“It’s completely erasure”: A Qualitative Exploration of Experiences of Transgender, Nonbinary, Gender Nonconforming, and Questioning Students in Biology Courses

A. M.Aramati Casper, Nico Rebolledo, A. Kelly Lane, Luke Jude, Sarah L. Eddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Biology is the study of the diversity of life, which includes diversity in sex, gender, and sexual, romantic, and related orientations. However, a small body of literature suggests that undergraduate biology courses focus on only a narrow representation of this diversity (binary sexes, heterosexual orientations, etc.). In this study, we interviewed students with queer genders to understand the messages about sex, gender, and orientation they encountered in biology and the impact of these messages on them. We found five over-arching themes in these interviews. Students described two narratives about sex, gender, and orientation in their biology classes that made biology implicitly exclusionary. These narratives harmed students by impacting their sense of belonging, career preparation, and interest in biology content. However, students employed a range of resilience strategies to resist these harms. Finally, students described the currently unrealized potential for biology and biology courses to validate queer identities by representing the diversity in sex and orientation in biology. We provide teaching suggestions derived from student interviews for making biology more queer-inclusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberar69
JournalCBE life sciences education
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 A. M. A. Casper et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education and 2022 The American Society for Cell Biology.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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