Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Homophobia, defined as an irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuals, continues to be a rampant problem in North American schools. Homophobia derives from heterosexist ideology, that is, the belief that heterosexuality is inherently superior to, and justifiably dominant over, nonlieterosexuality in its various forms. Heterosexism manifests in two main forms: cultural heterosexism, the stigmatization, denial, or denigration of nonheterosexuality in cultural institutions; and psychological heterosexism, a person's internalization of this worldview, which erupts into homophobia. The world of schooling, which requires attendance and is charged with teaching, nurturing, developing minds and bodies, has frequently proven to be fertile ground for perpetuating both sorts of heterosexism. Manifestations of heterosexism are woven throughout curricula, and homophobic attitudes commonly erupt into verbal and physical harassment/violence among school peers, often with teachers and administrators doing little to interrupt it. Most first-grade children already have ideas about what it means to be ...