“‘I Feel Like a Girl Inside:’ Possibilities for Gender and Sexual Diversity in Early Primary School


  • Anika Nicole Stafford Simon Fraser University




colonization, feminization of education, masculinity, boys, gender, sexuality, schools, education, Vancouver


This paper offers new insight into historical discourse regarding the plight of boys in schools and original research that demonstrates points for intervention. The article begins with a discussion of the colonial context of BC schools, including residential schools for Aboriginal children and mainstream public institutions. This history sets the stage for analysis of how historical periods that witnessed anxieties regarding the feminization of education reflected cultural desires to produce idealized masculine citizens. The second part of the article draws from an ethnographic study on gender culture in a Vancouver Kindergarten classroom that illustrates implications discourses regarding gendered learners can have for a range of students. This article makes two significant contributions to studies of the feminization of education: it brings the gendered nature of colonial educational projects into sharper relief by analyzing both mainstream and residential schools; it integrates implications of gendered education for transgender/gender non-conforming students into discourses that often focus solely on male assigned boys and masculinities. As much popular and academic attention focuses on experiences of queer and transgender students, this contribution is of use to scholars and community members from a wide-range of disciplines.

Author Biography

Anika Nicole Stafford, Simon Fraser University

SSHRC Postdoctoral Researcher