equity, race, out, heteronormativity, homophobia, visibility
Victoria: So it’s very interesting, because what I did find out, so there are, there are other same-sex couples at the school, obviously.
Victoria: We’re everywhere! As a matter of fact, the administrator of her school is a gay man, um, in a relationship, and um, they have a son. So that’s known. It’s very interesting though, the overall school environment, right?
Victoria: I actually went to the school to complain about an issue connected to race-
Victoria: Last year. There had been an incident where the teacher had shown some inappropriate materials in the classroom, without any context, no discussion. Highly problematic, made my daughter very uncomfortable. She told me about it, so unbeknownst to her, and she will never see this video. But unbeknownst to her, I decided I had to take action, she didn’t want me to. And that’s the thing “Mommy, you raised these issues, you’re going to cause trouble for me, it’s going to be embarrassing for me, the teacher may retaliate against me” that kind of thing, right? But I had to do something. So when I um, had approached this principal about having the meeting, I sent an email, I didn’t get a response. I took it all the way to the superintendent before I ended up getting a response. I went in, and as I talked about the problems with these issues around race, I actually brought in other aspects like how in this school are we dealing with you know, issues of class, how are we dealing with, you know, issues of heteronormativity and homophobia, how are we? Like how are we having any of these conversations? So I was raising all different kinds of equity issues about what are you really doing here? Like if this teacher is engaging in this, then what else is happening?
Victoria: So, um, difficult conversation. I, not for me.
Victoria: I felt like I was doing a workshop.
Victoria: But I think it was really difficult for the administrator and his VP. They just seemed very, very uncomfortable with the whole conversation.
Victoria: I know that he, after the fact, did take action with the specific teacher around providing more support, and understandings of what the incident was and what happened. But um, I just don’t see a lot of action as a school. Um, I think individual teachers will engage in conversations and will work around all kinds of different equity issues. I shouldn’t even say that. Um, I don’t even think that’s true-
Tara: Would you for example-
Victoria: I think there’s a superficiality. I think there’s, I don- yeah.
Tara: For example, would you see teachers reading LGBTQ children’s books in the school?
Victoria: Um, yeah, probably not.
Tara: Would you see any kind of inclusion of LGBTQ historical figures in the curriculum?
Victoria: No. I.. No. I don’t see an active sort of… this is part of our world-
Victoria: And this is who we are and this is what we should just be discussing and what we should do normal. No. No. What I see is positive space posters on the wall-
Tara: Yes. So what do you think the uh, LGBTQ positive space posters on the wall actually does? What kind of work do you think it does?
Victoria: I think it does nothing. I think it provides lip service to something that’s trending right now-
Victoria: And popular. And it makes us look as if we, it’s putting lipstick on a pig. We have the things, the accoutrements of equity on the walls, right? So this school is a part of a set of schools I know where supposedly equity work is happening.
Victoria: But then these initiatives, um they fall short. They really are decoration without any substance. And I don’t see active talk about programming or curriculum, um, I, I, I see posters and lip service.