from Chiara Sity*
In the Italian school there are many people who experience the violence of being marginalized because of their gender identity and sexual orientation. These people are sometimes teachers, like Professor Bianco, but also support staff and, much more often, students.
The story of Professor Cloe Bianco, a transgender teacher subject to disciplinary action for the manner in which she left and for her attire, revealed the school’s profound inability to fulfill its constitutional mandate of being a training place for citizens. . This mandate demands that the school community be a clear and forceful voice in the defense of basic human rights (right to exist with one’s own identity, right to practice the profession, right to learn and to students) and to know how to act actively. protect those who are victims of prejudice and discrimination, even by raising awareness and disseminating scientific knowledge. This educational task must be carried out towards students, families, staff and the local community and requires the explicit support of institutions of any political color because it refers to the implementation of human rights on which a democratic society. Unfortunately, this did not happen in the case of Professor Bianco: on the contrary, local political interlocutors actively intervened to hinder any attempt to protect a person and the work of a teacher because she was transgender.
Read also >> The death of Chloe Bianco is a story of normal transphobia
In a situation like this, we need to start from what we know about the school experience of LGBT + people in Italy and the many opportunities lost in educational policies and practices, starting from three fundamental points.
1. LGBT + people are not doing well in school
LGBT + people in the Italian school community are largely subject to discrimination that seriously compromises their ability to live fully; they often choose invisibility; they are subject to social crimes and sanctions for non-compliance with majority gender norms (both by peers and by teachers themselves); they suffer verbal and physical aggression that they usually do not report because in their experience the complaints did not give any answer (here data from an international survey on the issue).
2. The school is silent in the face of discrimination and homotransphobic violence
Homotransphobic violence and discrimination cannot be read simply as despicable behaviors of single individuals, but in the Italian school they are structural components, inherent in the very functioning of our country’s educational policies and school structures. Even with the best of intentions, in school you literally don’t know what to do when there are gender identity issues at stake: the campaigns of conservative movements against the ghost “gender” have paralyzed educational and prevention initiatives. violence throughout Italy. Also, unlike what happens in other European countriesI am almost absent policies and practices from school government in the area of equity, inclusion, security for sexual minorities, and reception protocols for people who are not recognized in the gender assigned at birth.
3. Transgender people do not pose any risk to anyone
The story of Professor Bianco’s departure with her students was then described by the press in a dramatic tone, talking about students “in a state of shock” and the deterioration of the teacher’s educational role due to being transgender. teach, remembered Christian Raimo continues The essentialsit is sharing the search for truth with others. Teaching can only take root in the person of the teacher, but that is not enough; otherwise, we would limit ourselves to a romantic, adult-centered idea of a charismatic teacher. Instead, it is what often happens when individuals are left alone, with their own strengths and limitations, to handle the multiplicity of the world shown in the classroom. Teaching designs a relationship space in which all subjects actively participate (otherwise, learning would become impossible), under specific conditions that must ensure that the school is not just a place for the transmission of fragments of knowledge. but a place where the world is inhabited through knowledge.
Like it or not, teaching is always taught twice: the contents and methods of a discipline, and the functioning of the social world of which the class is a microcosm. Therefore, having a teacher, an educator, a transgender classmate or a bearer of diversity, cannot in any way compromise learning, the construction of identity, the quality of the school experience. It can, as has sadly happened, reveal the violence, prejudices, and mechanisms of oppression that permeate society and are poured into everyday interactions in school, just as it can open spaces to transform them. The abandonment of teaching was not only a loss for Professor Bianco, but it deprived the whole school community of something precious: the possibility of transforming knowledge, putting its own prejudices in crisis, approaching the reality of human life and learning how the society we live in can be transformed from what we do, together, in each school.
* Chiara Sità is a professor of general and social pedagogy in the Department of Human Sciences at the University of Verona. Her main field of research is the relationship between parents and professionals in socio-educational services and the school.
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