By Esther Kingston-Mann, Tim Sieber
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What if such comments appeared on my formal evaluations? Would a personnel committee ask for my side, or would they simply make up their own story about this lesbian junior professor? And what if several such evaluations had accumulated by the time I got to tenure review? My dilemma was rendered thornier still by the fact that I am a scholar of religion. On the bright side, this places me close to the heart of the issue; unfortunately this is also the site where the conﬂict seems least negotiable.
And it would trouble me if the university community were to perceive sexuality as the special issue of those of us who are out. The fact that we cannot abide the closet does not make heterosexism our problem to solve, any more than racism is a problem to be solved by people of color. In both cases, the contrary is nearer the truth. Indeed, the more I have come out in the intervening years, the more I have come to understand that it is chieﬂy straight people who build and rebuild the closet. This has been especially obvious in how straight colleagues have responded when I come out of it.
Coming Out and Leading Out 31 Politically, I would like to see the complete dismantling of heterosexual privilege, but pedagogically my aims are substantially more modest. Whether fairly or not, heterosexism still possesses, for many, a kind of moral credibility that has begun to atrophy for prejudices such as racism or sexism. Insofar as heteronormativity is a pre-judgment, I have to push my students forward toward judgments that are more authentic, conscious, and deliberate. I do this partly by making them contend with some critical angles on sexuality, either through course materials or simply through the questions I raise and my unapologetic self-presentation.
Achieving Against The Odds Cl (The New Academy) by Esther Kingston-Mann, Tim Sieber
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