The theorizing of gender, sexuality, and borders emerged from borderland theory as conceptualized by Chicana lesbian writer Gloria Anzaldúa. Enacted in this theory are racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender identities and relationships to land, and the U.S.–Mexico border in particular. Borderland theory embraces the immigrants, the exiles, the mixed-race, the queers, the nonnormative, the crossers of binaries, broadly defined. Borderland pedagogies build upon borderland theory, encouraging recognition of diverse experiences, critical and flexible thinking, creativity, and acceptance of one’s contradictions. Popular culture serves as an important tool for borderland pedagogies, both as a resource for classroom teaching and as a broad-reaching medium to promote public learning. Music, film, literature, and television provide rich sources for learning and unlearning. Gender and sexual diversity in borderland popular culture are the outliers of heteronormativity and challenge dualistic notions of sex and gender. The borderland provide the symbolic location of the restrictions and wounds caused by binary thinking, as well as the place to recuperate, to heal, to learn, and to transform.
Karleen Pendleton Jiménez
Alandis A. Johnson
Trans and gender/queer youth pose some interesting scenarios for education in both secondary and postsecondary realms. Increasing identifications outside of binaries among students, faculty, and staff members who identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, or nonbinary have pushed schools to alter the way these individuals are recognized within these systems. These changes involve deconstructing binaries and the related exclusionary processes and policies. Transgender and gender-expansive youth are challenging the ways in which gender is built into schools, highlighting underlying binaries and structural oppression in all levels of education. Key issues and debates regarding transgender inclusion in educational spheres, such as Title IX, visibility, and knowledge of transgender issues, routes to inclusion, and the fallacy of “best practice.” Generational and cultural differences related to gender recognition and identification will continue to shape educational environments and beyond for years to come.