Heterosexuality as everyday life, queerness as a special event: Examining heteronormativity in Kindergarten

Social Justice @ UBC Noted Scholars Lecture Series
The Intimate Public Sphere: Thinking Through the Skin

Dr. Anika Stafford

Postdoctoral Fellow, History Department, Simon Fraser University
Lecturer, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, University of British Columbia


The plight of many queer and transgender high school students has recently been under media spotlights. Much attention is devoted to homophobia and transphobia in senior grades, but how do these taboos come to be institutionally entrenched by high school? This talk is based on Dr. Stafford’s forthcoming book, Is it Still a Boy? Heteronormativity in Kindergarten. Drawing from observations, focus groups with five-year-olds, and interviews with educators, Dr. Stafford’s ethnography illustrates how discourses of children’s innocence and discourses of difference work together to neutralize heterosexuality and gender conformity as asexual, and hyper-sexualize queer and transgender subjectivities, rendering them “inappropriate” in Kindergarten. It is the first full-length study of this kind to be carried out in a Canadian primary school.border_anika

Dr. Stafford’s research focuses on children and gender justice. She authored Is it Still a Boy? Heteronormativity in Kindergarten (UBC Press, 2016) and co-edited Constructions of Risk: the Production of “At Risk” Bodies and Populations in Health, Education, and Community Services (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2015). She holds a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship with Simon Fraser University’s History Department, conducting research on children’s welfare, recreational programming, and the psychiatrization of mothers’ sexualities in Cold War Vancouver.


Date:           Wednesday, Nov. 26, 12pm*

Location:   2080 West Mall, Jack Bell Bldg. Room 028, University of British Columbia

Directions to GRSJ on UBC Campus: http://bit.ly/R5WyjE


*Lunch is provided to those who RSVP.    RSVP here.


Co-sponsored by Critical Studies in Sexuality, Jane Rule Endowment, and Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice