your observations regarding how much evidence of homophobia there is (or might be, hidden to our view) in higher education and academia.
I'm in a class this semester where that topic came up for discussion briefly. From most of our perspectives, where we are, we don't see it that much, but we generally accept that it IS there. Every once in a while evidence of it crops up where I wasn't expecting it, and surprises me. So, just how prevalent is it, do you think? To what degree has it changed in recent decades? (I did my undergrad in the early 90s, and I've seen some changes since then.)
10-13-2006, 02:21 AM
A Big Welcome to you and your insigts. Feel free to share. :rainbow:
10-13-2006, 09:28 AM
Thank you Zerbie and Emproph for your welcoming messages. I'm looking forward to sharing thoughts with both of you and others. [Zerbie, where are you in the desert Southwest? I grew up in Tucson, so I'm always happy to make the acquaintance of someone else from the region.]
The research I'm doing for my dissertation has convinced me that despite lofty rhetoric and the passage of laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in several states, including my home state of Illinois, homophobia continues to afflict the lives of GLBT persons. And as Dr. White's book so clearly makes the case, the rise to power of so many individuals from the religious far right bodes ill for the prospect of a more tolerant and inclusive society anytime in the near future.
While enactment of state laws banning overt discrimination because of sexual orientation may be on the rise, the laws are for the most part paper tigers that do nothing to address the phobias which give rise to the discrimination. Thus, the prevailing ethos that condems us as "sinners," "deviates," "undesirables," "unworthies," etc., continues unchecked to exert its malign influence on the lives of all of us.
While the statistical analysis of my research is only in its first stages, the things that I'm seeing indicate that anti-gay discrimination is not only still extant in the academy, but also on the rise. While incidents of physical violence directed at gays appear to be diminishing somewhat, that may well be only the result of increased vigilance on the part of campus security organizations. What has been reported most often is bias directed at gay members of the academic community; a bias which, in its various manifestations, affects faculty and staff as well as students. If you're interested, I'll post more of my research findings as they become available.
Thanks again for the warm welcome.
"...homophobia works not just through the viciousness of physical violence but also through the daily erosion of selfhood by the friction of widespread, casually expressed hatred."
--Beth Lofreda, in the introduction to "Losing Matt Shepard":cool:
10-13-2006, 11:36 AM
Hey Gerry thanks for the response (I'm in the Phoenix area).
I will be extremely interested in your findings with regard to academia. One of the readings for that class I mentioned was by a gay scholar who spends several pages of his article defending his topic and pointing out homophobia in the academy, citing an instance where a traditional scholar got up to the podium at a conference debunking someone's queer or gay theory as point of departure for inquiry, and got a thunderous cheering ovation. That article was published in the early 90s, so the incident would have probably been very early 90s. It made me wonder if that's changed.
10-14-2006, 08:45 AM
Could you give me the reference citation for the reading you're referring to? I may already have read it, but I might not have, in which case I need to. Thanks.
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