Challenging Heteronormativity : Practice, Activism and Impact

News of a fascinating conference in a couple of weeks time at Brunel from Fin Cullen.


I hope you may be interested in this forthcoming event CYWS & BGSRC to explore youth and LGBTQ issues.

Bridging policy, practice and research

May 14, 2013 from 1:30-5:30pm• Mary Seacole building, BRUNEL UNIVERSITY, UXBRIDGE

Michael Barron (Belongto)
Prof Ian Rivers (Brunel)
Jay Stewart (Gendered Intelligence)
Amelia Lee (LGBT YOUTH NW /Schools OUT)

Mark International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia at a half day event exploring how activists, youth practitioners and academics can work together in combating homophobia and challenging heteronormativity in work with young people.

Though presentations and discussion the seminar explores:

What lessons can be learnt from activism/practice?
How might youth research and theory on LGBTQ issues be used to challenge gender/ sexual inequalities in schools, colleges, youth settings and beyond?
What are the new areas of research collaboration where academics and activists can work together?
What are the opportunities and challenges in influencing policymakers on LGBTQ youth issues?

ALL WELCOME. For more details email Fin Cullen (

The day will start at 1:30pm on 14th May. The eventbrite to book a place is here:

The poster is here:

Please get in touch with any queries. Many thanks again in advance.
Warmest regards,


What is heteronormativity?

What is heteronormativity?Heteronormativity is a term used by social theorists in order to discuss the way in which gender and sexuality are separated into hierarchically organised categories. It has become one of the most important ways of thinking about sexuality within the academic study of sexuality. Theoristshave argued that a discourse or technique of heteronormativity has been set up, and subsequently dominates, social institutions such as the family, the state and education.Heteronormative discursive practices or techniques are multiple and organise categories of identity into hierarchical binaries. This means that man has been set up as the opposite (and superior) of woman, and heterosexual as the opposite (and superior) of homosexual. It is through heteronormative discursive practices that lesbian and gay lives are marginalised socially and politically and, as a result, can be invisible within social spaces such as schools.

Theorists have become interested more recently with bisexual, transgender and intersex lives. If one is able to exist between gender and sexual categories of identity, then one provides a counter argument to the idea that gender and sexuality are fixed and/or natural human characteristics and provide a way to challenge or ‘queer’ our understandings of these categories. Bisexual and transgender identities are able to be read in this way because law, science and education often talk about gender and sexuality as fixed, immovable and pre-ordained human characteristics that fit into either oppositional group (male/female and gay/straight). Political rhetoric also often follows this script. The idea that people can live in a different gender to the one they were born into, or refuse to identify as either male or female, or that people can have intimate sexual relationships with men and women and reject the gay or straight classification, demands that we re-think the way we understand gender and sexuality, what they mean and what they are and can be.

Emily Gray

Taken from Gender and Education Association


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