"I just want to be who I am" : Exploring the barriers faced by lesbian early childhood teachers as they disrupt heteronormative practices in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
This thesis reports on a small scale qualitative research project located in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The objective of the research was to understand how lesbian teachers disrupt heteronormativity in early childhood settings. The literature was reviewed nationally and internationally. It argues that heteronormativity is the main barrier preventing teachers speaking about lesbian and gay issues. Heteronormativity is a discourse that works to maintain heterosexual hegemony. As a result of this dominance, acceptance of lesbian and gay issues is still a contentious issue within Aotearoa/New Zealand early childhood settings. This study provided an opportunity for heteronormativity to be viewed solely from a lesbian teacher’s paradigm. My intention was to also examine the strategies that participants used to challenge heteronormative dominance. Participants negotiated risks to ensure that both children and adults were aware of the hegemonic view point enforced by heteronormativity. A feminist post-structuralist and queer theory paradigm was used to frame the analytical approach.