Queering the Icelandic upper secondary schools

Jón Ingvar Kjaran, PhD, is a researcher/lecturer at the University of Iceland, School of Education. His main fields include in education theory and policy, queer and gender studies within education. In this interview Jón talks about his PhD dissertation, Queering the Icelandic upper secondary schools: Heteronormative discourse and the experiences of queer students in Icelandic upper secondary school. It focuses on the heteronormative discourse and the experiences of queer students in Icelandic upper secondary schools. The study was conducted at two upper secondary schools over the period of two year. The participants were born between 1987 and 1993 and had graduated or were still attending an upper secondary school. The findings of his study suggest that young people who are questioning their gender identity, sexuality or both, find it difficult to come to terms with their feelings during their formative years in upper secondary school.This depends on the individual and the particular school settings. LGBT students face difficulties when coming into the open with their feelings, although the scale and scope of these difficulties varied among the participants. Institutionalized heterosexism, either subtle or overt, is interwoven into the school culture and social interactions of faculty members and students. In addition, gender and sexuality within the upper secondary school are still constructed around the discourse of heteronormativity, in some instances marginalizing those students that do not conform to the dominant group of either gender or sexuality.