Berg, Allison, Jean Kowaleski, Caroline Le Guin, Ellen Weinauer, and Eric Wolfe. “Breaking the Silence: Sexual Preference in the Composition Classroom.” Feminist Teacher, vol. 4, no. 2/3, 1989, pp. 29-32. Accessed 2 Nov. 2016.
- Though many composition classrooms are increasingly devoted to examining the ways social membership can shape and construct our identity, we as teachers tend to consider that membership as limited to gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic class. We overlook sexual preference, and, in so doing, replicate a societal and institutional silence that is destructive to ourselves and our students [Paul Puccio, Cs, 1989] (29).
- [Re: Audre Lorde’s “On a Night of the Full Moon”] Yet even before students learned that the poem was a lesbian love poem, many of them found its explicit eroticism disturbing and “disgusting,” once again demonstrating the difficulty they had in finding an authentic language for sexual experience (31).
- The risk involved [in bringing lesbian and gay voices into the composition classroom] is that focusing exclusively on gay and lesbian voices allows straight students and teachers to consider themselves exempt from the issue of sexual preference. It was perhaps all too easy for us as straight teachers to perpetuate the different kind of silence that surrounds heterosexuality, and thereby protect it from critique and questioning … we missed one immediate and concrete means of understanding our own sexual preference-our own and the majority of our students’ choice of heterosexuality (32).
- … [explore] why heterosexuals in general tend to assume other people are straight until proven otherwise. We can attempt to explore the ways heterosexuality is made to seem inevitable, a given (32).
- The slow process of learning-or unlearning heterosexist assumptions and fears-is one … in which we are still engaged (32).