Troubling the Agency-Victimhood Trope

  • Dennis A. Francis
Part of the Queer Studies and Education book series (QSTED)


This chapter is about lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth in South African schools. The research globally and in South Africa on sexuality diversity and schooling pivots on two discursive axes of victimization and agency. There is a cost for research to emphasize exclusively this duality. Despite its usefulness, I argue that the victim-agency dualism is counterproductive and I make four arguments: it leads us to a cul-de-sac; it reduces heterosexism and heteronormativity to the individual level and fails to take account of the systemic nature of heterosexism; it ignores the multiplicity of identities LGB youth hold; and it seriously compromises a focus on same-sex relationships, intimacy, desire and the aspirations of LGB youth. One aim of this chapter is the need to learn from and with youth in expanding inclusive school programs.


Sexual Orientation Sexual Minority Sexual Minority Youth South African Context Compulsory Heterosexuality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis A. Francis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social AnthropologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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