hello, i’m elliot (not really, but on the internet i am). im a white,
middle mixed-class, male-assigned, genderqueer trans dyke who loves teaching. i am normatively able-bodied and typically access able-bodied privilege, though i deal with chronic, sometimes debilitating physical and mental health issues which have increasingly lead me to identify as an able-bodied person with disabilities, though i’m still teasing out where i fit on that spectrum. I recently graduated from a small liberal arts college on the east coast after studying education and sociology and have since returned to my hometown of portland, OR for the glory of un/underemployment.
this blog is named after and inspired by my undergrad senior project in critical pedagogy and creative writing, a guide to which can be found on the blog here. the first part of the project contains autobiographical pieces exploring my various identities, especially in relation to education. the second part is comprised of a late elementary/early middle school curricular unit on socially constructed identity and systemic oppression i developed, along with the stories of implementing it. this lesson is my favorite…
the title of the project and blog make reference to the writings of bell hooks, specifically Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of freedom (1994). it is her idea of “transgression” — of actively violating the oppressive norms, standards, and silence required by a culture of domination — that i will be trying to create a space for here. an integral part of that practice is the elevation marginalized voices and stories, and this is an attempt to raise my own.
my goal is to use this space to examine queerness in education, being trans in a hostile world, and various forms of privilege and oppression and the cultural and institutional forces which sustain them, all with an emphasis on intersectionality. posts may take various forms, ranging from personal narrative to poetry to analytical writing to unpacking a nicki minaj video. the aim will always be to de-center dominant culture and push back on the narratives of our white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy. it is a space i plan to use to decompress, as all of these things are highly personal. while admittedly first and foremost for myself — really, the blog will force me to write, something which helps keep me grounded — it’s also a space which i hope can eventually include dialogue, so feedback is welcomed. i encourage friends and strangers alike to comment, question, critique and hold me accountable. i would love for this to be more than just my voice.
it is also, i hope, more than that: beyond greater reflexivity for myself and a space of potential identification for trans and queer folks, i hope educators of any kind may find the stories and tools detailed here useful in helping their classroom (or any educational endeavor) critically examine systemic oppression, create a safer space for marginalized students, and more fully realize the liberatory potential inherent in education.
::header photo: “Free Fall” by Emily Schiffer, 2005::