'Like, Get Over It!': On 'Getting' and 'Getting Over' Sexuality in the Classroom
Feminism and Psychology
In our first few years as Assistant Professors of Psychology (midway through our fourth and third years, respectively), we have found ourselves frequently discussing the issue of coming out in the classroom, probably because we are the only non-heterosexual instructors in our respective departments. This topic is of scholarly interest, as each of us is academically engaged in the critical study of gender and sexuality, and of personal interest, as we, as a queer couple, negotiate the conservative social climate of rural Pennsylvania. Much of our conversation around the dinner table has focused on the ways in which our gender presentations are taken as evidence of our sexual orientation by our students: Tara's masculine presentation is read as lesbian, whereas Megan's feminine appearance is read as heterosexual. In the surrounding community, Tara is regularly subject to intense glares and outright hostility, but Megan rarely is the target of homophobic remarks. Rather, Megan faces the necessity of self-disclosure in order to have her bisexual/queer sexual orientation recognized (since she is presumed heterosexual when alone, and lesbian when with Tara); that self-disclosure is frequently met with inappropriate sexual advances. This difference in our queer visibility fundamentally shapes our approaches to disclosure of our sexual orientations in the classroom.
Smith, Tara E., and Megan R. Yost. "'Like, Get Over It!': On 'Getting' and 'Getting Over' Sexuality in the Classroom." 19, no. 2 (2009): 199-204.