Identity and Normativity in a Conflict: Heteronormative Discourse in School Lgbttiq -Support Projects

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Verena MOLITOR, Bielefeld University, Germany
Tatiana ZIMENKOVA, TU Dortmund University, Germany
How do heteronormative discourses frame the community participation and school activism of young LGBTTIQ-supporters in Germany? How do young LGBTTIQ - supporters frame their belonging, being trapped between the human rights discourse of the LGBTTIQ -supporters and the heteronormative discourse of their peer group? How do activists cope with this tension between the both discourses, while being part of the school as community and building alliances?

The paper elaborates on the results of the analysis of group discussions with school children (aged of 14 to 18), who participated in LGBTTIQ -support projects in different schools in the Federal State of North-Rhine Westphalia in Germany. The group discussions were recorded and analyzed with help of socio-linguistic method of objective hermeneutics. The participants of the group discussions met in order to discuss their experiences and practices as well as success and challenges with other LGBTTIQ –support activists from other high schools. In their group discussions within mixed groups of activists, who firstly met during the session, the students articulate their conceptions of LGBTTIQ -identities and homophobia. They articulate their ideas of norms within the society and share, how they look for supporters within schools as organizations and use democratic school structures in order to support fellow LGBTTIQ -students in high schools.

While engaging actively within their school communities in order to make life of the LGBTTIQ -students better, the school activists demonstrate simultaneously a strong tie to the heteronormative discourse, despite knowing about its exclusion potential.

With help of reconstruction of what the school activists consider as norm and normality in their unmoderated group talks, the paper seeks to demonstrate, how heteronormative discourse intervenes with the sense of community belonging and influences life reality of gendered school community.