Toward Transformative Gender Justice: Listening to Gender Non-Binary Individuals’ Experiences of School
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The primary purpose of this study is to investigate and understand gender diverse individuals’ retrospective accounts of their experiences of school and to interpret these experiences under the influence of deconstruction. A second purpose is to use these experiences to inform a model of gender-inclusive education.
In this qualitative study, semi-structured interviewing served as the primary method of inquiry. Eight gender non-binary adult participants were purposefully selected and individually interviewed. The participants were asked to describe their gendered experiences in K-12 schools. The secondary method of inquiry was a focus group interview in which seven participants were asked to offer suggestions for gender-inclusive schooling. Data from individual interviews was analyzed using two methods: open-coding, inductive analysis and a deductive analysis with Derridean deconstruction in mind. Data from focus group interviews was analyzed using open-coding and inductive analysis methods. Emerging themes were then analyzed in light of the literature, theoretical framework, research questions, and selected gender inclusive curricular materials.
Findings showed that participants felt little sense of belonging and safety in K-12 schools and that working toward gender-inclusive schooling (and Transformative Gender Justice) requires providing continuous educational opportunities (focused on learning about both gender writ large and gender diversity) to all members of a school community.