Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Queer Pedagogy in Sexuality Education


Liberal Studies Department


Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


Sexuality education is a multifaceted and interdisciplinary field. As our knowledge of sexuality deepens, so must our pedagogical strategies as we move towards inclusive and praxis-based education. As a sexuality educator for the last 20 years, I have moved slowly towards a focus on the emancipatory potentials of sexuality education. This poster will address the use of queer theory and social justice pedagogies within sexuality education. Queer theory has been called deliberately disruptive (Halperin, 2003), aiming to challenge normative conventions and conceptions of sex, gender, sexuality and desires. While we have seen a focus on pleasure based or sex-positive sexuality, as a community of sexuality educators, we are still exploring the ways in which we can expand our education to incorporate a move towards social justice, sexual autonomy, and a radical revision of sexuality education as a site of liberation. This poster will utilize concepts of social justice and liberatory education (Freire, 1970) as well as queer theoretical concepts (Britzman, 1995; Halperin, 2003) to demonstrate the usefulness of disruption as a pedagogical tool in teaching sexuality education to college-age students. While queer theory is multifaceted and complex, I am focusing in this poster on the concept of disruption. To disrupt is to make uncomfortable. Using autoethnographic and textual analysis, this poster will explore the ways in which the researcher relies on disruption and critical pedagogy to create sexuality education classrooms where learning about sex and sexuality contains within it a dedication to social justice and sense of community. The goal of the poster is twofold; to deepen our understandings of the connection of queer theory to sexuality education pedagogy, and to disseminate the findings of an ongoing study onto the use of queer theory within sexuality education as a tool towards transformation for students and teachers. The data from the study are from four years of autoethnographic work, as well as two years of ethnographic and participatory observation within classrooms and with college students enrolled in critical pedagogy and sexuality education courses. Data include student interviews, texts from sexuality education classrooms, and student work. The poster will focus on pedagogical tools that can be used to disrupt students’ relationship to normative and problematic understandings of sexuality and sex. It will explore the use of emotions, particularly discomfort and belonging, as classroom tools. The primary audience will be sexuality educators interested in creating a dialogue about the connections between abstract theoretical concepts and everyday classroom practices. The poster fits within the AASECT conference theme of Middle Ground: Establishing Connections in that it explores the middle ground between theory and practice, as well as the creation of an emotional and collective middle ground for students to co-create in order to engage in high quality sexuality education.

Conference Name

AASECT Annual Conference

Conference Location

Minneapolis, MN

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