The Illusion Of Inclusion: Curricular Possibilities Amidst A Homonational Project
Curriculum and Instruction
In recent years, the LGBTQ community in the United States experienced many policy changes. Certain political advancements, which promise newfound protections and rights for LGBTQ individuals, might be considered an exceptional accomplishment toward inclusion. There is a lack of research, however, as to how this model of inclusion underpinned by heteronormativity and its appendage, homonormativity, which typically privileges white, well-to-do gay men, is incorporated into curricular resources and the ways in which these depictions and manifestations tie to national interests. As more resources become available to address LGBTQ issues, especially in schools, it is imperative to examine the practices by which these ostensibly progressive approaches may unintentionally reinforce the optimization of some LGBTQ students’ well-being to the detriment of other LGBTQ students – often along intersecting axes of race, gender, sexuality, and class. In particular, an area that warrants scrutiny concerns relations of power that inform conceptualizations of national LGBTQ “inclusion.” This project investigates what types of subjectivities LGBTQ curricular resources (re)produce and how these resources can also resist LGBTQ normativities. By applying a theoretical framework critical of inclusion to mainstream examples of LGBTQ curricular resources, I expose current and emerging approaches to LGBTQ inclusion as limited or exclusionary practices, reinscriptions of existing oppressive power structures, and part of a much larger project, homonationalism, which transform homonormative subjects into model members of the country. I conclude by offering educators suggestions to further “undo” homonationalism, as they, alongside their students, contemplate curricular and pedagogical possibilities for challenging the notion that there is an exemplary mode of being in the classroom and the world.