producing normal – queer theory
Of particular value to this research has been the ways in which queer theory (e.g. Britzman, 1995; Kumashiro, 2002, 2004) illustrates the production of normal and deviance.
Queer theory has helped to establish that there is a wide range of expression of sexual attraction to another and that only one version (i.e. heterosexuality) of those possible expressions have been acceptable in 19th and 20th century North American culture. Those falling outside that category have been labeled abnormal, deviant or even sick. A combination of courageous public activism together with the theoretical work that identifies many of the ways in which heterosexuality is produced as normal and dominant, has meant the word 'queer' is in the process of being (re)claimed and a wider range of expressions of one's sexual identity become more acceptable for public expression.
It has been, it seems, a somewhat parallel struggle to come to comfortable and accepted public expression of my own (re)emerging animist self – particularly while working in academia as a graduate student, and later as a pre-tenured faculty member. As noted elsewhere, I am grateful to Aboriginal colleagues for their support in this regard.