In this article, the work of Judith Butler and Eve Sedgwick is used to analyze responses to gender performances in the author's elementary classroom. Beginning with the story of one "gender-bending" boy, Butler's theories are used to understand how incidents in the daily life of the classroom point to the phallologocentrism and heterosexism that, when articulated and strengthened through a shared logic of "normalcy," lend intelligible identities to each member of the classroom community. Challenging her young students to accept a broader range of gender and sexual performances, Boldt points out many ways in which this is both problematic for the students and resisted by them. The author ends by revealing how some of her major assumptions about how to address the problems caused in the classroom by the operative gender and sexual normativities were themselves locked into a heterosexist logic, and she offers a very partial but hopeful glance at how she now tries to respond to problems of sexism and heterosexism faced by all her students.
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