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date: 21 February 2020

Implications of Queer Theory for Qualitative Research

Summary and Keywords

Queer theory is a tool that can be used to reconsider sociopolitical, historical, and cultural norms and values. Similarly, in qualitative research, queer theory tends to analyze the narratives of LGBTQ+ people and groups in ways that seek to queer everyday experiences. Both the theoretical framework and the narratives collected and analyzed in qualitative research are significant to unpacking business-as-usual in and across sociocultural contexts. This is especially true for systems of schooling, whereby LGBTQ+ people and groups are marginalized through schooling and schools, a process of exclusion that is detrimental to queer youth who are learning in spaces and places specifically designed against their ways of being and knowing. The significance of qualitative research as it meets the framework of queer theory is that it offers a practically and institutionally queered set of voices, perspectives, and understandings with which to think about the everyday in schools. This becomes increasingly important as schooling has historically been a place in which LGBTQ+ students and groups have resided at an intersection, where the sociopolitical and cultural marginalization that keeps the status quo in place crosses with contemporary values that both interrupt and reify such histories.

Keywords: Queer theory, qualitative research, educational histories, curriculum, and pedagogy

Introduction

In 1993, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick asked a genre-defining question: “What’s queer?” (p. 8). The complexity behind this inquiry has historical and contemporary implications, particularly as they intersect with educational contexts. Defining “queer” is a task wrought with sociocultural, political, and historical challenges, as Sedgwick and other queer theorists (e.g., Butler, 1990; Cohen, 1997; Lorde, 1984; Halberstam, 1998) have argued. For example, even among an open set of possibilities and perspectives that is central to wresting with definitions, queer theory and the research that is engendered by and through queerness are not immune to questions of colonization and of co-opting narratives in the name of political agendas that call for equity but narrow the terms under which access is available (Cohen, 1997).

The multiplicity of dimensions, differences, and similarities that constitute queerness, its forever-fluid identities and forms, and numerous scholarly lenses answer Sedgwick’s question as a productive knot of possibilities. Within this knot there is a sense of temporality imbued with potential (Muñoz, 2009) that reaches through fictional discourses (Butler, 1988) and is grounded in everyday challenges. Queer literature is often characterized by theories that press for more fluid “both/and” perspectives, attention to everyday practices and policies that impact queer and questioning peoples, and modes of qualitative research that focus on the methodological opportunities afforded by various constructions of “queering” research practices and possibilities.

Queer theory and its relationship to qualitative research is significant to higher education, sociocultural understandings, and experiences for marginalized populations in schools for at least the following three reasons. First, there is a question about what queerness means, a question that is often unpacked through sociohistorical, contemporary, and self-reflexive lenses. Queerness is therefore one possible way to think about scholarly fields and offer a particular kind of critique of academic understandings. Second, as cis-normative and heteronormative perspectives remain the status quo for norms and values in everyday school culture, queer theory put into practice through qualitative research can serve as a powerful tool with which to shift historical and contemporary understandings in schools and communities. This is an intentional move away from deficit models of queer youth. A moment when research can redefine the image of the wounded queer child and focus on questions of agency within the challenges queer youth face in schools (e.g., Brockenbrough, 2012; Carlson & Linville, 2016; Wozolek, 2018). Finally, because the consequences for such scholarship strongly informs the ways of being and knowing of marginalized youth in schools, implications for this work are similarly significant. In sum, queer theory is therefore not only important to the productive movement of qualitative research and education, but also to questions of equity and access for some of the most vulnerable youth living and learning in schools today.

This article begins by giving a brief historical outline of queer theory. This is important because, as is discussed in the section “The Contours of Qual, Queer Theory, and Education,” educational places and spaces are significant to the historical contexts that have informed the field. Next, the article briefly defines the contours of queer theory in qualitative research and education. Then there is an exploration into the implications of queer theory and qualitative research as it is resonant with education. This examination is carried out by specifically looking at three facets: the implications of queer theory for academic understandings, the impact of the field on schools and schooling, and the influence that such theories and ideas have on the everyday lives of students. Finally, the article discusses potential next steps for the field as it continues to act as a bloom space (Stewart, 2010) for affective ideas, ideals, and possibilities.

Queered Histories

Queer theory has a rich, longstanding history of voices and perspectives that consistently and continually seek to define, redefine, and trouble the boundaries and borders of its theoretical frameworks and the multiple fields they touch (e.g., Abelove, Barale, & Halperin, 1993; Butler, 1990; de Lauretis, 1991; Halberstam, 1998, 2011; Hall, Jagose, Bebell, & Potter, 2013; Johnson, 2016; Johnson & Henderson, 2005; Sedgwick, 1993). In other words, queer theory was not ahistorical prior to 1991, when Teresa de Lauretis coined the term and thus named the field. In fact, it can be argued that those scholars and scholarship that are widely regarded as foundational were retroactively brought under the umbrella of the burgeoning field now known as queer theory. In short, it was not queer theory but work about queer ways of being and knowing that underscored the field prior to its early nomenclature.

Part of the difficulty in defining queer theory as it relates to qualitative research is that there have always been queer voices in qualitative work. Regardless of what is formally discussed in terms of queer ways of being and knowing (e.g., Gilbert, 2014; Sedgwick, 1993), whether it is hidden cultures that exist with an undercurrent of queer voices (e.g., Kumashiro, 2002; Pinar, 1998), or that which is explicitly and implicitly silenced from heteronormative spaces (e.g., Brockenbrough, 2012; Lorde, 1984; Miller & Rodriguez, 2016), queer perspectives and voices have always been, and continue to be, present. Whether do they this, for example, through broad social behaviors in science (e.g., LeVay, 1996; Stein & Plummer, 1994), or the arts (e.g., Halberstam, 2005), queer ideas permeate scholarly fields. In short, a complex web of queer theory has always existed in the form of narratives across qualitative research.

Although these stories are central to the metanarratives of the field, they ultimately belong to people and groups that compose a counter culture that is steeped in sociopolitical challenges and successes. These histories exist across layers of scale, from individual voices to polyvocal cultural understandings (Bakhtin, 1981; Gershon, 2018). For example, within the United States, queer theory resonates; from Two-Spirit identities (Driskill, Finley, Gilley, & Morgensen, 2011) and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, to Emily Dickinson’s love poems and Audre Lorde’s essays (Bronski, 2012). It has roots that reach from the Mattachine Society, extend to the Stonewall Riots, and are enmeshed with the AIDS epidemic. It is a culture that lives in rock and roll, the glam of the 1970s, and the glitter of Studio 54. Although not always identified as “gay” at the time, these spaces opened the epistemological closet (Sedgwick, 1990) of queer ways of being into the places of heteronormative culture. While figures like David Bowie and the discotheque were not always discussed in terms of queerness, it took a particular kind of heteronormative privilege not to see particular icons and places as having an eye toward the LGBTQ+ community.

Historically the policing of gender identity and expression and of sexual orientation has been a tool for privileging and maintaining cisgender, heterosexual, masculine norms and values (Bronski, 2012; Mogul, Ritchie, & Whitlock, 2011). Further, the controlling of queer people and places is rooted in White supremacy movements that continue to be, for example, colonial iterations used against indigenous groups (Driskill, Finley, Gilley, & Morgensen, 2011). Such cis-hetero hegemony also has historical recursions against Black bodies in the transatlantic slave trade (Tinsley, 2008) and iterations within the atrocities committed against LGBTQ+ people in the Holocaust (Plant, 1986). Finally, there are recurrences of racial and political stratification of queerness in urban spaces (Holmes, 2016). The normalized idea of queerness-as-illness has been used as a mechanism of control that was impacting people and groups well before the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) characterized “homosexuality” under “paraphilia,” or transgender and gender-variant individuals as having a “disorder” (Boehmer, 2002; Shapiro & Powell, 2017). Attending to this marginalization is significant because, as scholars like Cohen (1997) have argued, without an attention to “shared experiences of oppression and resistance . . . to shape consciousness” (p. 459), queer politics can unintentionally reify the very ideals they are designed to interrupt.

As queer spaces and places disrupted the cis-hetero patriarchy, these events proliferated across scholarly dialogues. The destabilization of normalized ideas about sex, gender, and power existed across theoretical conversations (Butler, 1990; Foucault, 1978; Rubin, 1984), and resonated with qualitative inquiry that was rooted in sociocultural implications (Bersani, 1987; Lather & Smithies, 1997). In other words, as scholars read across contexts and understood everyday activism as having as much significance as theoretical understandings, qualitative frameworks were deeply impacted.

As Allen (2016) argues, “queer theorists arrived on our bookshelves only after we had already imbibed the political and poetic nectars of intellectual activism and intersectional politics offered by Black lesbian and gay poets, essayists, and scholars” (p. 35). One only needs to see the work of scholars like Laud Humphreys (1970), Patti Lather and Chris Smithies (1997), Tomás Almaguer (1991), and Ellen Lewin (1995) to understand how qualitative work was touched by multiple contexts and perspectives, and is driven by voices across sociocultural, political, and historical spaces. From Kushner’s Angels in America to Sylvia Wynter’s work on gender and diaspora, qualitative work has been strongly influenced by queer voices; from places of art to theoretical spaces.

From the contours of the cartography of queer theory emerged two questions that have reverberated, as Gershon (2018) might argue, from historical ideals to contemporary concerns about the field. They are: “What can queer theory do?” and “How does queer theory exist?” As has been explored, queer theory exists across fields in part because of the epistemological and ontological closet that was constructed for the physical and emotional safety of LGBTQ+ people and groups. Additionally, the multiplicity of fields that are layered within queer theory occur because, as many scholars have argued (e.g., Allen, 2016; Almaguer, 1991; Lorde, 1984; Plant, 1986), “queer” is an idea that traverses the boundaries and borders of sociocultural precepts. It is important to note that while Cohen’s (1997) call for intersectional dialogue is now over 20 years old, it is often because of the multiple fields that queer theory touches that intersectional conversations tends to break into the camps of identity politics. For example, there are scholars who focus on Black queer feminists (Carruthers, 2018; hooks, 1989), Black queer masculinities (Alexander, 2006; Ferguson, 2004), queer LatinX studies (Hames-García & Martínez, 2011), Latinx studies (Cashman, 2018), and transgender studies (Stryker & Whittle, 2006), to name but a few. To be clear, exploring the multiple pieces of the assemblage that constitutes any person or group (Puar, 2007; Weheliye, 2014) is significant and vital to disrupting normalized understandings while honoring the intimate details that are central to one’s way of being. One only needs to think about the consistent and often deadly violence used against transwomen of color to realize just how vital these discussions are to disrupting the aggressions that land physically and affectively on particular, and in many cases intentionally targeted, bodies and minds. However, while there is significance in solidarity, it is equally important to attend to the ways that identity politics can further marginalize people and groups.

With regard to the question of “what can queer theory do?,” one possible answer can be found in the helping professions that have used this field as a tool to disrupt normalized understandings about sex, sexual orientation, and gender, as well as gender identities and expressions (Case & Lewis, 2012; Logie, Bridge, & Bridge, 2007; Rubin, 1984). As these helping professions tend to exist in parallel play with education, it is no surprise then that the development of queer theory in qualitative work would seep into educational spaces and places. Although these professions and contexts have deeply informed qualitative research, this article will now build on that history to show what queer theory can do as it intersects with qualitative research and schooling. Such work has deep implications for students as they live, learn, and “be” in schools. As academics think about the multiple spaces of possibility (Helfenbein, 2010) for these fields, there may be few concerns more pressing than the physical and emotional safety of students.

The Contours of Qual, Queer Theory, and Education

As cis-hetero violence against LGBTQ+ people and groups across contexts continues unabated, qualitative research has become one possible tool with which to disrupt the normalized aggressions suffered by queer communities. One of the central ways that queer theory interrupts or inverts status quo understandings is by normalizing that which was previously considered to be abnormal. Because qualitative research has a strong history of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar (Spindler & Spindler, 1982), its entanglements with queer theory imbue these fields with a reflexive eye (Lather, 1986) toward lived experiences in general and queer lives in specific. Queer theory as a theoretical framework in qualitative research engages scholarship in at least the following ways. First, in her discussion of ethnographic work and Spivak’s (1988) discussion of the subaltern, Ortner (2006) argues that “Spivak arrives at what any good ethnography provides: an understanding of both the meaning and the politics of the meaning of an event” (p. 60). This quality is not unique to ethnographic work and is central to strong qualitative scholarship (e.g., Brown, 2006; Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Mehan, 2000). Given queer theory’s imbrication with sociohistorical politics, Halberstam (2011) writes that queer theory similarly engages in Spivak’s (1988) attention to the politics of refusal through queerness. This is an attention to the many ways that queerness resists norms and values, often as an engagement in the resistance of political ideas and ideals. In sum, queer theory functions within the lines of qualitative research as a means to disrupt normalized ideals through an attention both to the event and the underlying understandings that are central to that event as it occurs, and to the analysis of what has happened. This is especially important as qualitative research is historically marked by colonizing projects that could potentially reify normalized understandings (e.g., Boas, 1888; Hewitt, 1903; Mead, 1928). While contemporary qualitative work attends to these histories and seeks to disrupt them in current iterations (e.g., Behar & Gordon, 1995; Gershon, 2018; Parker & Lynn, 2002), early-21st-century queer theory as it is imbricated with qualitative research can be a powerful tool for the interruption of White, cis-hetero patriarchal ideas and ideals.

Second, qualitative work inherently responds to the multiplicity of experiences and associated ways of being that are formed, destroyed, patched together, affirmed, and troubled by those experiences. Whether it is abductive, deductive, or inductive reasoning (Agar, 1996) that builds the analysis, qualitative research exists in the vulnerability of experiences (Behar, 1996). Queer theory used within qualitative scholarship opens what Sedgwick (1993) discusses as the “open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning . . . that are made, or can’t be made” (p. 8) in these experiences. To be clear, strong qualitative research tends to be fluid in its analysis of epistemological and ontological understandings. This engagement with fluid possibilities is only buttressed through a queer lens that has a longstanding history of being explicit in its fluid tendencies.

Finally, it should be noted that queer theory in qualitative research tends to be both a space of potential political action (Carlson, 1998) and a reflection on sociocultural norms and values. This is true across contexts, from the explicit autobiographical study of sexual encounters as an antiracist analysis of power (Reid-Pharr, 2013, p. 213) to archival research that focuses on queerness and postcolonial studies as a point of analysis and of disruption to educational structures (Coloma, 2006). For example, Lather and Smithies’ (1997) ethnography in many ways humanized HIV/AIDS during a time when women’s stories were largely invisible in the epidemic and overshadowed by the cognitive divorce with these narratives often caused by the quantitative tracking of the disease at the time. Similarly, in schools, researchers like Love (2017), Dumas and Nelson (2016), and Meyer, Tilland-Stafford, and Airton (2016) have used qualitative methods and queer theory to disrupt normalized ideas and ideals of schooling and academic spaces.

The map of qualitative research in schooling is formed in the classrooms, corridors, and coffins (Wozolek, Wootton & Demlow, 2016) that often constitute the context of education for LGBTQ+ youth. To read this map is to perform an analysis of sociocultural and historical norms as they intersect with the everyday experiences of schooling. This is because education is inherently impacted by broader social ideas and ideals. From Mary McLeod Bethune’s (1938) article arguing for the inclusion of marginalized voices in the curriculum to Jack Halberstam’s (2011) discussion that explicates ideals of success in terms of their negative impacts on children, a longstanding dialogue exists across intellectual traditions and fields that focuses on the multiple ways in which sociocultural norms and values affect marginalized student populations.

The history of queer theory is exceptionally significant to education because the historical marginalization and victimization of people and groups based on queerness is the same move that is often used to publicly and privately despoil the queer energies of LGBTQ+ youth in schools (Sedgwick, 1993). The erasure of queer perspectives from formal curricula is but one example of how queer counter-narratives are explicitly not taught in schools. This null curriculum, or what is left out of formal lessons (Eisner, 1985) impacts the hidden curriculum, or the broader school culture and the lessons students learn through simply being at school (Giroux & Penna, 1983), by teaching both queer and straight students that at best LGBTQ+ narratives are insignificant and, at worst, a problem. Just as the AIDS epidemic stigmatized queerness, and in particular Black male queerness (Bailey, 2016; Brockenbrough, 2016), AIDS is often discussed inaccurately and with little reference to LGBTQ+ history as a part of the STD/STI health curriculum in schools (Casemore, 2010; Gilbert, 2010; Sandlos, 2010). Further, the accomplishments and cultural contributions of LGBTQ+ identifying people and groups is largely left out of the curriculum across courses, from literature to the sciences (Gilbert, 2014; Quinn & Meiners, 2009).

These absences not only affect straight, cisgender students but also have a notable impact on LGBTQ+ youth. As the rates of self-harm and suicide continue to rise among queer youth (Kosciw, Greytak, Bartkiewicz, Boesen, & Palmer, 2010), the role of curricular absences (Pascoe, 2007; Sears, 1992), along with the discipline policies that disproportionally impact LGBTQ+ students (Mayo, 2014; McCready, 2007), and the continued normalization of transphobic and homophobic values in schools (Pinar, 1998; Whitlock, 2013) have become central concerns in scholarly dialogues. Additionally, the challenges that LGBTQ+ students face in K-12 classrooms and corridors does not exist in a vacuum and, as scholars like Miller and Rodriguez (2016) have argued, universities and communities are similarly impacted by the cis-hetero patriarchy.

Queer theory as it relates to qualitative research has been central to the interruption of LGBTQ+ youth marginalization. This disruption is multifaceted across schools and systems of schooling. Broadly discussed, at the K-12 level there is attention to the successes of LGBTQ+ youth in schools (e.g., Renn & Bilodeau, 2005); schooling as a safe space (Griffin, Lee, Waugh & Beyer, 2004; Weems, 2010); queer students’ responses to oppression (e.g., Grossman, Haney, Edwards, Alessi, Adron & Howell, 2009); violence against LGBTQ+ students of color (e.g., Cruz, 2011; Blackburn & McCready, 2009); the challenges and successes of Genders and Sexualities Alliances (Tierney & Dilley, 1998; Watson, Varjas, Meyers & Graybill, 2010; Wozolek, Varndell & Speer, 2015); as well as scholarship focused on queer teacher’s experiences (e.g., Endo, Reece-Miller & Santavicca, 2010; Kissen, 1996). Within the lens of teacher preparation, there are dialogues about anti-homophobic and anti-transphobic teacher training at both the K-12 and teacher-education levels (e.g., Gorski, Davis & Reiter, 2013; O’Malley, Hoyt & Slattery, 2009; Payne & Smith, 2011); the creation of anti-oppressive pedagogy (Kumashiro, 2002) that rethinks the normalization of classrooms as cis-straight-only spaces (e.g., Anyon, 2008; Letts & Sears, 1999; Sweet & Carlson, 2017); and the queering of normalized academic understandings (e.g., Britzman, 1995; Kumashiro, 2001). To be clear, these examples are broad categories that define the contours of queer qualitative work. As Pinar (1998) discusses, this kind of work is historically situated and continues to proliferate in ways that make it impossible to name all the studies or completely articulate the significance of each scholar’s contribution. What is important to remember is that as qualitative researchers continue to tell these stories, they can become both a collective and corrective counter-narrative against the cis-hetero patriarchy in schools.

Qualitative research as it relates to systems of schooling, schools, and queerness is, as discussed above, multifaceted in its dialogues. Additionally, the underlying provocation of queerness positions scholars to use “new narrative forms to enfranchise new relational modes” (Gilbert, 2014, p. xxi) in classrooms and corridors. This is important because schooling is designed to reify sociocultural norms and values concerning “intersecting dynamics of sexuality, gender, social class, race, bodies” (Pascoe, 2007, p. 3) as well as other ontological and epistemological ideals that are socially constructed. Although it has been 20 years since Bill Pinar (1998) articulated the necessity of queer theory in educational spaces as a form of resistance in the “highly conservative and highly reactionary field” (p. 2) of education, schools continue to be places where the physical and emotional safety of queer children is at risk. A response to the oppressive systems of schooling that created a context of harm for LGBTQ+ youth has been narratives that tend toward reflexivity, in both the self and social senses. This reflexivity constructs what Miller (1998) discusses as stories that make up the body of a queer curriculum. Such curricular forms are essential as they question the establishment and reification of hetero-masculine ways of being and knowing in current curricular models.

As this research continues to question what is, and envision what might be for students in schools, it has the potential to impact local, and less local, policies and practices. This is critical, as normalized oppression within these policies continually affects LGBTQ+ youth. For example, a topic of debate in the early 21st century across the United States is centered on how trans and gender queer youth are directly targeted through anti-inclusive policies regarding their ability to use the bathroom that aligns with their individual identities, rather than with the gender they were assigned at birth. Research and scholarship that focuses on how these policies have impacted trans and gender-fluid students along with their cis-gendered peers has a potential to influence how these policies get enacted in schools.

Finally, it is important to discuss how qualitative scholars have used queer theory in educational research as a means to begin and continue vital intersectional dialogues that attend to the complex assemblages that are students’ ways of being and knowing. Whether it is queering ideals of Black girlhood (Love, 2012), reimagining of Black boyhood (Dumas & Nelson, 2016), or empirical analysis of LGBTQ+ urban youth (Blackburn & McCready, 2009), qualitative research focused on queer people of color is significant in its reconsidering of identities in schooling. Everyday moments of being and becoming what Hucks (2016) refers to as an “intersectional warrior” in educational spaces are as much about fighting aggressions focused on race as they are about hostilities concerning queerness. The scholarship that attends to this everyday oppression within the double bind of queerness and race is central to building a counter-narrative against whiteness as it is further privileged by cis-hetero normalization.

While the work of qualitative educational researchers who queer systems of schooling through their scholarship has been instrumental in questioning heteronormative, business-as-usual in schools, it should be noted that this body of work is not without critique. Talburt and Rasmussen (2010) argue that educational research and the “queer project . . . follows certain traditions that often tethers itself to limited . . . imaginings of a need for a ‘subject’ of queer research and particular ideas of educational and political progress” (p. 1). Scholars have similarly called for the interruption of queerness as “representational vocabulary that simultaneously stabilizes and destabilizes” (Talburt & Rasmussen, 2010, p. 3) through a post-queer lens that seeks to challenge the categories that have pervaded LGBTQ+ research (Gilbert, 2014; Noble, 2006; Sears, 2009; Talburt & Rasmussen, 2010).

The post-queer turn is significant in that it seeks to move away from queerness-as-usual, a vision of queer in schools that often attends more to sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression than the queering of ideas, ideals, and norms (Noble, 2006; Sears, 2009). However, as Noble (2006) argues, like most post-movements, such turns toward the post often reify the very norms they are meant to interrupt while setting up a pre-post binary that, particularly in queer literature seeking to move away from binaries, limits queer imaginings.

It is also significant to note that qualitative research focused on schooling and queerness often talks about space and place, but with little reference to critical geography. Further, the imaginings of the queer body as a space and place of possibility also misses the inclusion of critical geography as it meets affective dialogues. Such geography includes images of mapping the body and sexuality. This is one potential future direction of the field because, as scholars like Tuan (1977) and Massey (2005) have argued, dialogues about space and place are necessarily about questions of identities, multiplicity, ontologies, epistemologies, and fluidity. These fields not only resonate with each other but can serve to further complicate the valuable conversations that take place in schools around bodies, genders, sexualities, policies, practices, and being.

Conclusion

Queer theory has a longstanding history that began well before the conception of the field. Its iterations have significantly troubled sociocultural norms and values in ways that have been instrumental in the reconsideration of normalized policies and practices. In academic work, this scholarship has been helpful in the dismantling of the cis-hetero patriarchy that has been normalized across academic spaces, from the buildings that represent the academy to the dialogues that embody scholarly thought. Queer theory has historically, politically, and interpersonally opened up a “mesh of possibilities” (p. 8), as Sedgwick (1993) argues, within academic spaces.

In schools, queer theory as a lens through which qualitative research is carried out and analyzed is a powerful tool against hegemonic influences that seek to continually marginalize LGBTQ+ youth. This is important because the everyday of schooling is designed to disenfranchise specific populations. This sociopolitically enacted exclusion crashes affectively on the bodies and beings of LGBTQ+ youth. As has been well documented, these affective encounters tend to emerge and materialize through acts of self-harm and suicide. Although theorists and concerned educators who deal with the untimely death of LGBTQ+ youth alike are often arrested by wondering when one more incident of exclusion will be one too many, scholars have queered this focus and re-centered the dialogue around the idea that one is always too many. One death, one cut, one time holding in urine, one gay-bashing, one curriculum absent of queer voices, one oppressive pedagogy. One is always too many. The implication for queer theory in qualitative research in education is not only a disruption of these “ones,” but a call for attention to the historical, contemporary, political, and sociocultural ideas and ideals that engendered and maintained them so that they are the everyday of schooling.

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