"Sexuality is a part of who we are, and it does not go away when we enter our classrooms," notes one contributor to Sexualities in Education (85). This assertion is taken seriously in the collection of research articles, personal essays, film stills, photographs, and posters included in Erica R. Meiners and Therese Quinn's reader. However, their collection goes much farther than merely compiling reflective essays on sexualities' roles within a classroom setting; it situates scholarship focused on education as part of larger discourses addressing contemporary issues of citizenship, transcultural dialogues, and activisms. In doing this, they provide an ambitiously eclectic assortment of pieces strung together by their shared interest in the ways that sexual identities and practices affect our roles as community members, activists, and educators of youth.
With over sixty contributions divided into nine sections, Sexualities in Education provides dissonant perspectives from educators, activists, artists, and researchers. In this self-proclaimed "queer-centric" text, most of the volume's contributions focus on issues specific to young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer individuals (3). Contributors make it clear that their understanding of sexual minorities (or "margin resistors," as Alan Wong suggests in his essay on panethnicities) is unique to the purview of their piece (377). Thus interspersed throughout the volume are varying references to "queer," "LGBTQ," and "LGBTQIQ" groups of young individuals. Though one could argue that these labels are interchangeable, these multiple nomenclatures are a valuable asset to the collection. Rather than a distraction, I found these varying markers of collectivities a telling reminder of the myriad perspectives represented within the volume. Indeed, many of the essays dwell on the politicized value of using varied terminologies to identify youth's sexual identities. Jane Bryan Meek's "Being Queer Is the Luckiest Thing: Investigating a New Generation's Use of Queer within LGBTQ Student Groups" stands out as a valuable qualitative snapshot of the ways that LGBTQ [End Page 414] young adults negotiate their sexual identities. Based on focus groups at an urban, public university in the Midwest, Meek's analysis highlights the "sophisticated knowledge of both homo-and heteronormativity" possessed by young college students, particularly through their use of "queer" as a label of resistance to both dominant norms of sexual identities (196).
The breadth of content in this collection is as diverse as the nomenclature represented in its essays. Meiners and Quinn have brought together works that not only address the experiences of students and teachers in classroom settings but also challenge assumptions of what is a learning space. I highlight two of the volume's nine sections as a way to contrast the varied foci contained within it. The third section, "Self, Sexuality, and Teaching," includes five pieces that wrestle with the role our bodies play in teaching others. From Becky Atkinson's essay on female teachers' sartorial choices as markers of feminine bodies to Coya Paz Brownrigg's powerful and lighthearted piece on teachable moments in everyday experiences as a lesbian parent, this section addresses the complexities that unfold when exploring how knowledge transfers become inherently mediated through our embodied selves.
If the third section focused on the particularities of individuals' embodied sexualities, the eighth section, "Sexualities Organizing, Activism, and Education," explores collectivities by examining how bodies come together to enact forms of resistance within educational spaces. For example, Deborah B. Gould's piece revisits ACT UP's work as a "vital education site," whose participants enacted alternative forms of being through a queer sensibility predicated on its outsider status and refusal to assimilate (360). As Angel Rubiel Gonzalez states in the introduction to this section, these pieces are points of entry on how "those who have met with the limits of schooling have created, participated in, and developed alternative pedagogical spaces from which to reproduce the life of those whom society deems deviant" (346).
These brief overviews of two of the sections illustrate the complex collection of creative and scholarly works in this anthology. Oscillating between the specificities of embodied identities and the systemic issues that limit the...