"It's about changing the topic of sexual orientation from something seen as dirty and shameful to something that needs to be openly discussed in schools and other places where learning occurs."
--Schuyler Pisha, High School Student
The Harvard Educational Review has devoted this Special Issue to exploring the lives and experiences of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students and educators. We invite you to read about the realities of life for gay and lesbian teachers and students, including honest and thought-provoking essays by and about gay and lesbian youth; how an openly lesbian teacher has made a difference in her classroom; and students' responses to class lessons that focus on the prejudices that gay and lesbian people suffer. A growing body of knowledge is being developed in gay and lesbian studies, and the Harvard Educational Review is proud to contribute this Special Issue specifically devoted to education.
- by Joy C., Kathryn Zamora-Benson, Mandy, Megan McGuire, Paul H. Cottell Jr., Rachel, & Schuyler Pisha
These honest, thought-provoking, poignant essays written by youth between the ages of 14 and 18 offer a first-hand account of the world of pain and alienation young people face when forced to live a secret life. But they also serve as a testament to the dedication, courage, and insight of lesbian, gay , bisexual, and transgender youth, and often their families and friends as well. The presence of these essays in Harvard Educational Review, as well as their prominent position in the journal, reflects the editors' commitment since the planning stages of this issue to include youth voices. It is a well-known irony that youth are rarely given a voice in setting educational policy, even though it greatly affects them. Youth are usually not invited to sit on school policy-making boards or town councils, nor are their thoughts or opinions regularly solicited. The editors of this Special Issue on Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender People and Education have purposefully sought to reverse this trend, as these youth have powerful lessons to teach the adults around them their parents, teachers, neighbors and ministers.
In their essays and conversations, these young writers talk about their lack of power in their schools and family lives. Like most writers, they were excited to have their writing published in a national journal. For several, however, the celebration was bittersweet. Some of these writers have not been able to celebrate with their families because the topic is considered taboo within their family context. Unfortunately, their families are missing out on a special moment in these young people's lives. As one young author said, "A lot of us are disappointed in our parents these days." Two questions asked by the youth during the editorial process are indicative of their longing to be taken seriously. One youth asked, "Did the majority of the Editorial Board support my submission?" while another queried, "How do the editors interpret the connection between my essay and education?" Both of these young people wanted to ensure that insight into the variety of experiences and responses that young people have when they, a friend, or a family member is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
In "The Phone Call," Joy C. shares her wish that someday her mother will "realize that (her) lesbianism is just one part of a complex whole something that has contributed to [her] identity and broadened [her] horizons." Joy relates that coming out as a lesbian to her parents has "taught me to respect the strength it takes to be myself when so many stand against me."
Kathryn Zamora-Benson bravely opens herself to her schoolmates and teachers in her "Celebrate Humanity Day Speech." By raising question and confronting issues, she appeals to students and teachers to look inwardly at their "fears, ignorance, and indifference" toward homosexuality, and challenges them to confront both their personal beliefs and their part in creating the larger school culture. <P> Mandy's poem, "A Search for the Answer," shows her attempt to understand why people inflict pain and suffering on others or do hurtful things to those who are different than themselves. She calls attention to how slowly her own wounds are healing and issues a plea to reader to think about their actions towards others. <P> In "Livin' in a Gay Family," Megan McGuire reminds us that homophobia affects not only youth who are themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, but also youth who have a family member of friend who is. Megan, the daughter of a lesbian mother, shares the many dimensions of her own coming out process – a coming out not about her own sexuality but rather her struggle to be able to speak truthfully about her two moms. <P> In "A Queer Youth," Paul Cottel Jr. challenges all of us, whatever our sexuality, to question the use of labels such as "gay," "lesbian," and "bisexual." Paul acknowledges that while these labels may help some people identify who they are, they are also problematic in that they may make people feel trapped. Paul uses the more inclusive term "queer," a word that has historically been used against homosexuals but has been reclaimed by the gay community in order to acknowledge the diversity of their communities. Paul also talks about the difficulties of affirming oneself as both queer and Christian. <P> In "Returned Letters," Rachel speaks about an incident that forced her to confront her silence about her lesbianism. She tells this story, "not because the world lacks stories, but because it lacks the stories I care about." Rachel's heartfelt essay helps us understand what it's like to long for a place "where you don't have to lie anymore." <P> Finally, Schuyler Pisha, a youth who identifies as heterosexual, shares with us his experiences – and some of his photographs – as a member of a photography project about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Through his work on this project, Schuyler learned about the rich diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth community and came to deplore their too common experience of not feeling safe to be themselves at school or at home. He says the main lesson he takes away from the photography project is to change "the topic of sexual orientation from something seen as dirty and shameful to something that needs to be openly discussed in schools and other places where learning occurs." <P> All of these young writers are connected with an adult who is a teacher, mentor, and friend. Karen Anna, Director of Bridges in Paia, Hawaii; Bea Doyle, a teacher at Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Al Ferreira, a teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Kate Scott, acceptance, support, and a safe place in which they can explore issues, ask questions, and learn to be themselves. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><p> <P> <li> <a name="ormiston"></a><I><B>Stone Butch Celebration: A Transgender-Inspired Revolution in Academia</b></I> <p> by Wendy Ormiston <p> Wendy Ormiston and her senior classmates at a small liberal arts college asked the school's president to invite transgender author Leslie Feinberg to deliver their commencement address. They were shocked and angry when that request was denied because the administration considered Feinberg's message in appropriate for a commencement speech. In this article, Ormiston relates how she joined with other classmates to protest the president's decision and take action to bring Feinberg to campus to speak at their commencement. Ormiston weaves her story of activism and coalition-building around the particular issues of gender theory and transgender activism that she learned from Feinberg's book Stone Butch Blues, which had been assigned in one of her courses. In this way she connect her own struggle with the larger themes of gender bias and equity. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><p> <LI><a NAME="spratlen"></a><I><B>Negotiating Legacies: Audre Lorde, W. E. B. DuBois, Marlon Riggs, and Me</b></I> <p> -by Townsand Price-Spratlen <P> In this article, Townsand Price-Spratlen discusses the role that Audre Lorde, W. E. B. DuBois, and Marlon Riggs have played in forming his orientation towards, "praxis" as a queer scholar of African descent. he describes his praxis formation as "negotiating legacies," "an introspective process in which we attempt to learn the lessons of history by seeking to understand the contexts and contributions of our ancestors." Using Lorde's The Cancer Journals, DuBois's The Souls of Black Folk, and Rigg's Tongues Untied, the author illustrates how each of these figures contributed to various phases of his personal and professional development. Through this article, Price-Spratlen provides an example to others of how they may negotiate their own individual legacies. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><p> <LI><a NAME="athanases"></a><I><B>A Gay-Themed Lesson in an Ethnic Literature Curriculum: Tenth Graders' Responses to "Dear Anita"</b></I> <p> -by Steven Z. Athanases <P> In this article, Steven Athanases describes the responses of a multiethnic class of tenth graders to a lesson dealing with gay and lesbian experiences. The teacher of a course entitled "The Ethnic Experience in Literature" chose to introduce her class to Brian McNaught's essay "Dear Antia: Late Night Thoughts of an Irish Catholic Homosexual." Athanases describes the teacher's goals for the course, her curriculum, and student activities to support her goals. He then describes how the lesson itself unfolded, analyzing the essay that introduced the issue and the students' responses to it. Athanases shows how a careful selection of text, a classroom climate that welcomes thoughtful discussion of diversity, and sensitive treatment of gay and lesbian concerns can deepen students' understanding about identities and oppression, which, in the context of an ethnic literature curriculum, can help students develop a deeper understanding of the common ground that oppressed groups divided by difference share. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><p> <LI><a NAME="rensenbrink"></a><I><B>What Difference Does It Make? The Story of a Lesbian Teacher</b></I> <p> -by Carla Washburne Rensenbrink <P> In this article, Carla Rensenbrink explores the question of what difference it makes to be a lesbian teacher herself and for her students. Rensenbrink focuses her exploration by telling the story of Rosemary Trowbridge, a fifth-grade teacher who comes out as a lesbian to her students and colleagues. Drawing on interviews and visits to Rosemary's classroom, the author notes ways in which Rosemary's lesbianism does make a positive difference in the classroom. She makes connections between Rosemary's identity as a lesbian and the fact that her classroom represents a safe place where students feel comfortable questioning the culture and taking an active stand. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><p> <LI><a NAME="wickens"></a><I><B>Toward a Most Thorough Understanding of the World: Sexual Orientation and Early Childhood Education</b></I> <p> -by Virginia Casper, Harriet K. Cuffaro, Steven Schultz, Jonathan G. Silin, Elaine Wickens <P> Written collaboratively by five educators from the Bank Street College of Education, this article focuses on sexual orientation and early childhood education, an issue that is often overlooked. The authors describe research projects they have undertaken to explore elementary school teachers' thoughts and attitudes about sexual orientation in relation to children's sexuality and parents' sexual orientation. Building form there, they examine the connections between teachers' reflections of their own childhood experience and their current attitudes towards sexual orientation. They then move from exploring adult conceptions of family to examining those of children. Finally, the authors describe the process of transformation at Bank Street College as the institution struggles to include gay and lesbian lives in the early childhood and graduate school curriculum. Throughout the article, the authors continually connect their proactive stance for inclusion around sexual orientation with their larger vision of a more just and equitable society. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><p> <LI><a NAME="snider"></a><I><B>Race and Sexual Orientation: The (Im)possibility of These Intersections in Educational Policy</b></I> <p> -by Kathryn Snider <P> In this article, Kathryn Snider critiques the Toronto Board of Education's Triangle Program, a program designed for lesbian and gay youth who are at risk of dropping out of high school. She questions whether this program, which provides support for students coping with issues of sexual identity, can really work for lesbian and gay youth of color unless it also includes strategies that acknowledge how issues of sexual orientation interact with issues of racial identity. She locates this critique within the larger context of the Board's approach to multiculturalism and diversity in the schools. Rather than implementing a program that further marginalizes and isolates lesbian and gay students by removing them from mainstream education, Snider suggests, schools must make fundamental changes that work to eliminate racism and homophobia within the dominant educational structure. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><p> <LI><a NAME="wilson"></a><I><B>How We Find Ourselves: Identity Development and Two Spirit People</b></I> <p> -by Alex Wilson <P> Psychological theorists have typically treated sexual and racial identity as discrete and independent developmental pathways. While this simplifying division may make it easier to generate theory, it may also make it less likely that the resulting theory will describe people's real-life developmental experiences. In this article, Alex Wilson examines identity development from an Indigenous American perspective, grounded in the understanding that all aspects of identity (including sexuality, race and gender) are interconnected. Many lesbian, gay and bisexual Indigenous Americans use the term "two-spirit" to describe themselves. This term is drawn from a traditional worldview that affirms the inseparability of the experience of their sexuality from the experience of their culture and community. How can this self-awareness and revisioning of identity inform developmental theory? The author offers personal story as a step toward reconstructing and strengthening our understanding of identity. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><p> <LI><a NAME="blount"></a><I><B>Manly Men and Womanly Women: Deviance, Gender Role Polarization, and the Shift in Women's School Employment, 1900񮖈</b></I> <p> -by Jackie M. Blount <P> Drawing on historical data, Jackie Blount argues in this article that explanations for shifts in employment patterns of women educators for most of the twentieth century have overlooked the impact of homophobia and gender role stereotypes. As Blount notes, although women teachers, more than half of whom were single, outnumbered men by more than two to one in the early 1900's, this trend shifted radically in the fifteen years following World War II, when the percentage of single women in the teaching profession fell to half its pre-war levels. Similarly, the number of women superintendents also declined rapidly. Blount analyzes school policies and practices, events, and publications from the turn of the century to the 1970s to uncover the practice of sexually stigmatizing women who defied narrowly defined gender roles. She describes events and theories that led to increasing gender role polarization after World War II that pressured women into assuming gender-specific roles, attitudes, and appearances, and that led to increasing gender role polarization after World War II that led to campaigns to identify and dismiss those in schools who were thought to be homosexual. Blount cautions that homophobia continues to hold sex discrimination practices in place, particularly those connected with women seeking power in schools. She concludes with the thought that until gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender educators are valued in public education, the powerful forces that maintain gender role barriers are unlikely to be erased. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><p> <LI><a NAME="honeychurch"></a><I><B>Researching Dissident Subjectivities: Queering the Grounds of Theory and Practice</b></I> <p> -by Kenn Gardner Honeychurch <P> Can gay male and lesbian academies conduct queer research within the heterosexual epistemological frameworks prevalent in the academy? In this article, Kenn Gardner Honeychurch argues that lesbian and gay male researchers need to challenge the ways in which the exclusionary epistemologies, methodologies, and texts of a heterosexually constructed social order have denied the possibilities of non-heterosexual knowledges, practice, and texts. He points the way toward the construction of a new epistemology, and in the process shifts the territories of research by advocating that research be designed, conducted, and analyzed from a "queer position." By taking a "queered position" in social research, the researcher challenges the dominant worldview in what may be known, who may be the knower, and how knowledge has come to be generated and circulated. In this way, lesbian and gay male researchers who declare their sexualities and study a subject of homosexualities contribute to more expansive cultural discourses. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P> <LI><a NAME="editors"></a><I><B>Cornel West on Heterosexism and Transformation: An Interview</b></I> <p> - The Editors <P> In the fall of 1995, deep in the midst of shaping and developing this Special Issue several Harvard Educational Review Editorial Board members had the opportunity to hear philosopher and scholar Dr. Cornel West speak at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. They enthusiastically reported back to us that in his talk, West, who is Professor of Afro-American Studies and of the Philosophy of Religion at Harvard, drew explicit and repeated connections between White supremacy, patriarchy, and heterosexualism. At the time, we were searching for an article that would illuminate the deep ties between different forms of oppression in the United States. We envisioned an article that would serve as a bridge from the diverse topics represented within this Special Issue to broad systems of power, privilege, and domination. Inspired by Dr. West's articulation of the above issues, as well as by his focus on democratic struggles for liberation, we asked him if he would be willing to be interviewed for our Special Issue. <P> Dr. West agreed, but he expressed concern that, as a heterosexual, he not displace "any of the gay, lesbian, or transgender voices." He went on to say: <blockquote> For me it is a privilege and really a blessing to be a part of the issue, because the issue that you are raising is very important. But as you know, it's important as well that one not come in from the outside, as it were. It is important not to push aside any of the voices that come from inside the movement itself. </blockquote> It was precisely his respectful concern that compelled us to request an interview with Dr. West. In addition, we found it very powerful, particularly in light of our largely heterosexual readership, that a heterosexual activist and scholar would repeatedly take a strong position against heterosexism. When cast in a way that made clear that this was an opportunity reach out to other heterosexuals and say to them, "If you're serious about being a democrat or a radical, then this piece of our struggle is essential." West readily agreed to participate. <P> In this interview with HER Editorial Board members Vitka Eisen and Mary Kenyatta, Cornel West offers a vision of a democratic struggle that is inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He places heterosexism within the context of capitalism, establishing connections to other forms of oppression. He also reminds us that, as democratic educators, we continually have to examine the ways in which we may internalize, and therefore perpetuate, patriarchy and homophobia in our lives and our teaching. West shares some of his personal struggle facing his own homophobia, and he emphasizes the importance of so-called straight people joining their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the effort to dismantle heterosexism and other systems of oppression. <P> <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><br> </ul> <HR> <p><a name="booknotes"></a>Notes on Books (Full Text):</p> <p> </p> <LI><A NAME="walling"></a><I><B>Open Lives, Safe Schools </b></I><p> edited by Donovan R. Walling.<P> <I>Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1996. 284 pp. <R>$30.00 (paper).</I> <P> Open Lives, Safe Schools has a clear political agenda: it is a response to what editor Donovan Walling calls the Religious Right's "systematic campaign of hatred and intolerance that targets gay men and lesbians for harassment and discrimination" (p. 2). Donovan describes the Religious Right as having a "pervasive power lust" that manifests itself in public policy, including educational legislation. For example, Senator Jesse Helms, the Republican Senator from North Carolina and Congressional ally of the Religious Right, proposed an amendment to the recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that would have prevented ESEA funds from supporting any program that encouraged or supported "homosexuality as a positive lifestyle alternative" (p. 2). Such legislation, Walling argues, censors educational dialogue and puts gay and lesbian students "at risk" by keeping information from them that would reaffirm their life decisions. This book attempts to address the "risk" of being a gay or lesbian student, parent, or educator by providing a listing of gay and lesbian resources and a dialogue about "a number of important gay and lesbian issues in education, from the coming-out processes of students and adults to gay-positive/gay-visible curricula to parenting and family concerns" (p. 3). <P> Open Lives, Safe Schools is divided into five sections. In Part One, "Professional Issues," four educators provide personal narratives recounting their experiences coming out to students and colleagues. Each essay in this section is short, engaging, and honest. For instance, Dan Woog, a high school soccer coach, tells of how his secrecy inhibited his interactions with his players and other students, while his coming out allowed students and staff to openly discuss gay and lesbian issues. <P> Part Two deals with curricular issues. Arthur Lipkin's chapter leads this section, making "The Case for a Gay and Lesbian Curriculum." He provides practical, sound advice for teachers interested in incorporating a gay and lesbian curriculum in their teaching of health and sex education, social studies, and literature. He considers the need for staff development and the use of age-appropriate materials. Lipkin's work is followed by two essays that argue for the use of gay and lesbian literature in elementary and secondary classrooms. This section also includes three essays about gay and lesbian studies programs in higher education, two of which examine programs in Australia and England, providing an international flavor to this volume. This section concludes with Ian Barnard's seven suggestions for "antihomophobic pedagogy." This is a simple, prescriptive list, without a critical review of the ideas presented. These suggestions range from "We should not assume that all our students are straight" (p. 136) to "Lesbian and gay teachers should come out to students" (p. 141). <P> Part Three is an eclectic mix of articles organized under the rubric of "Youth, Parents, and Families." The section begins with a reprint of Lynn Johnston's newspaper comic strip, "For Better or For Worse." In this particular strip, a teenage boy grapples with his sexuality and ultimately comes out to the comic strip's protagonist. Next, David Timothy Aveline and Kathryn Brown examine questions about homosexuality that students at a midwestern university submitted for discussion at gay/lesbian/bisexual speaker panels. Shulamit Kleinerman, a student at Northfield Mt. Hermon school, provides a first-hand account of a conundrum of youth - she's old enough to understand her own sexuality but not old enough to avoid the patronizing appraisals of adults who pay little respect to her experiences and knowledge. <P> The fourth section examines some well-publicized responses to gay and lesbian issues. Rita Kessen investigates the effects of anti-gay ballot initiatives in Oregon and Colorado. Virginia Uribe, the founder of Project 10 in Los Angeles, presents her program as a model for replication. Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network, shares his lessons learned in moving from a "closeted, traumatized young teacher who lived in dread of being fired" (p. 251) to a nationally known activist. <P> The final section of this volume is a resource guide that focuses on bibliographies, directories, curricular and professional issues, and available print and video materials on topics such as parents and families. This is a relatively short resource guide, intended only to provide a starting point for readers interested in obtaining more information. <P> Overall, this is a useful volume for educators interested in practical discussions about gay and lesbian issues in education. In keeping with the book's political agenda, the works chosen for this compendium offer little self-criticism and lots of advocacy. Many of the articles have been printed elsewhere, but their thematic organization and engaging writing styles make the book an enjoyable read. <P> d.a.g. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="sherman"></a><I><B>Uncommon Heroes: A Celebration of Heroes and Role Models for Gay and Lesbian Americans</b></I><p> edited by Phillip Sherman and Samuel Bernstein.<P> <I>New York: Fletcher Press, 1994. 261 pp. $25.00 (paper). </I><P> With a moving preface by Jeanne Manford, the founder of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and an introduction by executive editor Phillip Sherman, Uncommon Heroes launches into over one hundred one-page inspirational portraits of gay and lesbian people, complete with captivating black-and-white photographs of each individual. Both Manford and Sherman talk about the inspiration they draw from these courageous stories. Manford reflects on the first time she joined her son Monty on a march for civil rights, and her resulting commitment to PFLAG. Sherman discusses his own coming out process and notes that knowledge of accomplished gays and lesbians would have helped him and his family. He muses, <blockquote>"I didn't want to be gay [as a youth] because I thought it meant I would never be able to accomplish the things I dreamed about: building a business, going into politics, or having a home one day with someone I love" (p. ii). </blockquote> <P> Uncommon Heroes is a collaborative effort to make visible the accomplishments of gays and lesbians and transform public perceptions of the gay and lesbian community. Over seventy writers, journalists, filmmakers, and photographers contributed stories and photographs. The individuals profiled in this book are as diverse as those who collaborated in bringing the book to publication. There's John McNeill, the ex-priest and psychotherapist who founded Dignity, a fellowship of lesbian, bisexual, and gay Roman Catholics; Elizabeth Birch, a corporate attorney who helped Apple Corporation shape a policy to extend benefits to employees' domestic partners; Cleve Jones, an activist whose 1987 memorial in cloth to a friend who died of AIDS grew into the Names Project/AIDS Memorial Quilt honoring all those who have died of AIDS; Audre Lorde, a poet and philosopher whose five decades of writing challenge racism, sexism, and homophobia; Congressman Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of the U.S. Congress; and youth activist Lyn Duff, who, at age seventeen, published 24ǉ: Notes from the Inside for teens who are or have been in psychiatric institutions - some of whom, like Lyn, were forced into treatment to "cure" them of their lesbianism. <P> This book is an important resource for adolescents and adults who may want to learn about gay and lesbian people or who may be seeking positive role models for themselves. This very readable and visually arresting volume is the type of book that captures people's attention and invites them to discover the richness and magnitude of the gay and lesbian community. Many of the names in this volume are well known - Greg Louganis, Rita Mae Brown, Harvey Milk, k.d. lang, Martina Navratilova, and Elton John, for example, are all national or even international heroes, role models, or persons of some renown in their fields. But Uncommon Heroes includes the stories of less well-known gays and lesbians as well. It is these "ordinary" heroes' accomplishments that most caught my attention. Rob Sandoval and Bill Martin, after twelve years of partnership, adopted a son, Harrison, and in so doing challenge and redefine our common notions of parents and parenting. Jared Nall's protest of President Clinton's position on gays in the military would lead to his spending his senior year in high school as an outcast and his long-term commitment to gay and lesbian activism. Ayofemi Folayan, an African American lesbian with disabilities, reflects that "growing up lesbian in a family full of Pentecostal ministers was like being an Eskimo who landed in the middle of the Sahara desert" (p. 40). The stories are both humorous and inspiring. The few short paragraphs about each individual make evident the courage, dignity, and commitment of each of these extraordinary men and women. As Jeanne Manford acknowledges in the preface, <blockquote>"This book is important for two reasons: gay and lesbian people desperately need to come face-to-face with gay and lesbian people who positively represent a diverse and proud community that is so poorly understood; and the rest of us need to eliminate our own ignorance and prejudice" (p. i).</blockquote> Uncommon Heroes merits the attention of anyone interested in the lesbian and gay community and lives of action. <P>j.b. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="kaufman"></a><I><B>Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth - and Their Allies</b></I><p> by Ellen Bass and Kate Kaufman.<P> <I>New York: HarperPerennial, 1996. 432 pp. $14.00 (paper). </I> <P> In Free Your Mind, Ellen Bass and Kate Kaufman have written a unique and practical handbook for "lesbigay" teenagers and college students that presents a refreshingly positive portrayal of lesbian and gay youth. <P> Like other authors, Bass and Kaufman acknowledge the harsh statistics: lesbian and gay youth represent up to 30 or 40 percent of runaway youth and 30 percent of youth suicides. But, unlike others, Bass and Kaufman point out that "these grim statistics are part of the picture, they're not the whole story" (p. xx), and Free Your Mind offers a more holistic portrait of lesbigay youth. In the words of Doe, a twenty-three-year-old lesbian: <blockquote> I've been active in lesbian and gay youth groups and we are not just suffering. We're challenging the boundaries. We're challenging the way relationships are viewed. We're challenging the way sexuality is defined. We're not apologizing. We're not hiding. We know what we deserve. We're proud of who we are. We are groundbreakers. (p. xvi)</blockquote> This positive and respectful attitude is found throughout the book's six sections. The first section, on self-discovery, includes a discussion of fundamental questions such as, "What does being gay, lesbian, or bisexual mean?" and "Why are people gay?" The reader learns that "sexual orientation is more about who you truly are drawn to than what your experience has been" (p. 6) and that the question of why people are lesbigay is less important than the fact that they are. As Bass and Kaufman point out: <blockquote>Interestingly, although there is quite a lot of talk about why gay people are gay, no one has done much research on why straight people are straight. The reason for this, of course, is that much of our society still presumes that being heterosexual is "normal" and therefore needs no explanation, whereas being gay, lesbian or bisexual is abnormal and so needs to be caused by something. In fact, homosexuality, bisexuality, and heterosexuality are all simply variations of human sexuality. (p. 8)</blockquote> <P> The other five sections of Free Your Mind focus on coming out to friends and family; overcoming obstacles at home, at school, in places of worship, and in the community; and making healthy choices about relationships and sex. Throughout the book, the authors weave together practical advice and the voices of youth. <P> For example, in the chapter on sex, Bass and Kaufman address the value of relationships that aren't sexual as well as those that are. The reader is told that if "for any reason it's not right for you to have sex now, respect that," and learns about Sara, who did not have sex as a teenager but had "a very rich fantasy life [and] felt like a very sexual person" (p. 103). The authors also share lesbigay youths' stories of positive first sexual experiences, some of which "mark the beginnings of long relationships [and] others [that] may happen only once" (p. 104). Another chapter focuses on "HIV, AIDS and Safer Sex." Free Your Mind encourages HIV-positive youth and their friends to have safe sex and not to "do anything that's going to get you [sick]" (p. 109). The chapter outlines specific guidelines and advice on safe-sex activities, including creating safe barriers for oral sex with women, how to use a latex condom, and sample scripts to use with a partner who doesn't want to practice safe sex. <P> Free Your Mind also has chapters written specifically for parents, educators, clergy, social workers, and members of the community. The chapter for educators includes information on how schools are not safe places for lesbigay students, what educators can do to make schools safer, and curriculum ideas for elementary, middle school, high school, and college. <P> Another impressive feature of this book is its inclusion of biographical notes about well-known lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, such as the poets Sappho and Pat Parker, the musicians Bessie Smith, Johnny Mathis, and Liberace, the athletes Greg Louganis and Martina Navratilova, and the mathematician Alan Turing. This special, first-rate resource book is highly recommended for lesbigay youth and the people who care about them. <P> i.h. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="jennings1"></a><I><B>Becoming Visible: A Reader in Gay and Lesbian History for High School and College Students </b></I><p> edited by Kevin Jennings.<P> <I>Boston: Alyson, 1994. 296 pp. $9.95 (paper). </I> <P> Becoming Visible is a one-of-a-kind resource for teachers and students interested in gay and lesbian history. Editor Kevin Jennings, a high school history teacher who cofounded the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network in 1990, has collected a series of engaging and insightful readings, many recently published, that help to place the present-day struggles of gays and lesbians in the United States in a broad historical context. Jennings identifies two primary audiences for this reader: 1) teachers and students in high schools and colleges seeking primary and secondary materials about gay and lesbian history; and 2) general readers in search of a thoughtful introduction to gay and lesbian history. <P> The thirty-nine readings in Becoming Visible address a broad range of topics in a lively and thought-provoking manner. For example, in an excerpt from his 1980 book Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, John Boswell states that <blockquote>Roman society was strikingly different from the nations which eventually grew out of it in that none of its laws, strictures, or taboos regulating love or sexuality was intended to penalize gay people or their sexuality; and intolerance on this issue was rare to the point of insignificance in its great urban centers. Gay people were in a strict sense a minority, but neither they nor their contemporaries regarded their inclinations as harmful, bizarre, immoral, or threatening, and they were fully integrated into Roman life and culture at every level. (p. 47)</blockquote> <P> Jennings, in his introduction to this reading, explains how scholarly interest in attitudes towards sexuality in classical Greece and Rome remains intense, and how Boswell's research has generated considerable controversy by identifying people as "gay" in an era and place when heterosexuality and homosexuality were not so rigidly defined as in modern times. <P> Other selected readings provide similarly valuable windows on gay and lesbian history. Bret Hinsch describes how homosexuality was a common practice among several Chinese emperors in ancient Chinese society. Walter Williams discusses how the cultural traditions of some Native American tribes included the berdache, in which men assumed the role of women. Randy Shilts explains the crucial role of a gay soldier in the American Revolution: Baron Friedrich von Steuben, of Germany, who revived George Washington's Continental Army by introducing discipline throughout the militia, earning him the appellation "The Father of the American Army." Blanche Weisen Cook describes Eleanor Roosevelt's intense relationship with Lorena Hickok. Hubert Kennedy writes about how Karl Heinrich Ulrichs presaged the modern gay rights movement by publicly addressing the German Congress in 1867 in an attempt to persuade the legislators to repeal anti-gay laws. Heinz Heger, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, relates his experiences amidst the horrors of the Holocaust as a gay prisoner. Stuart Timmons gives a biographical sketch of Harry Hay, who founded the Mattachine Society in 1950, the first ongoing gay-rights organization in the United States. Martin Duberman offers a vivid account of the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969 and the early origins of "Gay Pride Day." Overall, Becoming Visible includes a wealth of readings that helps broaden and deepen readers' understanding of gay and lesbian history. Jennings provides a succinct and informative introduction for each of the seventeen chapters in the reader. For those interested in using Becoming Visible in the classroom, Jennings also includes a set of "important terms," discussion questions, and activities for each chapter. A six-page appendix also features brief notes for teachers specifically geared to each chapter in the book. Jennings ultimately views Becoming Visible as "the beginning of a conversation": <blockquote>[The book] does not pretend to be "all you ever wanted to know about gay history." I am well aware that it is weighted toward the experience of White gay men; that's where the scholarship has been done. Numerous topics still need to be addressed. I hope to look back one day when many books like this have been published and smile at the shortcomings of this work. I hope it helps to begin the long-overdue process of developing the materials we teachers need to teach lesbian and gay history. As a historian, I feel the excitement of a new beginning, but I look forward to the day when books such as this will be commonplace. (p. 17) </blockquote> <P> e.j.m. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="remafedi"></a><I><B>Death By Denial: Studies of Suicide in Gay and Lesbian Teenagers </b></I><p> by Gary Remafedi.<P> <I>Boston: Alyson, 1994. 205 pp. $9.95 (paper). </I> <P> Educators, psychologists, sociologists, and human service and medical professionals have heightened their concern for and increased their research efforts into adolescent suicide. Their increased interest is due in part to the dramatic rise in suicide rates among U.S. adolescents over the past thirty-five years, and because suicide is now the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States (p. 7). Even more alarming, however, is that epidemiological evidence reveals that the incidence of suicide attempts among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth is much higher than it is among heterosexual youth. Despite this disparity among the suicide attempt rates, research specific to gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescent suicide is very limited. <P> Death by Denial: Studies of Suicide in Gay and Lesbian Teenagers offers an antidote to the dearth of research in this area by bringing together six research articles previously published between 1983 and 1993, plus two unpublished articles about suicide among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Several articles in Death by Denial identify and discuss challenges that are specific to the development of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trangender identity. In one of these articles, "Gay Male and Lesbian Youth Suicide," author Paul Gibson, a licensed social worker, discusses fifteen different risk factors associated with gay and lesbian suicide. For example, gay and lesbian adolescents have to contend with societal oppression and discrimination toward homosexuals; their own potential to internalize the images and portrayals of homosexuals as sick or bad people; potential rejection of parental or family love and connection due to their sexual identity; feeling sinful because their sexual orientation is incompatible with their own or their family's religious beliefs; harassment and abuse by peers due to their homosexuality, often leading to social isolation; or professionals labeling them as pathological and sick. Gibson also discusses how the threat of AIDS and the lack of positive images and adult gay and lesbian role models contribute to the stresses and risk factors for suicide affecting today's gay and lesbian youth. <P> In the article "Violence against Lesbian and Gay Male Youths," Joyce Hunter documents the frequency of violent attacks on gay and lesbian youth who seek counseling, education, or health services at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City, and the associated suicidal behavior of these adolescents. She uses a sample of five hundred self-identified gay or lesbian adolescents, aged fourteen to twenty-one years, many of whom are Black or Latino. Hunter finds that 46 percent of reported assaults were gay-related, and that 61 percent of these gay-related assaults occurred within the victim's families. She found further that 41 percent of these girls and 34 percent of these boys tried to kill themselves. While Hunter points out that this correlation is not conclusive of a link between gay-related violent assault and suicide, her study does indicate a potential connection. Accordingly, Hunter makes a plea for further research into the possible association between gay-related assaults and suicide among adolescent victims of these assaults. <P> Other articles in Death by Denial include "Parasuicide: Gender and Gender Deviance" by Joseph Harry and "Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth: Breaking the Silence in Schools and in Families," a 1993 report by The Massachusetts Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. By compiling these articles on gay and lesbian suicide, Death by Denial offers concerned educators and professionals an important resource on issues that researchers and clinicians theorize may account for the increased incidence of suicide among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Author and editor Gary Remafedi reminds us that when educators and human service professionals ignore the reality of the high incidence of gay and lesbian suicide among adolescents, it is "tantamount to sanctioning death by denial" (p. 13). <P> h.s.g. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="mollenkott"></a><I><B>Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?: A Positive Christian Response </b></I><p>by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott.<P> <I> San Francisco: Harper, 1994. 242 pp. $12.00 (paper). </I> <P> "Who is my neighbor?" With these words, the student of the Hebrew law hoped Jesus would delineate for him more clearly just whom, as a good, righteous Jew, he was to love. He thought he knew how to love God, but apparently he was unsure about exactly who was included in the category of "neighbor," whom he was to love as himself. Jesus's reply has come to be known as the parable of the Good Samaritan. We can only guess what the young lawyer thought about the story. Samaritans were among the most despised of all the earth's peoples in the eyes of the Jews. <P> In their preface to Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Mollenkott explain how the teachings of Jesus inform their mission and how "the question that makes up the title of this book shouldn't be necessary" (p. iv): <blockquote>Jesus made it clear that every person is our neighbor. And the Bible likewise makes clear our responsibility to our neighbor: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."Yet, all too often, the Bible is brandished as a weapon to clobber gay and lesbian people. Claiming to be doing the will and work of God, some Christians are hurting their neighbors, bearing false witness against them, and assaulting their dignity and sense of self-worth. It was in the hope of alleviating such hurtfulness (which harms us all) that we wrote the first edition of this book, and our purpose remains the same as we send out this updated edition - a radical revision and expansion that both we and our publisher felt was called for in these changing times. (p. iv) </blockquote> <P> A dramatic story lies behind the writing of this book. Scanzoni and Mollenkott, both evangelical Christians, scholars, and theologians, began their collaboration while working on a treatise on Christian ethics. That collaboration led to one of the authors revealing that she was a lesbian. The powerful emotional response of both to that event convinced them of the need to write a book not on ethics in general, but on homosexuality and how Christians ought to respond ethically to the issue. <P> Scanzoni and Mollenkott challenge the Christian Right's dogmatic, preemptory, and blanket condemnation of homosexuality and homosexuals. The foundation for the authors' challenge rests on the Bible, the same Bible used by those who would condemn their fellow human beings. The authors use basic principles of hermeneutics, or Biblical interpretation, to invite those who conclude that the Bible categorically condemns homosexuality to reconsider their position thoughtfully and prayerfully. <P> Scanzoni and Mollenkott acknowledge that to suggest that Christians reconsider their views on homosexuality carries some danger. Those who care for the stigmatized become subject to potential stigmatization themselves. Scanzoni and Mollenkott take Jesus as their role model in these matters: <P> Jesus knew all about stigma. He never hesitated to move among the oppressed people of his day, including the most despised social outcasts. He went about his ministry without worrying about the aspersions upon his character, his motives, his righteousness. (p. 154) This book is a must read for any Christian who takes seriously Jesus's command to "love your neighbor as yourself." Scanzoni and Mollenkott conclude Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? with a challenging passage from the Bible: <blockquote> Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers and sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from [God] is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also (I John 4:20ᆩ, New Revised Standard Version). (p. 198)</blockquote> <P> b.n. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="jennings2"></a><I><B>One Teacher in Ten </b></I><p>by Kevin Jennings.<P> <I> Boston: Alyson. 1994. 287 pp. $9.95 (paper). </I> <P> Gripping, poignant, powerful, emotionally charged - these descriptors merely scratch the surface of what can be said about the stories that unfold within the pages of One Teacher in Ten, a collection of essays written by gay and lesbian educators. The work is the brainchild of Kevin Jennings, cofounder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network (GLSTN). In 1992, Jennings issued a call to gay and lesbian educators for submissions for the book, hoping to elicit stories that would serve as encouragement and support for other gay and lesbian educators. The end-product contains thirty-six contributions from teachers whose stories of personal struggle and courage serve as powerful lessons for their students and other educators. The stories told in One Teacher in Ten reach a global audience; they touch any reader, gay or straight, male or female, of different races and ethnicities - anyone who has faced oppressive circumstances or who has at any time in their lives felt invisible. In a poem written by a lesbian teacher entitled "You Can't Tell by Looking at Me" (p. 79), Christine Robinson quotes Adrienne Rich on the condition of invisibility: <blockquote>Invisibility is a dangerous and powerful condition, and lesbians are not the only people to know it. When someone with the authority of a teacher describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic dis-equilibrium, as if you looked in the mirror and saw nothing. </blockquote> <P> The book's poignancy centers on the power of its stories to describe the dimensions and consequences of this invisibility, the state of living and working in situations where part of your being is denied, is not made visible. Through stories of early childhood, of their own experiences as students in school, and of their lives as "closeted" or "out" educators, the authors in One Teacher in Ten reveal their courage and fortitude. The text demonstrates the pedagogical impact of being whole, and how these teachers, through their struggle for the right to be themselves and to be respected, serve as role models for gay, lesbian, and heterosexual adolescents. <P> In his introduction, Jennings addresses the one downfall of the book: the collection is limited in terms of the racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of the authors. Although Jennings was encouraged by some of the progressive changes evident in the vignettes submitted by these educators, the lack of diversity reminded him that "some members of the gay and lesbian community are not as free as others, even if the times were changing" (p. 12). In particular, few stories were submitted by teachers from the South or by gay and lesbian educators of color. The strengths of the book, however, far outweigh its weaknesses. One Teacher in Ten is a valuable contribution to the literature on the lives of gay and lesbians and, more specifically, on the contributions of gay and lesbian educators to school communities. The book is a wise addition to any course syllabus for educators interested in and attempting to promote dialogue around issues of multiculturalism and diversity. <P> k.l.m. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="unks"></a><I><B>The Gay Teen: Educational Practice and Theory for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adolescents </b></I><p>edited by Gerald Unks.<P> <I> New York: Routledge, 1995. 250 pp. $16.95 (paper). </I> <P> In The Gay Teen, Gerald Unks has collected a series of articles that explore gay and lesbian educational issues from a variety of perspectives. The first set of articles introduces the reader to lesbian and gay adolescents, offering a broad overview of developmental and interpersonal issues facing lesbian and gay youth. <P> The second set of articles, which I found to be the strongest section in the collection, focuses more on practice. These articles make a case for lesbian and gay curriculum reform efforts, offer specific suggestions for teaching gay and lesbian literature, and examine lesbian and gay issues in high school athletics. Particularly powerful is the article by Eric Rofes, "Making Our Schools Safe for Sissies," in which Rofes explores the gendered struggle for boys who don't fall within the normative standard of enforced masculinity. Rofes describes the day-to-day reality of boys considered sissies in school - a reality all too often filled with verbal and physical abuse. He castigates both educational workers and members of the gay community for ignoring the plight of "sissy" boys in public schools. The brief article concludes with recommendations for school administrators and teachers. <P> Articles in the next section offer theoretical perspectives underlying educational practice involving lesbian and gay students. These essays address issues of race, identity, and resistance, and connect to other bodies of work on critical pedagogy and queer theory. <P> The final section of the book examines specific model programs that have been developed to help meet the needs of lesbian and gay youth. These articles look at school-based programs, gay/straight alliances within schools, and out-of-school support programs for young lesbians and gays. <P> Many of the articles in The Gay Teen are short, and do not provide an in-depth exploration of their subjects. However, taken together, these articles offer a broad overview of issues related to lesbian and gay youth in schools. In a single volume, readers can acquire an introduction to developmental perspectives, curriculum and pedagogy, and specific practice suggestions. Readers also have the opportunity to sample the work of scholars and practitioners such as Warren Blumenfeld, Karen Harbeck, James Sears, Kenneth Monteiro, Peter McLaren, Pat Griffin, and Virginia Uribe. The Gay Teen provides an important contribution to the growing body of work on lesbian and gay adolescents. <P> v.e. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="garber"></a><I><B>Tilting the Tower: Lesbians Teaching Queer Subjects </b></I><p>edited by Linda Garber.<P> <I> New York: Routledge, 1994. 280 pp. $15.95 (paper). </I> <P> If gay and lesbian teachers and students have been exiled to the margins of educational discourse, then lesbian discourse and lesbian educational studies in particular have suffered further silencing. What has passed for gay/lesbian scholarship has often been, in reality, studies of gay men, or essays of gay male experience with lesbians appended. Are there academic issues that are specifically lesbian? Who speaks for lesbians, and in speaking for lesbians, what other positions/identities are elided? Is there a lesbian studies? A lesbian pedagogy? <P> These are some of the questions the authors consider in this anthology edited by Linda Garber. In exploring lesbian subjects and pedagogy, Tilting the Tower joins the burgeoning field of lesbian and gay studies in education. The works gathered in this book represent a variety of perspectives and disciplines. Essays collected in the first section of the book focus on classroom issues in colleges and universities. The essays explore lesbian pedagogy and lesbian texts, coming out in college classrooms, and sexuality and eroticism in classroom communities. These brief articles are interesting and provocative, particularly those examining erotic tensions among lesbian students and between students and teachers. Another interesting essay, jointly written by several straight educators, explores these authors' attempts to grapple with sexual orientation in their college writing composition courses. <P> The essays in the next section of the book examine lesbian issues in high school classrooms. Essays collected in this section explore similar issues of representation, coming out and role modeling, curriculum, racism, and alliance building around oppression. <P> Articles in the final section of the book examine institutional issues, looking at a lesbian agenda within multiculturalism and within lesbian and gay studies. Other essays offer narrative perspectives on race, on "outness," and on the impact of the work of poet/activist/scholar Audre Lorde. <P> Like many other collections of essays about lesbian and gay subjects, Tilting the Tower offers a broad range of articles, a sampling of current thought, practical curricular suggestions, and narrative life experiences, which may help to introduce readers to the developing field of lesbian and gay studies in education. This collection increases the visibility of lesbian studies, and for that significant contribution, Garber and the authors she has gathered together in Tilting the Tower deserve appreciation. <P> v.e. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="woog"></a><I><B>School's Out: The Impact of Gay and Lesbian Issues on America's Schools </b></I><p>by Dan Woog.<P> <I> Boston: Alyson, 1995. 383 pp. $11.95 (paper). </I> <P> Journalist Dan Woog presents a collection of human stories of gay and lesbian educators and students and of the proponents behind support organizations such as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network (GLSTN); and Get Rid of Homophobia! (GROH!). Woog organizes School's Out into three sections - people, places, and programs. His intention is not to be all-inclusive but to present a diverse range of experiences from the United States. "What I have tried to do is open readers' eyes and minds; to whet appetites, and induce a hunger to learn more" (p. 15). What follows are the stories of educators and students from a variety of social, cultural, and racial backgrounds that, according to the author, "personalize lesbian and gay life" (p. 14). <P> The pages of School's Out overflow with stories of individuals who, in the face of adversity, overcome prejudice and hate, ultimately to flourish and teach others. Corey Canant, a teenager from Connecticut, comes out in his junior year of high school and becomes an advocate for gay teens by speaking to high school health classes as a representative of Your Turf, a Connecticut-based social and support group for gay adolescents. Connie Burns, a White teacher who attends a lesbian and gay march in Washington, DC, is seen on the television news by students and colleagues at the Buffalo, New York school at which she teaches. Reggie Sellars, an African American who was a football star at Yale, becomes a role model for the students he teaches at a prep school in Massachusetts. Thera Urist and Torey Wilson reflect on the challenges of being gay and lesbian student teachers and wrestling with whether or not to come out to their classmates and their students. Woog presents a diverse collection of stories from students, teachers, and administrators from private and public schools in urban, suburban, and rural settings around the United States. <P> Among the programs presented is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network (GLSTN), a national coalition of gay and straight teachers devoted to fighting homophobia in schools. Another featured program is Project 10, a school-based dropout prevention program for gay, lesbian, and bisexual teenagers. Each of the profiles is honest and inspirational, making the reader aware of the ongoing struggle to eliminate homophobia and create safe learning environments for all students. <P> Woog includes a resources section, which lists books, brochures, handbooks, journals, resource guides, curriculum materials, films, videotapes, audiotapes, resource agencies and organizations, selected school gay-straight alliances, school district programs, teacher organizations, and training programs and workshops. This collection is as comprehensive as it is engaging. Woog writes that after completing the interviews for School's Out, he "came away exhilarated by joy that so much is changing for the better," yet he implores us to continue the work of those presented in School's Out. <P> c.a.w. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="halperin"></a><I><B>The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader </b></I><p>edited by Henry Abelove, Michele Aina Barale, and David M. Halperin. <P> <I> New York: Routledge, 1993. 666 pp. $24.95. </I> <P> The editors of The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader have made an important contribution to the rapidly growing field of lesbian/gay studies with their compilation of forty-two influential essays. These readings cut across many disciplines, including philosophy, history, African American studies, and sociology. They illustrate how wide the spectrum of discussion is and illustrate that the topic is not limited to lesbians, gays, or bisexuals. <P> The reader features a variety of classic essays, such as those written by Adrienne Rich, Gayle Rubin, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Stuart Hall. Adrienne Rich's "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence," originally written in 1980, is an example of a work that has provoked discussion for over ten years. Rich argues that "heterosexuality, like motherhood, needs to be recognized and studied as a political institution" (p. 232). Accompanied by Rich's 1982 preface and 1986 afterward, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" exemplifies how an influential essay becomes part of an ongoing debate. <P> David Halperin, a coeditor of The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, makes a fascinating argument in his own essay, "Is There a History of Sexuality?" which addresses misguided discussions of sex as a bodily function, an issue that is void of "history and culture" (p. 416). Using Robert Padgug's classic essay, "Sexual Matters: On Conceptualizing Sexuality in History" (1979), Halperin draws examples from ancient Greece to reveal how <blockquote> "erotic desires and sexual object-choices in antiquity were generally not determined by a typology of anatomical sexes (male versus female), but rather by the social articulation of power (superordinate versus subordinate)" (p. 420).</blockquote> <P> Halperin's historical analysis complements well Sasha Torres's analysis of contemporary mainstream television programming. In "Television/Feminism: HeartBeat and Prime Time Lesbianism," Torres aptly develops an argument about how television has a "tendency to use feminism and lesbianism as stand-ins for each other" (p. 177). Linking feminism with lesbianism, in effect, provides the television industry with images of "strong women" - identified as young, middle- and upper-middle-class urban women - that advertisers "covet" (p. 178). <P> Despite their efforts to be comprehensive, the editors acknowledge that they have not included some distinguished, older works from authors such as Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Edward Carpenter, Jeannette Foster, and Alfred Kinsey. Nevertheless, the editors also include a bibliographical essay that can be used as a guide to the field as a whole. The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the topic of sexual nonconformity. <P> m.s. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="due"></a><I><B>Joining the Tribe: Growing Up Gay & Lesbian in the '90s </b></I><p>by Linnea Due. <P> <I> New York: Anchor Books, 1995. 272 pp. $12.95 (paper). </I> <P> What is it like, and what does it mean, to be young and lesbian or gay in the nineties? Seeking to explore and understand the experiences of lesbian and gay youth in the United States, lesbian writer Linnea Due embarked on a study that took her across the country observing youth groups, speaking with youth workers, reviewing the literature on lesbian and gay youth, and interviewing young gays and lesbians. These interviews form the heart of Due's sensitive and important book.<P> <P> The young people in this book are varied: they include rural and urban youth, drag queens and young butches, street kids and prep school students. Despite differences in race, class, and gender, these youth struggle with coming to frame their identities in both heterosexual and gay communities that have been, at best, less than welcoming. Indeed, one of Due's most provocative findings in this book is the lack of connection these gay and lesbian youth felt to adult lesbian and gay communities. Due reminds us that adult lesbian and gay communities cannot supplant what many of her interviewees have lost and yearn for: family members and positive relationships with their peers. She points out that the increased visibility of lesbians and gays in recent years has a double edge: lesbian and gay youth can name and understand their identities at earlier ages, but they are also more visible to hostile peers and family members. <P> Joining the Tribe offers a thoughtful and powerful portrait of several young lesbian and gay lives in stories that are humorous, frightening, painful, and triumphant. This book is important reading for lesbian, gay, and straight teens, youth workers, teachers, social workers, and all others whose work connects with the lives of adolescents. Young lesbians and gays will continue to explore the meanings of their identity, to find ways to be in the world, and to come out and survive. Without the committed support of adults, however, they may also continue to be overrepresented, as Due reports, among the adolescent suicide statistics. Due's book tells the tales of survivors, and it is a powerful call to understanding and to action. <P> v.e. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="kovick"></a><I><B>How Would You Feel If Your Dad Was Gay? </b></I><p>by Ann Heron and Meredith Maran; illustrated by Kris Kovick. <P> <I> Boston: Alyson, 1991. 47 pp. $6.95 (paper). </I> <P> "How would you feel if your dad was gay?" is the pivotal question in this children's book by Ann Heron and Meredith Maran. Jasmine, a third grader, shares with her class that she has three fathers: her divorced parents have each found male partners, yielding Jasmine's trio of dads. This immediately creates problems in school for Jasmine and her brother, Michael, as they face the taunts of other children and are not supported by passive teachers who don't intervene on their behalf. <P> Jasmine and Michael return home to discuss the issue, albeit grudgingly, with their father and his partner. Both men are understanding and supportive of Jasmine's need to share her family situation with her classmates and Michael's wish for secrecy. "If you don't want the kids at school to know your dad and I are gay, you should be able to keep that to yourself" (p. 16), says their father's partner. However, they do take up the issue with the school principal, who arranges to have a "doctor" visit the school and present to the students and faculty a slide show on different kinds of families. The doctor's objective is that the children understand that all the variations on the family are normal. The principal, Mr. Kay, wraps up the assembly with a stern, "It is not acceptable for any child in this school to call anyone names or treat anyone with disrespect" (p. 39). <P> Woven into the story is a subplot in which a boy named Noah wrestles with the idea of sharing with Michael the fact that his mother is a lesbian. He never does. Appropriate as a book to read alone or to read aloud for elementary school children, How Would You Feel If Your Dad Was Gay? would be useful for any classroom teacher or parent interested in teaching children about prejudice and different kinds of families. Kris Kovick's black-and-white drawings complement the story and present for the reader a cast of mostly African American characters. Ann Heron and Meredith Maran present a story for children that is forthright and sincere. <P> c.a.w. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a> <P><br> <P><P> <LI><A NAME="decrescenzo"></a><I><B>Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth: New Policies, New Programs, New Practices </b></I> <p>edited by Teresa DeCrescenzo. <P> <I> New York: Harrington Park Press, 1994. 186 pp. $19.95 (paper).</I> <P> Fifteen years ago, there were few books and articles that examined the experiences and explored the needs of lesbian and gay youth. Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth joins the growing body of literature attempting to address issues facing gay and lesbian adolescents. In this book, editor Teresa DeCrescenzo has collected a series of articles that offer insight into the development of gay and lesbian identities. Contributing authors explore issues pertinent to lesbian and gay adolescents with respect to law, social policy, health and development, and counseling. The book includes descriptions of model programs for lesbian and gay youth, including the Boston Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Youth, Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services in Los Angeles, the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York, and the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League in Washington, DC. <P> This book provides entry into a range of issues related to lesbian and gay youth through a series of interesting and informative articles that, while not necessarily provocative, should prove useful in their focus on the development of appropriate supports and services necessary to meet the needs of lesbian and gay youth and as a beginning point for further research. DeCrescenzo, a long-time advocate for lesbian and gay adolescents, has pulled together an array of articles that will be useful for social workers, advocates, teachers, policymakers, parents, and all individuals concerned for the healthy development of adolescent identities and sexualities. <P> v.e. <BR> <a href=#top>Back to top</a><br> <hr> <p> <p> <h4 align="left">Click <a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/%7Ehepg/herbiorder.html">here</a> to order this Special Issue of <i>Harvard Educational Review</i> </h4> <h4 align="left">Please click <a href="http://www.gse.harvard.edu/%7Ehepg/her.html">here</a> for the <i>Harvard Educational Review</i> homepage.</h4> <h4 align="left">Please click <a href="http://www.gse.harvard.edu/%7Ehepg/books.htm">here</a> for a full list of the books published by Harvard Education Publishing Group.<br> </h4> <p> <p> <a href=#top><font size="2">Back to top</font></a> <div align="center"> <hr> <!--The following navigation table provides links to HEPG homepage, HEP homepage, HER homepage, HEL homepage, HGSE news homepage, and secure order pages. --> <table border="1" width="100%"> <tr> <td width="18%"> <div align="center"><a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/%7Ehepg/">Harvard Education Publishing Group</a></div> </td> <td width="16%"> <div align="center"><a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/%7Ehepg/hep.html">Harvard Education Press</a></div> </td> <td width="22%"> <div align="center"><a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/%7Ehepg/her.html"><i>Harvard Educational Review</i></a></div> </td> <td width="21%"> <div align="center"><a href="http://www.edletter.org"><i>Harvard Education Letter</i></a></div> </td> <td align="center" valign="middle" width="7%"> <div align="center"><a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/news">HGSE news</a></div> </td> <td width="16%"> <div align="center"> <a href="https://secure.edletter.org/orderbooks/">Order Titles</a>/<br> <a href="https://secure.edletter.org/ordersubs/">Subscribe</a></div> </td> </tr> </table> <hr> <h3></h3> <h2 align="center"><font color="#990000">Harvard Education Publishing Group</font></h2> <div align="center"> <p><font size="2">Publishers of <i><a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/%7Ehepg/her.html">Harvard Educational Review</a>, <a href="http://www.edletter.org">Harvard Education Letter</a></i> </font><font size="2">and <a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/hepg/hep.html">Harvard Education Press</a> books<br> <a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/">Harvard Graduate School of Education</a> | <a href="http://www.harvard.edu">Harvard University</a> <br> Contact us at: 8 Story Street, 1st Floor, Cambridge, MA USA 02138<br> Phone: 617-495-3432 | Fax: 617-496-3584 | Email: <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a> </font><br> <font size="2"><a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/%7Ehepg/permissions.html">HEPG Permissions Policy</a> | <a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/webinfo/policy.html"></a><a href="http://gseweb.harvard.edu/webinfo/policy.html">HGSE Publishing Policies and Disclaimers</a></font><br> <font size="2">Last updated: July 14, 2003 | Questions or comments about the site: <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a><i><br> Copyright © 2003 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College</i></font></p> </div> <P> <div align="center"></div> </div> </body> </html>