Queerness as Doing in Higher Education (Routledge Research in Higher Education) 9781032185910, 9781032185934, 1032185910

Guided by the scholarly personal narratives of LGBTQ+ higher education scholars, practitioners, and scholar-practitioner

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Queerness as Doing in Higher Education (Routledge Research in Higher Education)
 9781032185910, 9781032185934, 1032185910

Table of contents :
Half Title
List of Contributors
1 Introduction: Unpacking the Insider/Outsider Paradox and the Concept of Queerness as Doing
2 “Low-Key from the University”: Making Sense of Researcher Positionality and Professional Identity as Bi+ Women in Academia
3 Who Are We to Do This Research? Duoethnographic Reflections on the Insider/Outsider Paradox in Queer Research
4 Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue: Navigating Insider/Outsider Subjectivities in Higher Education Research
5 Switching Up, Positions
6 Will the Master’s Tools Dismantle the Master’s House? Navigating Student Conduct and Conflict Work as Queer Administrators in Higher Education
7 Tearing It Apart While Holding It Together: Using Queer, Situated Knowledges to Navigate the Paradoxes of Institutional Life
8 Navigating Three QT Resource Centers: Identifying and Dismantling Discursive Logics of Oppression
9 Insiders, Outsiders, and Dangerous Waters: Homonormative Whiteness in LGBTQ+ Resource Centers
10 Creating Insiders as the Only One Out
11 Under the Queer Umbrella: Strategies and Struggles of Intersectional Activism
12 Queer, Trans, and Brown in Higher Education: The Outsiders Within?
13 Today’s Grad Students, Tomorrow’s Faculty: LGBTQIA+ Graduate Student Experiences Navigating the Insider/Outsider Paradox in Engineering
14 Conclusion: Working the Cracks Within the System

Citation preview

Queerness as Doing in Higher Education

Guided by the scholarly personal narratives of LGBTQ+ higher education scholars, practitioners, and scholar-practitioners, this informative volume explores how individuals exist within and experience the insider/outsider paradox within higher education as they engage in disruption, queer methods, and action. The second of a two-volume series, this book relates to the firsthand accounts and personal stories of the contributors in order to illustrate the challenges and opportunities that exist for queer and trans people. Framed through the concept of queerness as doing, this book takes up the important question of what it means to occupy both positions of oppression and degrees of privilege within society and in the context of work. It discusses how stories depict the nuances of the insider/outsider paradox relative to practicing queerness as a politic while identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community in higher education settings. The book then looks to the future, discussing implications for research and practice, using the lessons learned from the chapter authors. Comprising firsthand contributions and innovative scholarship, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of queer and trans studies, student affairs, gender and sexuality studies, and higher education, as well as those seeking to understand the experiences of LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners as they navigate central tensions in their scholarship and practice. Jesus Cisneros, Ph.D. (he/him/his/él), is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Foundations at the University of Texas at El Paso. Jesus obtained a doctorate in education policy and evaluation from Arizona State University, a master’s degree in higher education administration from Texas A&M University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University. He brings his knowledge of higher education research and practice to highlight the intersection of education and immigration. His research moves gender, sexuality, and immigration status, and their conceptual margins, to the center of analysis in an effort to explore and understand the way politics and identity interact with various axes of inequality.

T.J. Jourian, Ph.D. (he/him/his), is an independent scholar and consultant with Trans*Formational Change and an instructional designer with LifeLabs Learning. Previously, he served as Assistant Professor of Higher Education Leadership at Oakland University. T.J. earned his doctorate in higher education from Loyola University Chicago, studying how trans masculine students conceptualize masculinity. He earned an M.A. in student affairs administration with a Multicultural Education cognate from Michigan State University and has experience as a practitioner in Gender and Sexuality Centers and Residential Life. Centering trans and queer people of color’s experiences and epistemologies, his research examines race, gender, and sexuality in higher education, with particular attention to masculinity, transness, and racialization; campus gender and sexuality centers and practitioners; and trans*ing constructs and methodologies. Ryan A. Miller, Ph.D. (he/him/his), is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he teaches courses on college student development, student affairs administration, and higher education leadership. His research agenda focuses on (1) the experiences of minoritized social groups in higher education, with an emphasis on identities of disability, sexuality, and gender, as well as intersecting social identities; and (2) the institutionalization of diversity and equity initiatives within higher education, in curricular, administrative, and student affairs contexts. Antonio Duran, Ph.D. (he/him/él), is an Assistant Professor in the Higher and Postsecondary Education program at Arizona State University. Antonio received a Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University, an M.S. in student affairs in higher education from Miami University, and a B.A. in English and American literature from New York University. Antonio’s research examines how historical and contemporary legacies of oppression influence college student development, experiences, and success. In particular, he is interested in understanding and centering the lives of queer and trans people with multiple minoritized identities in postsecondary education settings.

Routledge Research in Higher Education

Student Growth and Development in New Higher Education Learning Spaces Student-centred Learning in Singapore Edited by Siok Kuan Tambyah Cultures and Languages across the Curriculum in Higher Education Harnessing the Transformative Potentials of CLAC across Disciplines Edited by India C. Plough and Weloré Tamboura Queerness as Being in Higher Education Narrating the Insider/Outsider Paradox as LGBTQ+ Scholars and Practitioners Edited by Antonio Duran, Ryan A. Miller, T.J. Jourian and Jesus Cisneros Queerness as Doing in Higher Education Narrating the Insider/Outsider Paradox as LGBTQ+ Scholars and Practitioners Edited by Jesus Cisneros, T.J. Jourian, Ryan A. Miller, and Antonio Duran Supporting Student and Faculty Wellbeing in Graduate Education Teaching, Learning, Policy, and Praxis Snežana Obradović-Ratković, Mirjana Bajovic, Ayse Pinar Sen, Vera Woloshyn, Michael Savage Optimising the Third Space in Higher Education Case Studies of Intercultural and Cross-Boundary Collaboration Natalia Veles How Organisational Change Influences Academic Work The Academic Predicament Model for a Conducive Work Environment Sureetha De Silva, Donna Pendergast and Christopher Klopper For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/RoutledgeResearch-in-Higher-Education/book-series/RRHE

Queerness as Doing in Higher Education

Narrating the Insider/Outsider Paradox as LGBTQ+ Scholars and Practitioners Edited by Jesus Cisneros, T.J. Jourian, Ryan A. Miller, and Antonio Duran

First published 2023 by Routledge 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158 and by Routledge 4 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2023 selection and editorial matter, Jesus Cisneros, T.J. Jourian, Ryan A. Miller, and Antonio Duran; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Jesus Cisneros, T.J. Jourian, Ryan A. Miller, and Antonio Duran to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN: 978-1-032-18591-0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-032-18593-4 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-25528-4 (ebk) DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284 Typeset in Galliard by Apex CoVantage, LLC

Dedicated to all those working the cracks within the system . . .


List of Contributorsxi   1 Introduction: Unpacking the Insider/Outsider Paradox and the Concept of Queerness as Doing



  2 “Low-Key from the University”: Making Sense of Researcher Positionality and Professional Identity as Bi+ Women in Academia



  3 Who Are We to Do This Research? Duoethnographic Reflections on the Insider/Outsider Paradox in Queer Research



  4 Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue: Navigating Insider/Outsider Subjectivities in Higher Education Research



  5 Switching Up, Positions



  6 Will the Master’s Tools Dismantle the Master’s House? Navigating Student Conduct and Conflict Work as Queer Administrators in Higher Education ANDREA D. DOMINGUE AND DANIEL J. FOSTER


x  Contents   7 Tearing It Apart While Holding It Together: Using Queer, Situated Knowledges to Navigate the Paradoxes of Institutional Life



  8 Navigating Three QT Resource Centers: Identifying and Dismantling Discursive Logics of Oppression



  9 Insiders, Outsiders, and Dangerous Waters: Homonormative Whiteness in LGBTQ+ Resource Centers



10 Creating Insiders as the Only One Out



11 Under the Queer Umbrella: Strategies and Struggles of Intersectional Activism



12 Queer, Trans, and Brown in Higher Education: The Outsiders Within?



13 Today’s Grad Students, Tomorrow’s Faculty: LGBTQIA+ Graduate Student Experiences Navigating the Insider/Outsider Paradox in Engineering



14 Conclusion: Working the Cracks Within the System





Emily J. Abrams, M.S. (she/they), is a doctoral student in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education program at Michigan State University, where she is also an academic advisor for the TRiO SSS Program. Emily’s research focuses on the lived experiences of disabled students, using Queer and Crip Theory to look closely at the relationship between queerness and disability. Previously, Emily worked in the areas of LGBTQ+ initiatives, community engagement, and supplemental instruction, and co-taught classes in social justice studies that focused on community organizing and historical and contemporary manifestations of systemic oppression. Emily received an M.S. in student affairs and higher education and a graduate certificate in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies from Miami University, and a B.M. in vocal performance from Otterbein University. Brandon Bakka, B.S. (he/they), is a doctoral candidate in the Biomedical Engineering program at the University of Texas at Austin and holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Although Brandon’s primary research focus is on liposomal drug delivery, he is interested in studying the experiences of queer-identifying engineering students. Currently, he is focused on understanding methods of student resistance to heteronormativity and applying these findings to make meaningful change in engineering departments. As part of this work, Brandon runs a reading group for queer engineering students and has developed and facilitated faculty trainings around queer student experiences. Victoria Barbosa Olivo, M.S., M.A. (she/her), is a doctoral candidate in higher education and student affairs at The Ohio State University. She received an M.S. in psychology, M.A. in history, and a B.A. in psychology and women’s studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research focuses on minority-serving institutions and organizational identity. She specifically examines how organizational identity influences minoritized groups’ organizational expectations in higher education using a multidisciplinary approach. Additionally, she engages with a complementary strand of research where she explores the experiences of sexual minoritized students, particularly those who identify as bisexual+. Find her on Twitter @academic_V.

xii  Contributors Roman Christiaens, M.Ed. (they/she), is a doctoral student in the Higher Education program at the University of Arizona. Previously, Roman served as Assistant Director for Learning and Development at the University of Michigan’s Spectrum Center. Roman’s professional experience of ten years in student affairs also includes the areas of community engagement, student activities, multicultural affairs, and orientation. Their research interests focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education by utilizing frameworks around critical whiteness, critical geography, transfeminism, and queer phenomenology. Roman received an M.Ed. in higher education and student affairs from the University of Vermont and a B.A. in English, with a focus in creative writing, from Seattle University. Jesus Cisneros, Ph.D. (he/him/his/él), is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Foundations at the University of Texas at El Paso. Jesus obtained a Ph.D. in education policy and evaluation from Arizona State University, a M.S. in higher education administration from Texas A&M University, and a B.A. in journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University. Jesus brings his knowledge of higher education research and practice to highlight the intersection of education and immigration. His research moves gender, sexuality, and immigration status, and their conceptual margins, to the center of analysis in an effort to explore and understand the way politics and identity interact with various axes of inequality. Andrea D. Domingue, Ed.D. (she/her/hers), is the Chief Strategy Officer for Student Life at Davidson College. She received an Ed.D. in student development with a concentration in social justice education (2014) and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in feminist studies (2013) from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an M.A. in higher education administration (2005) from New York University, and a B.A. in sociology and mathematics (2003) from the University of Texas at Austin. Andrea has worked in a variety of student affairs functional areas such as residence life and multiple identity-based centers across large and small colleges. A  scholar-practitioner, she currently teaches graduate courses on critical pedagogy and college student development at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. She published the co-edited book Black Women and Social Justice Education: Legacies and Lessons, and served as a co-author for ACPA’s A Bold Vision Forward: A Framework for the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization. Andrea is a recognized higher education association leader serving as co-chair for the Consortium of Higher Education Resource Professionals (2006–2009) and President for ACPA College Student Educators International (2021–2024). Antonio Duran, Ph.D. (he/him/él), is an Assistant Professor in the Higher and Postsecondary Education program at Arizona State University. Antonio received a Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio

Contributors xiii State University, an M.S. in student affairs in higher education from Miami University, and a B.A. in English and American literature from New York University. Antonio’s research examines how historical and contemporary legacies of oppression influence college student development, experiences, and success. In particular, he is interested in understanding and centering the lives of queer and trans people with multiple minoritized identities in postsecondary education settings. Carly Duran-Marrero, B.A. (she/her and they/them), is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and has a bachelor’s degree in family social science, gender, women, and sexuality studies and art from the University of Minnesota. Carly serves as the LGBTQ+ Education and Training graduate assistant in the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life and advises The Firsts Living Learning Community in the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence. Emily Fairchild, Ph.D. (she/her), is Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in Sociology at Harvard University. When she wrote this chapter, she was Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at New College of Florida. She has also served as Director of the Gender Studies Program at New College and President of Sociologists for Women in Society—South and on national committees working toward diversity and inclusion in sociology. She is a teacher-scholar who pursues intertwined projects of knowledge generation, inclusive pedagogy, and institutional application. She is currently writing about New College students’ unusually accepting student culture around gender, arguing that, despite the challenges queer faculty face, this site provides an alternative conception of gender and a model for interactional inclusivity. Rachael Forester, Ed.D, (she/they), is a Senior DEI Consultant at Nonprofit HR. She also serves as an affiliated faculty for Women’s and Gender Studies and Educational Leadership in Higher Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Rachael is a critical whiteness scholar. Her research investigates racism in student affairs and understanding critical consciousness as a means to dismantling systems of oppression. Desiree Forsythe, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Chapman University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management and conservation from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in evolutionary biology from the University of Kansas. Her Ph.D. in education, with a focus on higher education, is from the University of Rhode Island. Desiree’s scholarship and teaching focuses on disrupting oppressions in STEM and is heavily influenced by critical race, feminist, and queer theorizations. Find her on Twitter: @DL_Forsythe. Daniel J. Foster, M.S. (he/him/his), is a doctoral student in the Educational Studies—Education Policy and Higher Education program at the

xiv  Contributors University of Cincinnati. Daniel received an M.S. in educational administration and student affairs from Texas A&M University and a B.S. in secondary education from Kansas State University. Daniel has worked in multiple areas within student affairs, including housing and residence life, LGBTQ+ identity spaces, diversity and inclusion, new student orientation, and student conduct. His research interests include queer student experiences in K-12 and higher education spaces, men and masculinities, democratic education within higher education, and critical analysis of education law and policy. Rachel E. Friedensen, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Learning Design at St. Cloud State University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Bryn Mawr College and a master’s degree in history from Western Michigan University. Her Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership, with an emphasis on higher education, is from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Rachel’s scholarship focuses on equity and experience in STEM, graduate education and mentorship, and the use of history and theory in higher education research. She has also published research exploring the experiences of faculty and students with disabilities and engineering education. Find her on Twitter: @REFriedensen Sergio A. Gonzalez, M.A., M.Ed. (él/he/him), is a doctoral candidate in the School of Educational Studies program at Claremont Graduate University. He received an M.A. in applied gender studies at Claremont Graduate University, an M.Ed. in postsecondary administration and student affairs from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. in communication studies from Manhattanville College. Sergio writes from the core of who he is: joto, Latinx, feminist, hijo de a first-generation Madre and Mexican Immigrant Padre, jotería scholar, and activist. For this reason, his connection to Jotería (queerness) derives from his experiences navigating the ivory tower and trying to understand where he can exist within that space. As a scholar/activist, he focuses on co-creating counternarratives of queer Latinx/a/o individuals within higher education. Madeleine Jennings, M.S. (they/them/theirs), is a doctoral student in the Engineering Education Systems and Design program at Arizona State University—Polytechnic and a 2019 recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. They hold an M.S. in human systems engineering and a B.S. in manufacturing engineering. Madeleine’s research revolves around the use of critical theories within engineering education scholarship, the lived experiences of gender, romantically, and sexually minoritized communities within engineering spaces, and developing a critical historical anthology of the development of the Western engineering institution. In addition to their scholarship within the field of engineering education, they also engage in interdisciplinary arts-based research centered around self-care

Contributors xv with the queer community. When Madeleine is not working, they enjoy knitting, rock climbing, and spending time outside enjoying the beauty of the Arizona desert. Meg C. Jones, M.A. (she/they), is a doctoral candidate at the University of Rhode Island and researches queer topics in education, with a focus on preservice teacher education and classroom inclusion. Meg’s work includes developing programs focused on gender and sexuality for students and faculty, teaching queer and trans inclusive pedagogy, and completing research that works to disrupt concepts of cisheteronormativity in educational contexts. Meg has received a Fulbright grant and an American Scandinavian Foundation fellowship to support ongoing research focused on queer and trans topic inclusion in Finnish preservice teacher education and educational research in collaboration with the AGORA Centre in the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. Find Meg on Twitter at @msmegcjones. T.J. Jourian, Ph.D. (he/him/his), is an independent scholar and consultant with Trans*Formational Change and an instructional designer with LifeLabs Learning. Previously, he served as Assistant Professor of Higher Education Leadership at Oakland University. T.J. earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Loyola University Chicago, studying how trans masculine students conceptualize masculinity. He earned an M.A. in student affairs administration with a Multicultural Education cognate from Michigan State University and has experience as a practitioner in Gender and Sexuality Centers and Residential Life. Centering trans and queer people of color’s experiences and epistemologies, his research examines race, gender, and sexuality in higher education, with particular attention to masculinity, transness, and racialization; campus gender and sexuality centers and practitioners; and trans*ing constructs and methodologies. Ezekiel W. Kimball, Ph.D., (he/him), is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Associate Director of the Center for Student Success Research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His work examines the identity development and success trajectories of minoritized college students. Ryan A. Miller, Ph.D. (he/him/his), is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he teaches courses on college student development, student affairs administration, and higher education leadership. His research agenda focuses on (1) the experiences of minoritized social groups in higher education, with emphasis on identities of disability, sexuality, and gender, as well as intersecting social identities; and (2) the institutionalization of diversity and equity initiatives within higher education, in curricular, administrative, and student affairs contexts.

xvi  Contributors Chelsea E. Noble, M.A. (she/her/hers), is a doctoral candidate in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University. She received an M.A. in higher education from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in French from Bowdoin College. She has worked in a variety of higher education contexts, including admission and LGBTQ+ centers. Chelsea’s research agenda considers how institutional structures and initiatives can support students’ development and thriving, especially students from historically and presently underrepresented communities in higher education. Through her work, she seeks to contribute to more equitable and liberating educational environments for all. Kristopher A. Oliveira, Ph.D. (he/him/his), currently serves as Assistant Dean in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and as Inaugural Director of the Gender + Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) at Princeton University. In these roles, he leads as a campus and community consultant to better support Trans, Queer, women, and femme people and provides leadership and strategic direction for the GSRC team. As a sociologist, his scholarship and teaching has centered on education, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, qualitative research methods, institutional ethnography, and mixed/ multi-methodologies. Kristopher’s research projects have highlighted the emancipatory potential of Queer and Trans Resource Centers at colleges and universities and the experiences of Black and Queer higher education professionals. His dissertation research was a national interview study of 41 Queer and Trans Resource Center professionals who work to support Queer and Trans students in higher education. Outside of his professional and academic responsibilities, Kristopher serves as an executive board member of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals and the Director of Research for ACPA’s Coalition for Sexualities and Gender Identities. He has previously worked with and volunteered for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Texas Tech Big 12 LGBTQIA Summit, and the Trevor Project. Travis H. Olson, M.A. (he/him/his), is a doctoral student in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University. His research focuses on the impacts of accountability policies and quantification on higher education. He is currently utilizing critical and poststructural perspectives to examine how the use of big data and algorithms influence what practitioners know—and continue not to know—about addressing educational inequities. Previously, Travis worked as a leadership educator at the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and Johns Hopkins University. He holds a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University and bachelor’s degrees from Loyola University Chicago. Travis has written on identity, power, and social change for New Directions for Student Leadership and the Brill Encyclopedia of Queer Studies in Education. He tweets at @travis_lsn.

Contributors xvii Kaity Prieto, Ph.D. (she/her), is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education/Student Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi. Previously, she served as the University Innovation Alliance Fellow for The Ohio State University, and it was from this perspective that she authored the chapter included in this volume. Kaity earned a Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs from Ohio State, as well as a M.A. in higher education and student affairs and a B.A. in the self-designed honors program from New York University. She has written and presented on the experiences of LGBTQ+ students, with a research focus on bisexual, pansexual, and queer student identities and experiences. Find her on Twitter @kaity_prieto. Gabriel Pulido, M.A. (he/him/él), is a higher education doctoral candidate with a double minor in African American and Diaspora Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. Gabriel’s research commitments center the experiences of queer and trans students of color, with specific attention on activism and performance. In particular, Gabriel is interested in understanding how these experiences shape their postsecondary education. Gabriel’s academic and creative writing often intersect and find a home at the center of healing. When not working toward obtaining his Ph.D., Gabriel competes and coaches at national poetry slam competitions. Gabriel considers himself a conjurer of joy, compassion, and resilience, as he uses both creative and academic writing to work toward collective liberation. He holds a master of arts in higher education and student affairs, and a bachelor’s in critical race and ethnic studies and Latin American and Latino studies. finn j. schneider, Ph.D. (they/them), currently serves as Director and Ombuds in the Student Conflict Resolution Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. They are also an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education at the University of St. Thomas. finn’s work in higher education has included conflict resolution, leadership development, policy development through equity frameworks, LGBTQIA+ services, academic skill coaching and writing support, violence prevention, and residential life. Their scholarship explores queer subjectivities in educational contexts, whiteness in educational contexts, anti-racist approaches to pedagogical practice, and LGBTQIA+ students’ campus experiences. Bri C. Sérráno, M.Ed. (he/him/his or they/them/theirs), is a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education Leadership program at Colorado State University. Concurrently, Bri also serves as Program Director of the Queer Culture and Resource Center at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and is an adjunct faculty in the Ethnic and Women’s Studies department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Bri’s scholarship focuses on the gender binary in admissions, race in holistic admissions, QTLatinx experiences, and the experiences of transgender staff with policies in higher education. Bri is also an a BIPOC Scholar in the Point

xviii  Contributors Foundation, an American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Graduate Fellow, and a Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Fellow in the California State University System Chancellor’s Office. Bri holds an M.Ed. from The Pennsylvania State University in College Student Affairs, a B.A. in American studies, and a B.A. in American studies from California State University, Fullerton. Brandon R. G. Smith, M.Ed. (he/him/his), is a Canadian doctoral student at Michigan State University in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education program. As a first-generation student, Brandon completed an M.Ed. in higher education at The University of Toronto—OISE and a B.A. at Trent University. Prior to beginning Ph.D. studies in fall 2019, Brandon worked in progressive leadership roles as a student affairs administrator from 2008 to 2019 at Mount Royal University, McMaster University, and Toronto Metropolitan University. Brandon’s research focuses on issues related to leadership and administration, as well as student success in postsecondary education—all within the context of the United States and Canada. Recently, his work as a doctoral fellow with the University Innovation Alliance concentrated on financial aid access; specifically, how financial aid access relates to the identities and characteristics of graduating undergraduate students. Brandon’s current research explores the careers of mid-level student affairs administrators working in postsecondary education. This research concentrates on mid-level administrators’ “career mindsets” and what organizational factors support—or hinder—this population’s abilities to succeed. Annemarie Vaccaro, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), is a Professor in the School of Education and an Associate Dean in the College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of Rhode Island. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Castleton State College and a master’s degree in student affairs from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also has a master’s degree in sociology and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Denver. Annemarie’s scholarship focuses on equity and social (in)justice in higher education. Her qualitative research has been published in higher education, psychology, social justice, and human development journals. Annemarie is also the co-author of three books: Centering Women of Color in Academic Counterspaces: A  Critical Race Analysis of Teaching, Learning, and Classroom Dynamics (with Camba-Kelsay); Decisions Matter: Using a Decision Making Framework with Contemporary Student Affairs Case Studies (with McCoy, Champagne, and Siegel); and Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth (with August and Kennedy). Jerry A. Yang, B.S. (he/him/his), is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant at Stanford University, pursuing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and an M.A. in education. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, with a certificate in LGBTQ+/

Contributors xix sexualities studies. Jerry is currently researching novel two-dimensional materials for conventional and quantum computing applications. In addition, Jerry’s research interests include diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in engineering higher education; the intersections of sociology, feminist, and queer theory and their applications to diversity/equity/inclusion issues in engineering; and mixed-methods study designs for conducting education research. Bianca Tonantzin Zamora, M.S. (she/her), is Associate Director for Stanford University’s School of Humanities and Sciences. In her role, she serves as the lead strategist for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for staff. This includes developing the vision and strategic plan, overseeing training, informing policies, and working with managers and staff to create a culture of inclusion. Bianca leads national diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops with education, technology, and government organizations. As a proud queer Latina poet and organizer for grass-roots coalitions, Bianca has spoken at Monterey Peninsula Pride, Women’s March, Latina Leadership Gala, Sonoma State University Queer Lecture Series, Women’s Global Leadership Initiative, University of South Carolina, and LGBTQ+ Latinx Film Fe.

1 Introduction Unpacking the Insider/ Outsider Paradox and the Concept of Queerness as Doing Jesus Cisneros and T.J. Jourian Patricia Hill Collins (1999) developed the concept of being an outsider within to describe “how a social group’s placement in the specific, historical context of race, gender, and class inequality might influence its point of view on the world” (p.  85). Centering the experiences of Black women specifically, outsider within built on Collins’ (1990) theorizations of feminist standpoint theory and Black feminist thought to bring to light the intersectional collusion of racism, sexism, and classism to produce and sustain inequities. When those rendered invisible by the epistemically privileged become conscious of their sociopolitical position and power (or lack thereof) within society and begin to find their voice, that is when standpoints emerge and knowledge acquisition begins. The development of a group’s self-definition and self-valuation, along with an awareness of the intersectionality of oppression and the valuing of one’s culture(s) (Black women’s in Collins’ case, LGBTQ+ communities’ in ours), allows individuals to use our outsider within status to introduce unique perspectives and actualize unique modes of being and doing (Collins, 2004). It is precisely for this reason “that standpoints of oppressed groups are suppressed,” as they can and do “stimulate resistance” (Collins, 1990, p.  29). Similarly, LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners have taken up being insiders and outsiders, both navigating positionalities simultaneously or interchangeably and activating the duality toward resistance (Eliason, 2016; Humphrey, 2007). To be an outsider within institutions is to consciously activate one’s marginality to enact social change and work for equity and liberation. It is this propensity for doing invoked by one’s status as simultaneously an insider and an outsider that this volume leans on. The perspectives and professional narratives of LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners are not frequently centered in the literature (Renn, 2010). This two-volume series features firsthand accounts of how LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners navigate the phenomenon of being simultaneously insiders and outsiders with regard to their communities and institutions. These two volumes are positioned to intervene into the literature on LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners in higher education by exploring the ways that groups and DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-1

2  Jesus Cisneros and T.J. Jourian individuals experience the insider/outsider paradox within postsecondary contexts. Furthermore, the two volumes in this series focus on the professional narratives of higher education scholars and practitioners to highlight how queerness as being and queerness as doing are inextricable from one another. The aim of this volume is to identify and name the intersections of these paradoxes by bringing these perspectives into the center of analysis and revealing the aspects of reality obscured by more orthodox approaches. Sharing the stories of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners within higher education, both of these volumes take up the important question of what it means to occupy both positions of oppression within society and degrees of privilege in the context of their work. The purpose of this edited text is to further explore the insider/outsider paradox that LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners in higher education variously contend with. This volume specifically highlights this paradox through conceptualizing queerness as a form of doing. The chapters within this volume extend queerness beyond positionality and actualize it as disruptive, active, and a method of inquiry and exploration. It builds on the first volume, which illustrated “the ways that queerness is adopted as an identity and the subsequent tensions that emerge in heteronormative and trans oppressive settings within college campuses” (Duran et al., 2022, p. 2). In this Introduction, we present the chapters to come by elucidating how we engage with the insider/ outsider paradox. Additionally, we bring our own engagement with the paradox into the dialogue through interspersed short vignettes. We overview our conceptualization of queerness as doing, among other modes of queerness, and conclude with a short description of the chapters included in this book.

(Re)Defining the Insider/Outsider Paradox Grappling with one’s positionality as an insider or outsider vis-á-vis institutions and dominant ideologies is not the only version of this paradox that we may confront. Within the world of research, insider/outsider status is often understood to mean the degree to which a researcher is located within or outside a community being researched (Merton, 1972). In this book, we extend the definition to include practice: the degree to which a scholar or practitioner is located within or outside a community with which they engage. Insider status entails shared common characteristics, such as sexual orientation or gender, while outsider status can mean distance from lived experience based on social location.

Jesus Cisneros In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and

Introduction 3 gender identity. As a resident of Texas, which previously did not afford me such protections, that announcement caused a huge relief. At the time, I was waiting to hear back from the university president and the board of regents regarding my tenure and promotion decision. I  was conscious of the fact that my file, which described my teaching, scholarship, and service, was very queer. Though I was confident in the quality of my work, I was less confident about the subjective and political nature of tenure and promotion decisions. At least now, I thought, with the Supreme Court decision, I had a legal recourse for discrimination as a queer-identified scholar. But what exactly did that mean? Was I legit now? Like other outsiders within, I had previously been able to navigate a relationship with my institution in a way that allowed my institution to accept me as an insider despite those factors (i.e., queer, immigrant, of color) that made me an outsider. So, what, if anything, changed for queer scholars and practitioners like myself? My relationship with the institution remained embedded in multiple systems of oppression and held in place by inequitable power relations. What did the Supreme Court decision mean for me, and how did that change the meaning of tenure and promotion? Did my inclusion serve to merely assimilate a more diverse workforce within an oppressive institution, rather than transform the system itself?

Critics of insiderness assert that insiders’ closeness to their community may cloud their views and lead to biased outcomes (Kanuha, 2000; Wilkinson & Kitzinger, 2013). The general argument is that when individuals closely identify with community experiences and perspectives, they may fail to approach situations in a critical manner or have difficulty intellectually and emotively distancing themselves. Proponents of insiderness, on the other hand, argue that their positioning provides a contextual understanding of the community that outsiders do not possess, challenging preconceived notions of their communities and expanding scholarly knowledge (Kanuha, 2000; Valentine, 2002). Insider status gives individuals a deeper contextual insight into the community, allowing for the development of better questions and interventions. We heed Chhabra’s (2020) caution against romanticizing the insider who possesses tacit knowledge and privileged access to a marginal group, while vilifying the idealized outsider position, predicated on objectivity and value-neutrality. LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners variously negotiate this insider/outsider paradox when conducting research or engaging in advocacy with the communities they identify with, while simultaneously holding positional power over those same communities (Eliason, 2016). The duality of being insiders to communities while outsiders to institutions and outsiders to communities while insiders to institutions is further un-binarized when considering the heterogeneity of LGBTQ+ communities, complicated or nuanced by

4  Jesus Cisneros and T.J. Jourian aspects like race, class, gender, disability, or citizenship. Deflating oppressions and doing so intersectionally, thus, necessitates unveiling and undoing how they manifest, not just institutionally, but also within LGBTQ+ communities and spaces. Cisgenderism and heterosexism have long been hegemonic in higher education, and higher education practice inevitably reflects these traditions. Cisheteronormative insiderism in U.S. higher education has largely been tacit or de facto and taken the form of patterned expectations. LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners have spent much of their tenure coping with, avoiding, subverting, and challenging the workings of cisheteronormative insiderism. Their efforts in dealing with the effects of interlocking systems of oppression have produced a standpoint distinct from, and in many ways opposed to, that of cisheteronormative insiderism. However, our understanding of this phenomenon from the standpoint of LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners is quite limited (Renn, 2010). How do LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners negotiate the insider/outsider paradox in higher education?

T.J. Jourian In 2019, I  made the decision to leave my tenure-track faculty role— located somewhere I no longer wished to live—to choose life over work in that perennial work-life “balance” that is often touted and rarely achieved in higher education (Squire  & Nicolazzo, 2019). My former “home’s” iron-clad grasp of binaries (gender, race, sexuality, etc.) belabored my existence as an immigrant queer trans man of color, as others often misread me as a citizen and a white, cisgender, heterosexual man. The years of self-work and advocacy I had done to be able to live in my truth, within and outside of institutions, were perpetually erased with these misconceptions, as I  oscillated between hypervisibility and invisibility in academia (Jourian, 2022). The undoing of queerness and transness as an actionable and theoretical vehicle within higher education institutions was palpable for me. The constant push and pull between insider and outsider by others and their perceptions, unable to fathom another’s existence beyond that particular binary, elicited a particular kind of exhaustion. The exhaustion itself reinforced the undoing of my queerness and transness, as I found myself too emotionally drained to continue to declare myself into a space. There is joy and pain in the paradox, confusion and revelation, and there is a void where the paradox—much like queer and trans people—remains unseen.

Our use of the word “paradox” problematizes how being an insider or outsider does not always guarantee sole insider or outsider status—meaning that

Introduction 5 we doubt it is ever possible to be just one or the other vis-á-vis academic institutions. We utilize the language of “paradox,” not as value laden, but rather to describe the simultaneity of being an insider and an outsider, the relational complexity of transitioning between the two positions, and particularly the way the roles interpenetrate each other. This book series centers the professional narratives of LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners who experience an insider/outsider continuum in higher education (Hellawell, 2006), ourselves included.

Queerness as Being and Queerness as Doing Narrating the Insider/Outsider Paradox as LGBTQ+ Scholars and Practitioners acknowledges the ways LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners are placed in a unique position to experience real-time contestations, conflicts, and contradictions occurring in practice, as related to their insider/outsider status. Being “on” the ground and living “in” it allows LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners to theorize through experience as they interpret those experiences to reshape theory (i.e., insider/outsider paradox). This perspective emphasizes theory as being in the background and foreground of practice, and the micro level of human interaction forms the basis of theoretical contestations and revisions through the interplay of insider and outsider roles. Specifically, scholars have argued that queerness can be thought of as an identity (i.e., being a queer person) and/or as a practice or politic, which signifies a resistance of dominant norms in society (Burford & Allen, 2019; Cohen, 1997; Duran et al., 2020; Muñoz, 2009; Somerville, 2014).

Volume 1—Queerness as Being The first volume explored the insider/outsider paradox through scholars and practitioners navigating affect, legibility, and embodiment. Being a member of the broad and diverse LGBTQ+ community and an institution of higher education does not imbue one with an inherent insider status in that community or institution. Most must navigate their relationships to both, at times in conflict, other times in harmony, and sometimes irrelevant to each other. As institutional insiders, LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners gain deeper insight into the institution than students or those outside the institution.

Antonio Duran I came to queer work and research within the academy with a desire to see myself and people like me represented in higher education. As a queer Latino cisgender man, I frequently viewed the identities of queer and trans communities in postsecondary education settings fragmented,

6  Jesus Cisneros and T.J. Jourian as scholars failed to consider how multiple systems of marginalization disproportionately impacted particular queer and trans individuals. I  wanted to help change this through my contributions to LGBTQ+ centers, as well as in my scholarship with queer students of color. Along the way, I  started to discover what it meant to do this kind of work within campus settings. In particular, I began to wrestle with my positioning as an insider and outsider relative to higher education and the communities I hoped to serve. As I  moved further into my career, I  recognized the sacrifices that I  may have to make in advocating for queer and trans communities. When mobilizing alongside queer and trans faculty, staff, and students at a previous institution, I often heard messages to not push too much, in fear of jeopardizing my attempt at obtaining tenure. When attempting to engage different types of methodologies, epistemologies, and frameworks not as familiar to those invested in the study of postsecondary education, mentors warned me about pursuing work that was not fundable or that would not make it into top-tier journals. And all the while, I  worried about comprising the very reason I wanted to do queer work in the academy. It is in the midst of these struggles that I entered into these volumes.

As most insiders, for a variety of reasons, are to some extent outsiders as well, they also have to negotiate their relationship with the institution. However, their insider status gives them a deeper contextual insight into the institution. Paradoxically, the outsider will lack privileges that only an insider can possess, and the insider will instinctively know things the outsider could, at most, understand shallowly. Being either or both an insider and outsider is inevitable. Gender and sexuality intersect or even interfere with other aspects of insider/outsider status. Yet we gain a reflexive position, attending to our whole positionality as either or both insiders and outsiders. As “queerness inherently eludes a singular definition” (Duran et al., 2022, p. 4), it necessarily challenges binaries, both conceptual and material, including binaries of identity and being. The first volume presented queerness as a form of embodied critique and resistance to a cisheteronormative world, lived and interpreted through the chapter authors’ own relationships to and meaning-making of their queer and trans identities. Specifically, the authors variously navigated issues of affect, legibility, and embodiment of queerness on higher education campuses.

Volume 2—Queerness as Doing Despite the editorial decision to demarcate and separate queerness as being and queerness as doing into two volumes, we do not posit these as separate themselves. In fact, queerness would deride such a binary itself, aware of how embodiments and actions are intertwined, somewhat similar to how theory and practice in student affairs necessarily inform each other. As Collins (1998)

Introduction 7 herself asserted, “members of [minoritized] groups do in fact theorize, and our critical social theory has been central to our political empowerment and search for justice” (p. xvi). That is to say, who we are, how we think, how we experience the world, and how the world experiences us are an entangled queer mess. This is not to say that there is a linear connection between a singular queer way of being and a singular queer way of doing, as there is no singular definition to queerness to begin with. Within this volume, the authors examine their experiences of the insider/ outsider paradox through the enactment of disruption, queer methods, and action (Compton et al., 2018; Jourian & Nicolazzo, 2017; Rand, 2014). It deepens attention to the ways people do queerness (Burford & Allen, 2019; Cohen, 1997; Duran et al., 2020; Somerville, 2014). Far from serving as an alternative to queerness as being, queerness as doing is in a constant feedback loop with its embodied partner.

Ryan A. Miller As a queer researcher working with queer and trans student populations, I am conscious that I am never fully an insider and never fully an outsider. As a first-generation college graduate, I  question everything about higher education—this strange system I entered without insider knowledge to navigate it in the “right” ways. This curiosity informed my choice to become a student affairs administrator and then a faculty member. I am a white, cisgender man, and as a researcher, I have interviewed students of color and trans students; I  do not presently have a disability, and yet disability and disabled students are at the center of much of my work. We may, in some instances, have shared rapport around queerness, but not necessarily along dimensions of dis/ability, race, or gender identity. When I disclose my identities to students—the identities we do not share with each other—I foreclose the possibility that students will respond to questions with, “Well, you know what I mean” (Kanuha, 2000, p. 442). By doing so, do I position people with minoritized identities as experts and educators? Then, as I share research results, others may confer on me some level of “expertise” that was not mine to begin with—even though I ultimately attempt to share or retell participants’ stories through my own lenses, qualifying any product as a negotiation between researcher and participant. While I  attempt to research with humility, an open mind, and respect, I recognize that these well-intended practices do not mitigate power differentials or erase harm I  may unknowingly cause. The danger of an open mind is that I might misunderstand and misuse what I am hearing. Meanwhile, the danger of not doing this work is to reaffirm the false notion that disabled people are solely responsible for working against ableism, that one must be fully and completely an “insider” to do the work.

8  Jesus Cisneros and T.J. Jourian The authors in this volume grapple with these (at times competing) realities as they intervene queerly through disruption, queer methods, and action, deploying queerness as practice and politic (Burford  & Allen, 2019). With the scant scholarship on LGBTQ+ faculty (LaSala et al., 2008; Patridge et al., 2014; Pitcher, 2018) and student affairs practitioners’ (Kortegast & van der Toorn, 2018; Simmons, 2017) experiences pointing to ongoing hostilities, rejections, and conditional acceptances, the authors reposition LGBTQ+ individuals on higher education campuses, not merely as bodies, but also as methodologies of queering postsecondary education. They highlight a standpoint of and for LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners that produces certain commonalities while recognizing the diversity of class, race, gender, disability, and citizenship shaping individuals’ expressions of these common themes. Additionally, they animate the ways in which context, time, and the environments in which they find themselves necessitate alternative modes of queerness as doing, which is to say, “as social conditions change, so must the knowledge and practices designed to resist them” (Collins, 1990, p. 39).

Overview of Chapters This volume contains 14 chapters in which the authors explore insider/ outsider dynamics around methodology and research; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields; institutional life; identitybased center work; whiteness; and more. Similar to the first volume, we must acknowledge our own failures in making Indigenous and trans women’s perspectives show up in this text. Far from diminishing the expansiveness of what the present chapter authors offer and grapple with, this acknowledgment seeks to name that, yet again, the very voices that ought to be centered are not even in the room, let alone in the margins. The existence of cissexism, trans oppression, and heterosexism, particularly on Turtle Island (what is currently known as the United States), is a product of the colonial project that sought to exterminate Indigeneity, Indigenous ways of knowing, and Indigenous people and ways of being (Lugones, 2007). And the collusion of misogyny, trans oppression, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, and classism precludes possibilities for trans women, particularly Black, brown, and Indigenous, who contend with a myriad of violences and injustices incessantly. Rather than quietly and passively allow for them to be missing from these pages, we wish to enliven and louden their exclusion—intention be damned. In this volume, LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners are at times institutional insiders and community outsiders, and at times the inverse (interestingly, narratives of those who find themselves to be insiders to both their institutions and queer communities appear to be missing). Such im/balances and performances produce theoretically relevant knowledge for further understanding the insider/outsider paradox. Using practice to theorize the insider/outsider

Introduction 9 paradox reveals hidden experiences, critiques, and theoretical boundaries (Boltanski, 2011). Establishing such practical and theoretical insights bridges the insider/outsider paradox by pushing theoretical boundaries to gain a deeper understanding of theoretical divergences. By drawing on the personal, firsthand experience of authors functioning as conduits between their insider and outsider roles, theory is simultaneously reproduced and contested in practice. As knowledge agents, the authors in this book articulate particular meanings, organize them around particular logics, and enact organization patterns that shape higher education research and practice. In “ ‘Low-key from the university’: Making sense of researcher positionality and professional identity as bi+ women in academia,” Kaity Prieto and Victoria Barbosa Olivo interrogate the ethics of sexuality research and describe how they navigate the insider/outsider paradox as bisexual researchers within postsecondary contexts. By collaborating with their co-researchers to construct (counter)narratives, they challenge “hetero-, homo-, and mononormative conceptualizations of sexuality” and honor their stories by “questioning[ing] what constitutes ethical sexuality research.” Meg C. Jones, Annemarie Vaccaro, Rachel E. Friedensen, Desiree Forsythe, Rachael Forester, Ryan A. Miller, and Ezekiel W. Kimball invite readers to become active witnesses and co-participants in their extended dialogue about the complexity of the insider/outsider paradox in “Who are we to do this research? Duoethnographic reflections on the insider/outsider paradox in queer research.” Their “often messy and non-linear” conversations reflect the nuance of their insider/outsider relationships to not only queerness but also STEM fields. finn j. schneider and Carly Duran-Marrero illustrate the fluidity and contingency of their insider/outsider status as queer and trans scholars engaging in research alongside queer and trans students. In “Embodied paradox, queered dialogue: Navigating insider/outsider subjectivities in higher education research,” they describe layered power dynamics and multiple sites of the insider/outsider paradox navigated via their community-engaged, queer(ed) research, so as to surface “possibilities for subverting oppressive and diminishing power formations in higher education research.” In “Switching up, positions,” Gabriel Pulido offers excerpts of poetry and short stories to detail how the insider and outsider positioning informs everyday lived experiences (“How I express, the way I dress,/Try to boa constrict all of my sharp edges”). These stories are offerings from Pulido’s life as a queer and trans person of color. Andrea D. Domingue and Daniel J. Foster explore how the insider/outsider paradox manifests as they enact mandated policies and practices that do not align with their personal politics and sometimes are at odds with the competing interests and needs of the individuals they serve. Through “Will the master’s tools dismantle the master’s house? Navigating student conduct and conflict work as queer administrators in higher education,” they provide insights to support professionals navigating similar tensions between their

10  Jesus Cisneros and T.J. Jourian politics, roles, and the communities they serve “to better understand, address, and traverse these tensions.” Travis H. Olson, Emily J. Abrams, and Brandon R. G. Smith describe their queer, situated knowledges as mechanisms for navigating the paradoxes of institutional life as student affairs practitioners in “Tearing it apart while holding it together: Using queer, situated knowledges to navigate the paradoxes of institutional life.” With graduate programs having “exposed the ugly truth of how higher education institutions have treated queer, disabled, and racially minoritized people,” they contemplate stepping away from romanticized narratives of what higher education ought to be and, instead, working from the grounded position of what it is. Kristopher A. Oliveira reflects on his work, in “Navigating three QT resource centers: Identifying and dismantling discursive logics of oppression,” to highlight the precarity of being socially and institutionally located inside, outside, in-between, and disjointed from the queer and trans communities he aims to represent and serve. He reflects on the challenges of grounding intersectional work through cultural centers, the limitations of campus climate research, and institutional responses to the stated needs of queer and trans students. Roman Christiaens and Chelsea E. Noble use their professional experiences in “Insiders, outsiders, and dangerous waters: Homonormative whiteness in LGBTQ+ resource centers” to problematize LGBTQ+ resource centers’ reproduction of the said homonormative whiteness. By interrogating their insider/outsider statuses, they present tensions and opportunities to undo its existence and harm and push their “fellow white queer and trans professionals . . . to push LGBTQ+ RCs towards anti-racist practice and racial justice.” Being “the only queer woman on the tenure track . . . in over thirteen years” at what is described as a “progressive small liberal arts college known for being queer-accepting,” Emily Fairchild explores how her positionality as a white queer/lesbian tenured faculty member is a choice of emphasis within contexts where her relation to students affects her relation to faculty, and vice versa. In “Creating insiders as the only one out,” she describes the ways she navigates the insider/outsider paradox by strategically situating herself as an insider to students and faculty to different ends. In “Under the queer umbrella: Strategies and struggles of intersectional activism,” Bianca Tonantzin Zamora shares her experiences as a queer Latina and activist organizing in and out of higher education. She explores the opportunities and challenges of intersectional activism for professionals who exist within the insider/outsider paradox and engage in advocacy in community and in higher education and asks, “Have we forgotten where queer activist roots come from?” Using a collaborative autoethnography, Bri C. Sérráno and Sergio A. Gonzales make meaning of their own positionalities to better understand the insider/outsider discourse. In “Queer, trans, and brown in higher education: The outsiders within?,” they engage in pláticas to describe the ways they “show up” for themselves and others through their work, highlighting,

Introduction 11 centering, and validating Latinx queer and trans people in higher education spaces, both formal and informal. In the final contributed chapter of this volume, Brandon Bakka, Madeleine Jennings, and Jerry A. Yang highlight how external and internal cultural factors affect the meaning-making processes of LGBTQIA+ doctoral students, particularly those in engineering fields aspiring toward faculty positions. In “Today’s grad students, tomorrow’s faculty: LGBTQIA+ graduate student experiences navigating the insider/outsider paradox in engineering,” they describe the juxtaposition of confronting incidents of erasure and discrimination throughout the scientific community while maintaining authentic identities as LGBTQIA+ scholars.

Conclusion Within this volume, authors describe navigating the insider/outsider paradox as LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners in higher education, enacting micro and macro resistances through practice, research, and relationships. In this way, queerness is a performative because it is not simply a being but also a doing “for and toward the future” (Muñoz, 2009, p. 1). These perspectives are necessary to illustrate the challenges and opportunities that exist in higher education, as LGBTQ+ people attempt to move the needle toward equity by mobilizing scholarship, pedagogy, and practice.

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Introduction 13 Renn, K. A. (2010). LGBT and queer research in higher education: The state and status of the field. Educational Researcher, 39(2), 132–141. https://doi.org/10. 3102%2F0013189X10362579 Simmons, S. L. (2017). A thousand words are worth a picture: A snapshot of trans* postsecondary educators in higher education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 30(3), 266–284. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/ 09518398.2016.1254303 Somerville, S. B. (2014). Queer. In B. Burgett & G. Hendler (Eds.), Keywords for American cultural studies (2nd ed., Web-version). New York University Press. http://keywords.nyupress.org/american-cultural-studies/essay/queer/ Squire, D. D., & Nicolazzo, Z. (2019). Love my naps, but stay woke: The case against self-care. About Campus, 24(2), 4–11. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F10 86482219869997 Valentine, G. (2002). People like us: Negotiating sameness and difference in the research process. In P. Moss (Ed.), Feminist geography in practice: Research and methods (pp. 116–126). Wiley-Blackwell. Wilkinson, S., & Kitzinger, C. (2013). Representing our own experience: Issues in “insider” research. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 37(2), 251–255. https:// doi.org/10.1177%2F0361684313483111

2 “Low-Key from the University” Making Sense of Researcher Positionality and Professional Identity as Bi+ Women in Academia Kaity Prieto and Victoria Barbosa Olivo I know you’re like, it’s part of an academic thing, but you’re low-key from the university. But I don’t, I don’t know, a hundred percent trust the university as collective, as a whole. So, I’m like, “Hmm. Can I say these things?” —Alex, Bisexual College Student Identity Negotiation study participant

The orienting quote with which we begin this chapter captures the insider/ outsider paradox within higher education sexuality research. This quote comes from my (Kaity’s) dissertation research on bisexual college student identity negotiation. During our interview, Alex voiced her concern around sharing critical feedback with someone she perceived to be a university official. Prior to this comment, Alex and I had spent significant time establishing rapport and bonding over common experiences. It did not matter that, at the time, I was a full-time student with a graduate assistantship. In Alex’s eyes, my allegiance may have been to the institution rather than to bisexual students like herself. Clearly, Alex’s view of me was very different from how I understood myself— both as a queer person and as a researcher. When we engage with bisexual+ students, we draw on our identities and mutual understandings. In this sense, we are perceived as insiders due to our bisexual+ identities. Yet, when students like Alex view us with skepticism because of our institutional affiliation, we are simultaneously viewed as outsiders. Conversely, our queerness positions us in opposition to institutional norms, again relegating us to the role of outsider within the university context. The insider/outsider dynamic as we experience it is not binary at all but highly context dependent. With this tension in mind, we explore our experiences within higher education as individuals with an array of marginalized identities who are nevertheless at times viewed as agents of an oppressive system. What does it mean to strive to conduct research with a liberatory potential while being complicit in the maintenance of an unjust institution (i.e., the university)? Although we view our own queerness as a form of opposition to DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-2

“Low-Key from the University” 15 normative notions of multiculturalism, we acknowledge that neoliberalism’s logics are such that even nonconformity cannot effectively function as resistance (Winnubst, 2012). We expand on how we continue to grapple with such philosophical concerns, highlighting the ways students like Alex have held us accountable. To begin, we acknowledge the importance of researcher positionality by describing how our educational trajectories and social identities pushed us to investigate bisexual+ students and shaped our research process. Growing up in poverty, I (Victoria) quickly learned that education was the only escape from my family’s experiences with generational oppression and marginalization. Therefore, I have a vested interest in creating and maintaining spaces where students from similar backgrounds can find opportunities to ensure their safety, survival, and education to think critically. When I think of my experiences in poverty as a multiracial, bisexual woman growing up in a racialized, heteronormative, capitalistic system, I am troubled about the steps I and people around me had to take to survive. I am also troubled by the socialization I have experienced. At one point in my life, I truly believed that people like my family and I were not suited for higher education. I had internalized the dominant ideologies around me, and it took many years to undo that learning. I now take a critical epistemological stance on my research and my social world. While higher education has been a source of opportunity, I still see how higher education institutions uphold the very systems that oppress so many vulnerable groups. My research, as a labor of love, has illuminated ethical concerns that are rooted in my own experiences and motives for engaging in higher education scholarship. My (Kaity’s) path to higher education looked quite different from Victoria’s. Both my parents had college degrees, although my mother slowly worked her way through school. Nevertheless, college was a forgone conclusion for me. It was not a path to a better life; it was a way to ensure I could maintain the class privilege with which I grew up. Rather, I saw college as a space where I could explore my queerness in ways my suburban high school never allowed. I  was open as a queer woman during my undergraduate years. However, when I accepted my first full-time position in higher education and enrolled in a master’s program (both at my undergraduate institution), I found those around me were quick to assume my heterosexuality. I felt uncertain of myself as a new administrator and even less sure how to correct senior colleagues. My queerness seemed at odds with the socialization I was experiencing as a young professional. My inward understanding of my queerness never wavered; however, my outward presentation became more heteronormative. I allowed the assumption to persist and, in most cases, passed as straight. The experience of being “straight passing” is one that Victoria and I share. These experiences have led to our interest in researching bisexuality, which has allowed us to (re)claim our sexual identities on our terms. We have created community with one another and with the students who generously share their stories. Our research decisions are guided by a critical poststructural epistemology. Congruently, our queer theoretical framework allows us to analyze

16  Kaity Prieto and Victoria Barbosa Olivo the systems of power shaping bisexual+ student experiences (Abes & Kasch, 2007; Butler, 1990; Jones et al., 2013). Methodologically, we draw upon Jourian and Nicolazzo’s (2017) work that seeks to disrupt the researcher/subject binary and enables researchers to work in community with participants who serve as co-researchers. By collaborating with our co-researchers to construct a (counter)narrative, we challenge hetero-, homo-, and mononormative conceptualizations of sexuality. To honor our co-researchers’ stories, we must continuously question what constitutes ethical sexuality research. This has generated robust reflection, both independently and in community with one another. We have continuously grappled with what it means to be dually positioned as insiders and outsiders, and what that means for our research. Our reflections (research journal excerpts, author conversations, interview data) lay the foundation for this chapter.

The Insider/Outsider Paradox: How We View Ourselves, and How Others View Us Coming “out” is not a one-time event. In fact, Yoshino (2007) reminds us that “coming out is a process as endless as its audiences” (p. 51). My (Kaity’s) endless need to assert my identity is tedious and exhausting. As a new professional, I opted for the safe choice, a decision I am not proud of but that my recent scholarship has helped me better understand. I grappled with the emotional toll of bisexual erasure, an erasure I  felt complicit in perpetuating (Yoshino, 2000). I assured myself that enrolling in a Ph.D. program and studying bisexuality would offer a fresh start. It did. I came out to my cohort during orientation. Completing my doctoral journey and re-entering the workforce again came with a choice— unapologetically assert my queer identity or find myself closeted again. I chose the former and the challenges that came with it. Although I am open about my bisexuality at work, the assumption that I “look” straight persists. This is unsurprising given the liminal imperceptibility of bisexuality, wherein people often believe they can identify non-heterosexuality in others but not bisexuality in particular (Hayfield, 2013). And because I am a full-time administrator, I worry about what that means for building rapport with participants. If Alex, whose quote frames this chapter, vocalized distrust of me when I was a graduate assistant, what would she think now that I was working for an institution that failed to protect her from homophobia and binegativity? This tension came up for me (Victoria) in my interviews with a graduate student co-researcher in our most recent study. In my journal entries I reflected on our methodological decision to treat participants as co-researchers. I did my best to express to co-researchers that while I  was asking questions during the interview, they had the agency to control where the interview would go. Some welcomed this invitation and enthusiastically led the conversation, sharing their full selves with us, even when topics veered away from sexuality (e.g., pets, family dynamics, lab equipment). However, there were times when

“Low-Key from the University” 17 co-researchers were weary of our invitation. For example, David reluctantly started the interview. He took an extensive amount of time to answer questions and when he did, he answered short and unsure of himself. Therefore, David never truly guided the interview, instead remaining passive and answering each question carefully so as not to deviate from what he considered relevant to the research topic. My encouragements appeared to confuse him as toward the end of the second interview, he finally blurted out, “I’m not understanding what you are trying to get out of me with these questions.” I then realized David wasn’t interested in sharing his story with me; rather, he was intrigued by our project. By the end of the study, he did start to share more as I  explained how we value narratives as a source of knowledge. He wasn’t quite sold. Yet once I  began the “what should we have asked you” questions, he suddenly lit up and wanted to talk. I learned not all approaches work the same for all participants. David’s background as a researcher in social psychology (i.e., as a research insider) may have led him to feel there was a secret being hidden from him. Our transparency appeared as a ruse rather than an honest invitation. Despite his struggles to openly share his personal experiences, he was beaming with joy to advise us on how we could incorporate questions he thought worthy of consideration. This type of “you should have asked x, y, and z” occurred during multiple interviews, typically with people who studied sexuality. The suggestions for interview questions were so specific that it was clear these students did not take a role as an active co-researcher but rather a more traditional participant role. It was apparent that despite being encouraged to lead the interview in the ways that co-researchers saw fit, they did not want to share stories they felt were not specifically invited. For instance, we asked repeatedly about interpersonal relationships with organization members in higher education. Gwendolyn, who engaged in sexuality research, suggested we ask specific questions about faculty and sexual harassment as she mentioned that one of the questions reminded her of an inappropriate experience she had with a professor. However, because we never explicitly asked about harassment, she felt she could not bring it up. This experience illuminated the power of the researcher-participant binary. Some participants were unconsciously upholding this binary and were weary of our attempts to dismantle this divide. Although we did not ask participants why they appeared uncomfortable claiming agency as a co-researcher, we speculate this may be due to graduate student socialization in post-positivist traditions that stress the importance of this divide in “rigorous” research. These encounters with our co-researchers show the importance of one’s positionality and experiences. Initially, as a research team we were concerned about identities that we may not share with our participants such as gender or race/ethnicity. However, one consideration that we did not center was academic discipline. Our methodological choices were understood by those whose academic background lent itself to critical perspectives. However, for those whose departments promoted post-positivist thinking, it was difficult for

18  Kaity Prieto and Victoria Barbosa Olivo students to not only understand but also engage in our study as anything more than participants. They had to learn how to be a co-researcher throughout the study and to unlearn what it means to be a participant. Reflecting on these research experiences, in turn, influences how we see ourselves as researchers and professionals within higher education.

Negotiating Bi+ Identity in Higher Education Contexts Interacting with our co-researchers, presenting at conferences, and publishing our scholarship have made us visible as “queer researchers” (i.e., those who study queer students and are perceived as queer as a result). In turn, this limits our access to passing as an identity enactment strategy. We have had to ask ourselves, how does studying LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) student communities mark us as queer and, thus, as “other” within academia? Much like our co-researchers, we are acutely aware of notions of respectability in academic and professional contexts. Our gender, class, age, and racial/ethnic identities also shape the way we view our career prospects. Our professional experiences have communicated to us that queerness is only respectable when it aligns with white, middle class, cis-heterosexual norms (Joshi, 2012). Every day I (Kaity) make small, sometimes unconscious, choices to “cover.” This strategy is less absolute than passing and involves “ton[ing] down a disfavored identity to fit into the mainstream” (Yoshino, 2007, p. ix). For bisexual+ people, covering is often a response to binegativity and serves to protect one’s physical and emotional safety (Prieto Godoy, 2020). I recall three ways this process has shown up in my life, acknowledging there are infinite ways a queer person might choose to cover, shaped by multiple identities and contexts. I recall writing with a close friend. We were in a semi-private location, and, at the time, it was just the two of us. I was talking exuberantly about a potential direction for my dissertation, what I was learning about bisexuality from the literature, and my own experiences more fully embracing my identity. Midway through the conversation, a man whom I assumed—quite possibly incorrectly—to be straight entered the room. First, I went silent. Then I resumed speaking, but now I used gender-neutral pronouns and coded language to discuss my research. I was afraid of what this person might say or do if he heard me openly discussing my bisexuality. Here, this identity enactment strategy was a matter of physical safety. I have also felt concern for my professional and financial safety. For example, I applied for a faculty position in a more conservative department and chose to remove any mention of being a queer woman from my cover letter. My CV, however, was filled with references to my work with LGBTQ+ collegians— something I  would never want to hide yet understood might compromise my employability. I did not get an interview—probably for the best. Yet this experience highlighted for me the way my queerness, made visible through my

“Low-Key from the University” 19 research, potentially jeopardizes my employment prospects. This is a frightening realization; however, I  acknowledge my whiteness and access to family support make this a less worrisome scenario than it would be for people with multiple marginalized identities (e.g., queer and trans women of color, disabled queer people). Finally, I recall volunteering to deliver a training on bi+ identities to staff in my unit. As I crafted the presentation, I added quotes from my dissertation study. “I want to be proud of [identifying as bisexual],” M shared, “but I feel like some people think I’m trying to get attention.” Sharon said: I think if you share your LGBT identity, people feel like that’s very personal information even though the assumption that someone would be straight doesn’t seem like they’re sharing personal information. So, in a situation where it’s supposed to be [a] very professional or very academic relationship between you and whoever’s around you, if they found out that I was LGBT, they’d probably think that I overshared or something like that or start thinking too hard about it. As I  added these words to the slides, I  became increasingly insecure about the upcoming training. I  had spoken about this topic countless times—at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), the American College Personnel Association (ACPA)—College Student Educators International, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) conferences among others. What was different? As Sharon’s quote illustrates, the notion that I would be discussing my sexuality with administrative colleagues, as contrasted to like-minded sexuality researchers, seemed unprofessional. In their chapter on job “fit” and trans student affairs professionals, Venable et al. (2019) describe the practice of covering as collusion, which “serves to uphold oppressive systems in the interest of the survival of an individual” (p.  172). Although the authors acknowledge the importance of collusion, they also stress that it is necessary to resist and eventually dismantle these oppressive structures. I, thus, often wonder, where do I fit here as a sexuality researcher—in what ways does my work resist, and how am I complicit? In my (Victoria’s) experience, conducting sexuality research has positively affected me. I still struggle to openly identify as bisexual to colleagues who view me as someone who investigates racial issues. Conversely, I also struggle to determine when it is appropriate to emphasize my mestiza identity in queer white spaces. I often worry that people may perceive me as playing “oppression Olympics.” I  worry that people will feel I  need to “pick a lane” so to speak. As if you cannot care about more than one thing simultaneously. For instance, in spaces that center my race/ethnicity, when I did voice issues of sexuality or gender, I often experienced a long silent pause. No one seemed to know how to respond. Then, before I  knew it, we had moved on, and I could not help but wonder what people in the room were thinking. To be

20  Kaity Prieto and Victoria Barbosa Olivo fair, silence should not be assumed as negative. However, it is difficult when no one appears to want to engage. Additionally, as a bisexual woman, I often feel that others see me as a “diet” gay, a term exemplifying binegativity, as some do not view my sexuality as legitimate. Conversely, in queer academic spaces, I feel the tension of not being queer enough, as if I am taking up space that is not meant for me. Many of my coresearchers shared this feeling. While I have far less experience in queer academic spaces, I do experience anxiety around knowing when it is appropriate to mention my identity as a woman of color. My experiences in single-identity spaces have led to difficulty finding community where I  can present as my whole self, a phenomenon that other queer students of color have expressed (see Harris, 2003; Strayhorn et al., 2010; Strayhorn, 2014). To add another layer of complexity, like my queer identity, my identity as a woman of color is not apparent at first glance. As a light-skinned Latina, I am often assumed white until someone sees my full name or has an authentic discussion with me, such as when I get overly excited and my Spanglish accent becomes very prominent. Much like my queer identity, I  often unknowingly perform my queerness and/or ethnicity without being fully aware. Other times, my performance is intentional, stemming from pride. Unfortunately, I also cover or tone down these traits when I feel unsafe. I am constantly negotiating, constantly assessing the situation, and when something goes wrong, I  often wrongly internalize it and try to avoid those responses in the future. For instance, in my journal entries of my first week of doctoral classes, I wrote about feeling targeted by a white student who insisted on proving his “wokeness” to me. What followed were microaggressions, such as this person telling me there was no way he was racist because his best friend is “Hispanic” and even him challenging me to be “more open-minded,” as if my research interest on Hispanic-serving institutions somehow indicated I  was closeminded. My experience as a graduate student dealing with these issues was nuanced and I struggled to find myself reflected in the literature, as research on Latinx students experiencing microaggressions often centers undergraduates (e.g., Sanchez, 2019; Yosso et  al., 2009). My research interests were constantly questioned and invalidated, “Why not just study these issues at a regular school?” And when I voiced my frustrations, internalized notions of professionalism often left me feeling I had made a mistake by being too honest and vulnerable. After confronting my program about the racial microaggressions I was experiencing, I remember going out of my way to hide my queerness. I already felt that others saw my research interest in racialized organizations to be unnecessary or unimportant; why would I add another identity that others would minimize? This was particularly difficult for me because in my hometown I surrounded myself with other queer folk. This urge to cover my sexuality led to the further marginalization of my queer identity but support around my racial/ethnic identity, which furthered my irrational belief that I could only share one identity at a time in academia. I had to choose a single aspect of my

“Low-Key from the University” 21 identity if I wanted to be in community with others. Regardless of whether others felt this way, the fear of not knowing left me feeling there were no other options. It was not until I saw Kaity, despite our differences in identity, openly identifying and researching bisexual students, that I  had the courage to “come out” in this new professional environment. I am only beginning to learn what my queerness looks like in a professional setting. I still carry fear and anxiety regarding my sexuality, but due to my experience interviewing other bisexual+ students, I feel as though my sexuality has been legitimized. I am not alone, I am not wrong; it was never a phase. It simply is me, and everyone has a right to bring their authentic self to professional settings.

Becoming: Influence of Bisexuality Research on Researcher Identity As we have shared, our identities are constantly being negotiated within higher education. While our experiences as students and professionals impact our negotiation, our research has also influenced our queer identities. The opportunity to engage in the co-construction of sense-making for bisexual+ graduate students afforded us the privilege to reflect. There is joy in doing this work with one another and having a space to explore our own identities. Queer and feminist scholarship has begun to highlight how conducting qualitative sexuality research can affect the researchers—in both positive and negative ways. This includes finding joy in connecting with participants, the trauma of bearing witness to painful experiences, and exploring one’s own identity (Nelson, 2020). Our scholarship has had the unintended impact of expanding our own understandings of what it means to be bi/queer. I (Kaity) am reminded of how I chose to close my dissertation. I offer that final reflection here: I began this study knowing I would gain a deeper understanding of bisexual college students’ identity negotiation experiences; I  did not realize how this project would challenge me to think about my own. Although I strongly believe that stage-based, age-related developmental models fail to capture the realities of bisexual experience, engaging in this work forced me to confront my unconscious biases about bisexual identity development. I believed that, having been confident in my bisexual identity since a very young age and now in my 30’s, I would be less sensitive to binegativity and less likely to conceal my sexuality. Yet, as I listened to participants recount their experiences with prejudice, I realized how deeply painful these experiences are—for all of us. Further, I reflected on how the very act of sharing my research felt like a coming out, and it caused me to question how my sexual identity shapes my experiences in academia . . . binegativity, (cis)sexism, homophobia, racism, and ableism continue to structure U.S. society, including institutions of higher education, and

22  Kaity Prieto and Victoria Barbosa Olivo participants’ narratives reflected their need to navigate these interlocking systems of oppression. As I reflect on my thoughts, written almost two years ago, I recognize how the (in)ability to navigate these systems of oppression manifests in my own life. My dissertation research forced me to confront my internalized biphobia as I worried participants with more experience with same-gender partners would doubt my right to conduct this research. I struggled with seeing my bisexuality as valid; yet the more I presented this work and collaborated with affirming peers, the more confident I grew in my sexual identity. This newfound confidence has remained at the forefront of my mind as Victoria and I engage in our follow-up study on bisexual+ graduate student identity negotiation. It strikes me as significant that I am not alone with my thoughts this time around. Garvey (2020), in his exploration of the role of emotions in assessing queer and trans college students, wrote, “At the core of my emotions is a desire for belongingness. I want to feel kinship with others as a scholar, queer person, advocate for social change, and simply as a person” (p. 76). I found such kinship in Victoria. Like Kaity, engaging in sexuality research has affected my (Victoria) own identity in many ways. When I first approached her about my interest in sexuality research, it was like telling a friend a secret. While I never intentionally hid anything from my peers, my queer identity was not something I emphasized or even mentioned. Until then, I centered my racial and ethnic identity in my research and my personal life at a predominately white institution, which was a culture shock coming from an institution that held a majority Latinx student population. Researching bisexuality has allowed me to gain knowledge from published research and theory and from my co-researchers. Their narratives have validated my queer identity and have given me a sense of pride. Not only has my sexual identity been affected but other aspects of my identity as well. Growing up in poverty can be a traumatizing experience. I did not realize how much I held on to my identity as a poor person despite not being poor for quite some time. It was not until talking to my co-researchers that I realized they, too, were doing the same thing. Holding on to the past, however distant, has a lasting impact on who we are as people. This research has allowed me to see all the complexities of my identity rather than isolate one aspect and use that to explain all the complexities of myself when we know humans are never that black and white. Therefore, while our research may focus on sexuality, I have been able to see all the beautiful complexities and shades of gray in Kaity, my co-researchers, and myself. As we conduct sexuality research, we have witnessed not only our impact on the field (e.g., the increased visibility of bisexuality scholarship at professional conferences) but also the field’s influence on us. We, too, are being changed, pushed, and pulled to conform or to challenge the environment around us. The impact on the researcher inevitably leads us to confront the ways that we negotiate our identity.

“Low-Key from the University” 23

Paradoxical Joy: Navigating the Insider/Outside Paradox There are complexities to, at times, being viewed as an insider by co-researchers while also not being a full member of the institution due to identities that are labeled “other.” In much the same way we understand our sexuality, we view the insider/outsider dynamic as one that defies binaries and that is experienced differently across contexts. While we have experienced conflicting and painful emotions during our time in academia, we want to conclude by emphasizing the joy we have experienced doing this work and highlight the importance of advocating for students who experience higher education as outsiders. There is joy in bringing our authentic selves to the theoretical table and inviting others to do so as well. We are united in our belief that identity is complicated and messy. There is no one size that fits all, no one objective category that captures our experience. As bisexual people, we see the gray because we do not conform to monosexual ideals. We belong to those whose very existence challenges the rigid dichotomies of identity. There is beauty in this challenge, and we have witnessed the nuances in our trans and queer coresearchers of color who further disrupt these binaries. We write this chapter in hopes that we have inspired you to embrace the intersections, yes you, reading this right now. Be joyful.

References Abes, E. S., & Kasch, D. (2007). Using queer theory to explore lesbian college students’ multiple dimensions of identity. Journal of College Student Development, 48(6), 619–636. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2007.0069 Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge. Garvey, J. C. (2020). Exploring the role of emotions in assessing queer and trans collegians. In H. Y. Ro & E. M. Broido (Eds.), Voices from the margins: Conducting inclusive assessment for minoritized students in higher education (New Directions for Student Services, no. 169, pp. 75–85). Wiley. Harris, W. G. (2003). African American homosexual males on predominantly White college and university campuses. Journal of African American Studies, 7(1), 47–56. www.jstor.org/stable/41819010 Hayfield, N. (2013).’Never judge a book by its cover?’: Students’ understandings of lesbian, gay and bisexual appearance. Psychology  & Sexuality, 4(1), 16–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2013.748261 Jones, S. R., Abes, A. S., & Kasch, D. (2013). Queer theory. In S. R. Jones & A. S. Abes (Eds.), Identity development of college students: Advancing frameworks for multiple dimensions of identity (pp. 191–212). Jossey-Bass. Joshi, Y. (2012). Respectable queerness. Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 43(3), 415–467. https://ssrn.com/abstract=2015349 Jourian, T. J., & Nicolazzo, Z. (2017). Bringing our communities to the research table: The liberatory potential of collaborative methodological practices alongside LGBTQ participants. Educational Action Research, 25(4), 594–609. https://doi.org/10.1080/09650792.2016.1203343

24  Kaity Prieto and Victoria Barbosa Olivo Nelson, R. (2020). Questioning identities/shifting identities: The impact of researching sex and gender on a researcher’s LGBT+ identity. Qualitative Research, 20(6), 910–926. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1468794120914522 Prieto Godoy, K. A. (2020). Bisexual college students’ identity negotiation narratives [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. The Ohio State University. Sanchez, M. E. (2019). Perceptions of campus climate and experiences of racial microaggressions for Latinos at Hispanic-serving institutions. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 18(3), 240–253. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F153819 2717739351 Strayhorn, T. L. (2014). Beyond the model minority myth: Interrogating the lived experiences of Korean American gay men in college. Journal of College Student Development, 55, 586–594. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/csd.2014.0059 Strayhorn, T. L., Blakewood, A. M., & DeVita, J. M. (2010). Triple threat: Challenges and supports of Black gay men at predominantly white campuses. In T. L. Strayhorn & M. C. Terrell (Eds.), The evolving challenges of Black college students: New insights for practice and research (pp. 85–103). Stylus. Venable, C. J., Inselman, K., & Thout, N. (2019). Negotiating fit while “misfit”: Three ways trans professionals navigate student affairs. In B. J. Reece, V. T. Tran, E. N. DeVore, & G. Porcaro (Eds.), Debunking the myth of job fit in higher education and student affairs (pp. 167–192). Stylus. Winnubst, S. (2012). The queer thing about neoliberal pleasure: A  Foucauldian warning. Foucault Studies, 14, 79–97. https://doi.org/10.22439/fs. v0i14.3889 Yoshino, K. (2000). The epistemic contract of bisexual erasure. Stanford Law Review, 52(2), 353–461. https://ssrn.com/abstract=237578 Yoshino, K. (2007). Covering: The hidden assault on our civil rights. Random House Trade Paperbacks. Yosso, T., Smith, W., Ceja, M.,  & Solórzano, D. (2009). Critical race theory, racial microaggressions, and campus racial climate for Latina/o undergraduates. Harvard Educational Review, 79(4), 659–691. www.jstor.org/stable/269626

3 Who Are We to Do This Research? Duoethnographic Reflections on the Insider/Outsider Paradox in Queer Research Meg C. Jones, Annemarie Vaccaro, Rachel E. Friedensen, Desiree Forsythe, Rachael Forester, Ryan A. Miller, and Ezekiel W. Kimball If you make things simple, then it fits in the status quo, and if you hold things to be complicated, it doesn’t. And as soon as you do that, you open up the possibility to represent findings differently, your own experiences differently, other people’s experiences differently. —Zeke

There is nothing simple about our research team. We are a group of mostly (but not all) queer scholars, with different epistemological relationships with queerness, who study students with minoritized identities of sexuality and/or gender (MIoSG; Vaccaro et al., 2015) in STEM. We don’t always agree with one another. And our perspectives and relationships to each other and our work are constantly evolving. We are also a mix of established and emerging scholars and practitioners with widely varied backgrounds conducting research with queer students. We constantly reflect upon the queered space that exists when we simultaneously push back against oppressive systems (e.g., higher education, research) while also taking part in these structures of marginalization. As Zeke describes earlier, as a research team, we hold our relation to queerness to be complicated in order to open up possibilities of representation and experience for ourselves and our participants. Our individual and shared relations to queerness create both opportunities and limitations for how we are able to understand the lived realities of our participants and ourselves. In this chapter, we share findings from a duoethnography (Norris & Sawyer, 2012; Sawyer  & Norris, 2013) about the insider/outsider paradox among our team of scholars and in relation to our research. In duoethnographic work, co-researchers participate in intensive dialogues about their experiences with a social justice phenomenon (Norris et al., 2012); in this case, the phenomenon involves the complexity of insider/outsider statuses of team members in relation to each other and MIoSG study participants. As part of the DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-3

26  Meg C. Jones et al. duoethnographic process, we engaged in ongoing reflexive discussions about our social identities, positionalities, and campus roles. At the time this chapter was composed, we had engaged in 12 duoethnographic conversations over the course of 11 months. Sawyer and Norris (2013) contend that “duoethnography is both a reflection of social justice and a method to advance it” (p.  6). As such, it is an ideal method to explore the complex social justice issues embedded in the insider/outsider paradox for research teams like ours. In this chapter, we present a reconstructed conversation whose parts occurred at various moments over many months of dialogue to illuminate the nuanced, complex, and evolving meaning-making of our research team. In line with concepts of queer experience, our discussions were often messy and nonlinear. Here, we attempt to offer a clear and salient account of our ongoing conceptualization of the insider/outsider paradox from these conversations. For the remainder of the chapter, we invite readers to become active witnesses and co-participants in our extended dialogue (Norris & Sawyer, 2012; Sawyer & Norris, 2013).

The Messiness of an Insider/Outsider Paradox: Who Are We? Who Aren’t We? For our team, the insider/outsider paradox transcended social identities and related to our professional roles and access to power. As such, our duoethnographic conversation shifts into what it means for us to be queer in the professional roles we hold on campus as faculty, staff, and students. Our conversation illuminates how these roles shape our insider/outsider perspectives when doing research. We began our duoethnographic conversations by exploring the question: How do our social identities—including our queer and non-queer identities— shape our research with STEM students with MIoSG? Zeke (2021.01.05): I  think that there’s something really fascinating that happens in the shift from I to we, and then from we to thou, where we’re engaged in this really interesting process where we all have [various social] identities and experiences that we bring to this [research] project. We then construct a research team. But, then the purpose of that research team isn’t really to represent our own experiences, it’s to represent the experiences of our participants. . . . I would have to imagine that we’re going to be one of the projects that’s best positioned to talk about that [insider/outsider paradox] because the way that we navigate that is complicated; in that we’re a group [but] we’re also working with an incredibly large data set that, by design, includes people with a wide range of gender identities and a wide range of sexual identities. Right? And so, like that process of, I don’t even know what the right verb is, I’m just gonna go with translation, that seems to be really important.  .  .  . And we do that sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly, but we do it a lot [during

Who Are We to Do This Research? 27 our research team conversations]. And so, I think talking about that also gives us the opportunity to talk about not just who we are, but who we aren’t, and what that means for the sorts of experiences and identity constructions that we do and don’t have access to. And, that access is always incomplete. In this quote, Zeke speaks to the complexity of how our individual identities converge in our research group, and how this affects the ways in which we interpret or translate participant experiences. As individuals, we hold varying social identities that grant us access to various understandings of the experiences of MIoSG, yet this access is always incomplete, as Zeke noted, because we can never fully inhabit the multilayered and intersecting identities participants hold. Our work is always translated through sieves of our own understandings both as individuals and as a group, and we are constantly wrestling with this in our research team discussions. At a different point in the conversation, Zeke posed the following question to the research team: “What is your entry point to the conversation?” This inquiry led us to engage in candid conversations about our own sexual and gender identities—and how those shape our work. The conversation also included dialogues about how others read us in relation to queerness— especially by participants with MIoSG. These conversations allowed us to go more deeply into questions about who we are (and who we aren’t) in relation to queerness and doing queer research in higher education. RACHAEL (2020.12.09):  What does it mean to be out? And how does that give

you an insider/outsider view, even as somebody who’s part of the community based on the standards and norms we conform to as how we present in, or how we share our, identity with the world? RYAN (2020.12.09): I  just want to say that I  think that a lot of this points to . . . you know, who’s queer, who gets read. . . . Even how we’re read, I think. Annemarie has talked and written about how she perceives that she’s read [as not queer] and then what happens when people come into [her] office. And that’s very different than me and what I present. And so, I think it points to the sort of slipperiness and messiness of it. And I think the purpose of queerness or queer theory . . . was not to draw these firm boundaries of who’s in and who’s out. So, I don’t want to erase the differences, but I think that’s important to acknowledge too. DESIREE (2020.12.09):  I think it’s really important to note how all of this stuff is always changing and fluid and it’s something that a lot of us are continuously developing .  .  . [our sexual and gender] identities, and who we are, and how we see the world. And, I think that is really important when we talk about this. But, also who is in and who is out can depend on where you are and at the time you’re in that space. And also . . . that students [who participate in our research] identify in certain ways [and that] can change over time.  .  .  . So I  think that this [insider/outsider]

28  Meg C. Jones et al. border is a really interesting concept and it’s so hard, like it’s impossible to kind of nail down. RACHAEL (2021.03.04):  Desiree, I relate to what you were saying, and I think from an insider/outsider perspective I think about it with my multiple identities that I hold. Because most of my life. . . , or at least from 13 on, I thought about my queer identity, and I very much centered it. And didn’t think about the ways that I showed up as a white person or as a cisgender person or as somebody who looks able-bodied. And so, as I’ve shifted into racial equity work, sometimes I feel like I don’t bring in my queer identity enough. Like I am so focused on my dominant identities and being critically conscious that I  often allow, I  think, harm to be done in my queer identity, or [I] don’t think that I really hold people accountable to the harm that they’ve done because . . . my goal is to do no harm. And so that is something that, as insider/outsider, it’s really interesting.     I also think it has to do with salience in my queer identity. I’m at a very comfortable place in my life where it’s an asset to who I am. And, at the same time, I think I minimize my own experience based on me trying to be hyper aware of the ways that my power and privilege impact other people, and so I can relate to that. . . . I think that sometimes we are also acting in activist ways through the questions that we ask and so it’s just a very insider/outsider dynamic and I also think about my earlier comment . . . about the complexities of what I’m experiencing in both my racial identity and my sexual identity and how that becomes that much more complicated for people with multiple intersectional minoritized identities. What does it mean to be Black and queer? What does it mean to be Black and trans? And how I still have the option of seeing those things as separate and being seen as separate or being accepted in different spaces and not having to choose between those things. But, it’s a cognitive activity for me essentially to put myself in that space. And, so I just think about that dynamic as well. As is evidenced by Rachael’s quote, the duoethnographic conversation focused not only on queerness but also on other social identities held by our research team and study participants. Rachael highlights how the multiple identities we hold are in a constant state of relative consciousness to the spaces we occupy physically and across time. We constantly wrestled with who we are as a team and who we aren’t. Those conversations forced us to individually and collectively ruminate on the ways multiple, intersecting systems of oppression and privilege shape our work. ANNEMARIE (2021.01.05):  I worry a little bit though, that [our focus on the

diversity of social identities held by ourselves and our participants] might seem like a smokescreen to not acknowledge our whiteness, and the fact that we don’t have any trans folks on the team [at this point in time].

Who Are We to Do This Research? 29 ZEKE (2021.01.05): We’re a group of white people, and we’re talking about

minoritized gender identities, but none of us are trans and [we need] to kind of unpack that. And to be honest, whenever you’re doing research, it’s never possible to have a group that represents everybody who is participating in your research. And even if your identities perfectly align with your research participants, it’s really dangerous to make the assumption that your experiences are your participants’ [experiences]. But I do think we need to acknowledge that this is something that we actually spend a lot of time talking about and thinking about [as a research team], and that we’re not going to shy away from that in this [chapter] either. There are very clear limits to our ability to represent what’s happening in the world, but acknowledging that starts with understanding who we are individually and as a team. RACHAEL (2021.01.05):  Zeke, I really like the question of who are we and who aren’t we, because I think we could really bring in all of the conversations we have about who we aren’t. I think that’s mostly what we talk about: who we aren’t. But through that is who we are, and that’s the exploration of the power, privilege, and oppression that we’ve situated in our main model (Vaccaro et  al., 2021) and how we are influenced by the same systems of oppression too. Because I think about the way whiteness even plays a role in the way that we approach our research, even when we’re explicitly having conversations about it. . . . One more random thought. I know that we’ve talked a lot about identities and also funding. One of the things that I don’t think we’ve explicitly talked about is class or classism and the role that that plays even in our approach, or the ways that we navigate our own research, because we’re situated in that context as well—and so is STEM. As Zeke shares here, we do spend time within our research group discussing our identities and our participants identities, especially related to gender and sexuality. We are also increasingly examining the racial privilege some team members hold.1 However, while our discussion here briefly touches on class and classism, it isn’t an area we went deeply into in these conversations, and we recognize it as an area of growth for our team. Our duoethnographic conversations included a focus on not only our social identities but also our campus roles. Positions like faculty, program director, associate dean, and graduate student are imbued with access to systems of power and privilege in higher education. As such, we engaged in multiple conversations about how these professional roles further complicated not only the queer insider/outsider paradox but also the complexity of being an “insider” in oppressive higher education systems. RYAN (2021.09.29):  Sometimes we, either as faculty or as program directors,

might distance ourselves from the institution (S. Marine, personal communication, Sept. 21, 2021). So . . . we’re part of the institution, but we

30  Meg C. Jones et al. might critique the institution. It may make us feel better to present it as, “Oh well, that was the senior administration’s decision. I didn’t have anything to do with that.” And I wonder if there’s some parallel right? And . . . if we are to some degree insiders or outsiders to STEM, and if we also position being queer in various ways as also in some ways [being] outsiders to higher ed, are we causing harm? Are we making ourselves feel better or pretending that we’re not part of the system too? . . . We often critique higher ed and we are firmly part of higher ed, too, so I reflect on that a lot. ANNEMARIE (2021.09.29):  That’s awesome. Actually, this morning I just read a quote (from an earlier duoethnography transcript) that relates exactly to that. It was from Zeke. Zeke, you were reflecting on your socialization of Rachel [when she was your graduate assistant] and that you were doing the same things and kind of reinstituting some of the same processes that you’re railing against, right? And you’re really honest and reflective in that. And, so it made me smile and kind of chuckle. But it was really raw and really honest and so I think that even if we have a lot of parts where we’re trying to distance ourselves and challenge the system, we also have some pretty raw and honest moments about how we also perpetuate those [systems]—which I love about this team. ZEKE (2021.09.29):  And I guess riffing on that idea a little bit, I think one of the things that I worry about in both training student affairs practitioners and in my own administrative work is the idea that we get habituated to the problems in the system to such a degree that we stop viewing them as problems. So, I was complaining this morning about the way that administrators at University (Name Redacted) were framing the decision to deny someone who . . . [is] recovering from a heart transplant . . . [the ability to] do his job remotely and their reasoning was “Well, the rules say that we can’t.” And my question, which I ask myself a lot and I ask my students to ask themselves, is: which side are you actually on here? Because there’s one thing to be said for, yeah, I mean I can live with doing this thing that is terrible because: a) I need a job and b) the university will replace me with someone else who might not do all the other things that I’m doing. But I need to know that I’m making that decision and that decision is wrong, because if we stop thinking of it as a decision and just have it be routine and habitual then we lose the potential to change anything, or to resist in those situations where we can resist. And I don’t know. I think I’m really concerned that, particularly right now, we’re all so tired and we’re all so worn down and from what I’m hearing from people in leadership positions at [my university] and elsewhere. People have given up that fight all together because they just know the system is going to behave the way that the system behaves, and so they might as well just go ahead and do it. And that, to me, is a really scary place to be in higher education. So, for me, this entire conversation is really one about reflexivity, and knowing what we’re doing, and knowing what we’re not doing,

Who Are We to Do This Research? 31 and being intentional about choosing, and really knowing why we’ve made the choices we’ve made, even if those choices are wildly imperfect. DESIREE (2021.03.10):  So much of our work feels so close to our own hearts, and our own identities, and our own realities, but is continuously not valued. That’s something that I’m thinking about: How to make a living doing something that is so important and how to justify that it’s okay to make a living off of it. RACHAEL (2021.03.10):  I think about how when we’re on the inside of institutions, we are forced to temper the ways that we show up in spaces to navigate universities, and I think the same is true in research. It’s this insider/ outsider perspective of: What does it mean for us to engage with participants, as somebody who might have a shared identity or some shared identities with folks and knowing that, ultimately, we want to make the world a better place? I think that’s why we do the research that we do, and how to balance those things within the confines of what we are told research needs to be. And so, I  think about white supremacy culture a lot in research. I think about the ways that we aren’t necessarily taught to be introspective. . . . That’s not valued. That it has to be some objective, and that it has to be just this one truth, even though there’s a sea of multiple truths. And, I think it gets really complicated when we have shared identities with folks that we’re interviewing. . . . I constantly feel like I am negotiating my authenticity in different spaces and I know I’m an authentic person. That feels very true for me and very valid. I think that I bring that into every single space, and I still think it needs to be negotiated depending on my role. What feels authentic to me within the confines of what I’m supposed to be doing? And that’s challenging. . . . What does it look like for me to bring my authentic self as a practitioner and facilitator into research spaces and will that be valued? How will that be valued and does that pull away from the research process? I think that’s one of the things, when I joined this group back when I was a doctoral student, I remember experiencing extreme imposter syndrome of feeling like I wasn’t good enough, like I didn’t belong. Like I didn’t have anything to contribute and then also feeling like, well, I don’t have experience as a researcher. I don’t have experience as a professor. I only do this work [as a staff member] in the division of student affairs. And so, what could I possibly offer? RACHAEL (2021.03.04):  I also think about the agency piece, and also what our role is. And I’ve been presenting a lot. I’ve presented to the Vice Chancellor for student affairs, the entire cabinet. I’ll be presenting to the entire division of student affairs on my research related to my dissertation. And when I was presenting to all of the department heads, I was really intimidated because I’m an associate director. All of them were one to three levels above me. . . . I was thinking about how to make it palatable and how to deliver it and then I realized that my job, their job, was to hear it, and that wasn’t on me. And so, making it clear that this is information

32  Meg C. Jones et al. that I  am giving to you, and what you do with it is completely up to you, and that if hearing this heightens a sense of defensiveness or hearing this heightens a sense of resistance, then what does that say about you? And really challenging people on the front end to be open-minded to the things that they might think about, or might encounter, as we ask these questions. RACHEL (2021.03.04):  I wonder if we think about queer research or LGBTQ research in higher ed as a place where we can either be inside or outside, if other folks in that space . . . have the same conversation. And I think that, because I feel like I am outsider of that group—if we’re thinking about like ingroups and outgroups—one of my impulses [is] to be like, no, they’re probably not because they think that they already have a handle on what’s happening. But maybe they are [having those conversations]. In doing research, we hold both insider and outsider positions in relation to what academic research “should be.” As we discussed in several of the quotes here, we wrestle not only with who are we/who aren’t we but also with what should we/shouldn’t we do when trying to uphold our agentive identities while also navigating scholarly expectations and norms. Finally, our duoethnographic conversations moved from our social identities and campus positions to notions of what it means to be a STEM insider or outsider. Our team had varying personal and academic relationships with STEM fields. In the following paragraphs, we invite readers to join us in our conversation about how these insider/outsider STEM relationships also shape our research with STEM students with MIoSG. RYAN (2021.01.05):  I don’t have a degree in a STEM field, but like, we have a

relationship to STEM at this point. Or, I feel like there is one based on this project and exploring what are our motivations for [our research]. RACHAEL (2021.01.05): It’s interesting that you say that, because I  feel like that’s still the one area that I feel like an outsider in. Like, I don’t know that I feel like I have a connection to STEM. And I think that that drives my imposter syndrome within the team. Like, I feel like I have a connection to identity and wanting to know about people’s experiences, and the connection to queerness, but that’s the one part that I don’t know that I’ll ever really feel connected to. And so, that’s interesting, too. MEG (2021.01.13):  I have absolutely no experience in that area [STEM]. This is where I feel the most like an outsider. I am not familiar with the research body pertaining to STEM students, higher education (for the most part), identity, or many of the other topics this research group regularly discusses. At times it can fuel my imposter syndrome to be a part of these conversations. But, at the same time, when I start discussing aspects of how literacy is playing into the data, I feel like I have a firm ground to stand on. RYAN (2021.01.05):  But I  think that’s a relationship to STEM, not necessarily a connection, but like you’re in relation to it as an insider/outsider. And I’ve wondered, sometimes in higher ed and student affairs spaces,

Who Are We to Do This Research? 33 when we talk about this project, I almost feel like I should be apologetic. That may not be the right word, I almost feel like, because STEM is seen as: “Oh, that’s the space where you get grant funding. That’s the. . . .” I don’t know if it’s new, but like: “Oh, that’s the hot area, you’re gonna see STEM everywhere.” And I almost feel like I should say [that] it’s not that I’m trying to jump on this bandwagon, but I got into this, because students were having really shitty experiences [in STEM]. And I wanted to do what I could [via research] to hopefully change that. But then other considerations come in about: This is a space for potential grant funding and I’m still positioned in the academy at a university that has now announced that we’re making the push for [research 1 university status]. Right? So, I can’t . . . it’s all of those things at the same time. RACHEL (2021.01.05): It comes back to our conversation we had earlier. I  almost said it as a joke that we’ve come full circle back to discourse. But, it’s not a joke, because part of what we’re talking about—and I love Rachael’s question in the chat about who we influence and what . . . influences us—is that we are also being situated and situating ourselves as certain kinds of people. Like, are we STEM people in our disciplinary and academic spaces? . . . Do we get to be included in the group that talks about queer stuff? Do we get to be that type of person? And I know, in the ways that we both sort of peg ourselves and get identified by other people, I have often thought to myself: Do I actually really want to be a STEM person? Half, most of my brain is taken up by thinking about discourse and thinking about wanting to write research about research for our actual . . . field every time anybody is like: “Nobody’s reading our research.” I’m like: Well, I don’t care because I just want you all to read it. . . . I literally just want the actual field to read it. . . . Like, the more research I collaborate on about STEM, the more I am a STEM person. [I don’t know] whether or not that’s viewed as trying to situate myself well for grants or being in a specific conversation, or the fact that we are still tangential to actual STEM spaces. . . . But I do have a deep connection to STEM because I  left it. I  am a [former undergraduate STEM] student who didn’t stay. I did not. . . . I didn’t persist. And it just comes back to who we are, and who are we to do this? And who we are projecting ourselves into the future .  .  . if we’re really talking about futurity,2 and honestly, a little bit [of] performativity. How do we project this into our futures? That we are the types of people who do this research and lay claim to these experiences either of our own, or from participants. This [conversation] is wild, I’m having so much fun.

Conclusion Duoethnographies provide an opportunity for readers to learn by “listening [to] the relevant stories of the other” (Norris & Sawyer, 2012, p. 28). The conversations shared in this chapter reflect the nuance of our experiences as well as our complex insider/outsider relationships to not only queerness but

34  Meg C. Jones et al. also STEM fields. We wrestled with the nuanced ways our diverse campus roles (and corresponding access to power within higher education systems) shape our work. Through engaging with this process, we recognized areas for growth in our own work. For example, our analysis of our conversations helped us recognize that we discussed aspects of identity we are most comfortable with, such as gender, sexuality, and our roles in academia. There are areas of critical research we need to discuss more as a research team and in our work, such as the privileges some team members hold in relation to race and ableness. This duoethnographic process helped us create a space where we realized we are all wrestling with the messiness of who we are and who we aren’t in different ways. Our goal is that this chapter inspires readers to ponder the layered complexities related to any insider/outsider conversation. We want readers to consider inviting an element of messiness into their own reflections and scholarly work as it relates to insider/outsider positionality in queer research. At the end of this process, we are left with questions about how to represent our individual and group relations to queerness in a paragraph, a table, or other forms of identity-naming currently accepted in academic publishing. As such, we end this chapter with one more quote from Zeke about how important it is to sit with complexity instead of trying to neatly package positionality into a traditional format (e.g., overly simplistic reflexivity statement)—a format accepted and expected in social science research. ZEKE (2021.09.29):  If you can get things cleanly written down in terms of

positionality, and representation of methods, and those sorts of things, you’re better off from the standpoint of normative social science. So, I do wonder, apart from the accuracy of it, what is the argument for why we should hold the complexity? And, as I was listening to the conversation today, I think . . . it has something to do with the idea of transgression. Right? .  .  . And [having] different conversations about what could be instead, I think. I don’t know, but that was the big question for me. It’s clear we’re right, these things are complicated. I’m not 100 percent sure what it means and why other people should spend as much time talking about these things as we do. And, I wonder if answering that question could be a really key contribution of our book chapter.

We hope that this chapter—a transgression from typical research formats— inspires readers to center and hold the complexity of social identity, campus roles, and disciplinary cultures when considering the question about whether one is an insider or outsider. This duoethnography illuminates how claiming insider or outsider status is far too simplistic to describe the nuanced ways researchers are in relationship with queerness and queer participants.

Notes 1. At the beginning of the duoethnography, our research team consisted of all white members. Part way through the project (and currently), a number of

Who Are We to Do This Research? 35 BIPOC scholars joined the team. Nonetheless, we have included this prose to honestly reflect the status of the team (and our reflectivity on whiteness) at that moment in time. 2. Futurity refers not only to the future but also to some sense of a continued existence. Queer theorists, most notably José Esteban Muñoz (2009), discuss queer world-making as a utopian projection of a future that not only has queer people in it but is itself queer. Queer futurity tends to be utopian in nature and in opposition to queer anti-relational critiques (e.g., Edelman, 2004).

References Edelman, L. (2004). No future: Queer theory and the death drive. Duke University Press. Muñoz, J. E. (2009). Cruising utopia: The then and there of queer futurity. NYU Press. Norris, J., & Sawyer, R. D. (2012). Toward a dialogic methodology. In D. Lund, R. D. Sawyer, & J. Norris (Eds.), Duoethnography: Dialogic methods for social, health, and educational research (pp. 9–38). Left Coast Press. Norris, J., Sawyer, R. D., & Lund, D. (Eds.). (2012). Duoethnography: Dialogic methods for social, health, and educational research. Left Coast Press. Sawyer, R. D., & Norris, J. (2013). Duoethnography: Understanding qualitative research. Oxford University Press. Vaccaro, A., Miller, R. A., Kimball, E. W., Forester, R., & Friedensen, R. (2021). Historicizing minoritized identities of sexuality and gender in STEM fields: A grounded theory model. Journal of College Student Development, 62(3), 293– 309. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2021.0026 Vaccaro, A., Russel, E. I.,  & Koob, R. M. (2015). MIoSG Students in campus contexts: An emergent model. In D-L. Stewart, K. A. Renn, & G. B. Brazelton (Eds.), LGBTQ students in higher education (New Directions for Student Services, no. 152, pp. 25–39). Jossey-Bass.

4 Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue Navigating Insider/Outsider Subjectivities in Higher Education Research finn j. schneider and Carly Duran-Marrero The processes of designing, conducting, and sharing research are rife with layered power dynamics. We are two members of a study team that used participatory action research (PAR) to explore LGBTQ+ college students’ experiences of sexual violence. The primary purpose of the project was to develop tailored and community-based sexual violence prevention strategies to reduce what multiple studies have revealed are disproportionately high rates of victimization among LGBTQ+ students (Cobian  & Stolzenberg, 2018; Coulter  & Rankin, 2017; Eisenberg et  al., 2017; Griner et  al., 2017). Through narrating key elements of our experience, we point to the insider/outsider paradox of queer(ed) research and demonstrate a collaborative approach to knowledge generation.

Background We begin by providing a brief overview of the purpose and design of the project in order to contextualize our discussion of the insider/outsider paradox. This qualitative study, grounded in critical theoretical frameworks, utilized PAR (a community-engaged methodology) to engage with LGBTQ+ students’ conceptions and experiences related to consent and sexual violence. In PAR, community members study their own communities “to specifically challenge power relations and initiate change” (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016, p. 57). LGBTQ+ students and researchers collaboratively designed and implemented all phases of this project. The design of the study was shaped by LGBTQ+ students who participated in a community forum about sexual violence and consent. We, along with a third LGBTQ+ student member of the research team, conducted all 30 interviews for the study. We were substantially involved in data analysis as well as sharing research findings both within and beyond our campus community. Importantly, all LGBTQ+ students who contributed to the design and implementation of this project, including participants, received compensation for their work. Utilizing PAR and centering the leadership of LGBTQ+ students and scholars were not only essential to the success of the project; they also disrupted DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-4

Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue 37 the extractive dynamic that results when cisgender heterosexual scholars survey LGBTQ+ people and issues. Meaningfully engaging LGBTQ+ students throughout the process and conducting this research “alongside” as opposed to “for” or “on” LGBTQ+ communities (Jourian & Nicolazzo, 2016) aligned with our theoretical framework and were critical to our goal of informing effective prevention. Additionally, this methodological approach revealed to us varied and dynamic instances of the insider/outsider paradox. We agree with Eliason’s (2016) claim that, in research, “insider and outsider are not binary concepts; there is a wide continuum and one’s position on it varies from situation to situation and even from moment to moment” (p. 150). In co-authoring this chapter, we hope to offer a productive disruption to the reductionist notions of insider/outsider dynamics in higher education research. Our scholarly narrative is structured as an extended dialogue to elevate the generative and subversive process of collaborative knowledge generation we shared. We chose to think and write together in this way as inspired by bell hooks (2010), who distinguished that, “It is through dialogue that we best struggle for clearer understanding of dominator culture and the particular dynamics of race, gender, class, and sexuality which emerge” (pp. 37–38). Our dialogical narrative interrogates the shifting, complex, and sometimes paradoxical insider/outsider dynamics we navigated, with particular attention to the ways that race, gender, and sexuality affected our engagements and analysis.

Who We Are and Are Becoming Our individual meaning-making in this research endeavor converged and diverged as a function of our respective positionalities and subjectivities. Our interactions and reflections were not symmetrical. Naming and interrogating the power formations that acted in and on our research (as well as our relationship) was a critical element of this project. Carly, who is presently in a master’s in organizational leadership and policy development program, identifies as a Cuban-American, queer, femme, woman of color. finn, currently the director of the Student Conflict Resolution Center at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and an adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Thomas, is white, queer, nonbinary trans, and masculine of center. At the time that this research was conducted, finn was a Ph.D. candidate and a graduate research assistant. Since working together on this project, we have stayed connected as scholars and professional colleagues and continued to be in conversation about the transformative experience of conducting this research with and alongside other queer and trans students. Our dialogue in this chapter moves away from flattened notions of identity to instead explore the insider/outsider paradox by considering our individual and shared relationships to structural power formations (i.e., white supremacy, cisheteropatriarchy, academic capitalism). Building from this articulation of our subjectivities and positionalities, we next describe three aspects of the queer(ed) research we undertook.

38  finn j. schneider and Carly Duran-Marrero

Queer(ed) Research: Three Considerations Our queering of this project can be understood through three considerations: reciprocity, trauma-informed approaches, and community engagement. The focus on reciprocity was both a central commitment and a site of embodied paradox. Westernized, U.S. research practices have been and continue to be extractive, assimilative, and violent. In this undertaking, we worked to center the four Rs within Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS): respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility (Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991). As we moved into exploring knowledge that lives in people—their communal circumstances and experiences—and as power moves around them and within them, we acknowledge and appreciate as researchers that knowledge always already exists within participants; we were not setting out to validate it as it is already validated and truthful. At the same time, we held the privilege of access to resources that institutions such as the university offer, marking us as insiders attempting to do work alongside an outside, marginalized community with which we hold affinity. We used trauma-informed approaches in this project, which guided our ability to engage with participants in an intentional method that felt aware, cautious, and protective of ourselves and the participants given varied experiences of sexual violence. This approach fostered a sense of agency for me (Carly) as I conducted interviews as a victim-survivor of sexual assault and relationship abuse. Finally, this project was community-engaged; our intention was to coconstruct an understanding of sex norms and sexual assault with and alongside participants. Utilizing a participatory action methodology served directly as a function of reciprocity. LGBTQ+ students aided in building the research questions; this process was inspiring, agency giving, and overall empowering. We engaged with participants about our resources and responsibilities with the knowledge that they actively chose to share with us, and we compensated them for their labor as knowledge workers. Though the students involved in shaping and/or participating in the research were required to identify as LGBTQ+, we acknowledge that we failed to adequately engage ethnic and racial minority groups in ways that were representative of our campus’ ethnic and racial demographic makeup and community. For instance, none of the 30 LGBTQ+ undergraduate participants identified as Native or Indigenous, and just two identified as Black and/or African American. Naming this failure is both necessary and insufficient. Having described the ways we experienced this project as queer(ed), we pivot toward a dialogical narrative exploration of the insider/ outsider paradox we navigated in convergent and divergent ways. The dialogue itself is queer(ed) in that it is not intended to provide straightforward conclusions but rather reveal tensions and engage uncertainties. We use headers as an organizational tool to highlight various themes the dialogue explores.

Queer(ed) Dialogue, Embodied Paradox Our dialogue began with the question: “What does it mean to be a queer researcher doing work alongside queer participants and other queer researchers? What does ‘queer’ even mean in this context?”

Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue 39 FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  One thing I learned in this research process was that queer,

for me, operates as a subjectivity rather than an identity. What I mean by that is my very way of thinking about research is deeply informed by and cannot be separated from my queerness. One way I might articulate it is that queer ways of thinking, doing, and being shape my everyday life but also my work as a researcher. The questions that interest me and the very ways I imagine using research to explore them are shaped by queerness; how I want to feel in relationship with other researchers and participants and the ways that I approach making meaning are shaped by queerness. Getting more specific, I think about power, pleasure, and possibility. From an embodied lens, my queer subjectivity meant that I was always thinking about how power was operating in this research experience. It was important to me to try and disrupt unevenly distributed power dynamics that are common in normative approaches to research, like that between researcher and participant. Thinking about how harmful the cishet gaze can be and how much violence queer and trans folks have experienced as research subjects, this felt like an opportunity to not only disrupt a long-standing pattern of harm but also show a different way of imagining power dynamics. Pleasure is a concept at the heart of queer theory and my embodied queer experience. I think pleasure is often thought of as a dirty word in academia; that research, in particular, ought to be grueling in order to be rigorous. What I loved about this research experience was that it was precisely our queer ways of thinking, doing, and being that helped the study be so rich. That, for me, was a pleasurable experience. I felt joy in connecting with other queer and trans people; I remember research team meetings that were full of laughter and that warm belly feeling that occurs when I’m with queer kin and we are being unapologetically ourselves. Talking with queer and trans student participants in the study was also pleasurable, in the sense that the connection often (though not always) felt embodied. Finally, the concept of possibility. One aspect of my queer and trans subjectivities is that I see different possibilities in day-to-day life. It is not necessarily something I do consciously or strive for; rather, my very being doesn’t fit into “normal” configurations of society and, thus, I have learned to be comfortable refusing the status quo and searching for other possibilities. In queer theory, we might think of this as refusing binary logics or disrupting norms. This queered way of seeing and being in the world translated into the research—in that I felt less confined by doing things the way they are typically done. Disruption of norms created space for letting go of routinized approaches. Embracing creativity and asking questions like “What is another way?” were part of what doing queer research meant to me. Carly, what does doing queer research mean to you? CARLY DURAN-MARRERO:  Queer research is giving the creativity a chance. Similar to you finn, there are many ways in which our relationships with participants and relationships in our research team were more authentic, more engaged, and, as a result, more critical. We had different

40  finn j. schneider and Carly Duran-Marrero expectations for social norms because we were queer researchers interviewing queer participants. I feel that many of the participants, including myself as a researcher, struggled to recognize the cishet, white gaze as something that we had control over. We feel it always and often, but we created a space to have some control, and it was not immediately recognizable because this time we had control over it. Both of us, researchers and participants, had control over it. We were able to queer the space. Reevaluate what our hopes, wants, and levels of honesty were within the interviews and that those were always shifting and never static. We had control over the space; we had control over how the conversation flowed. We uplifted the moments that we recognized that we learn from each other and empathized with one another in our shared experiences. That isn’t “objective.” It is meaningful within a queer framework; it should not be objective. Recognizing the power and then being able to exist in the familiarity of queerness allowed for us to let go of routinized approaches and engage with our participants in developing conclusions and implications that we know are for us, queer folx. Queer research means creating the space for power and trust to be realigned in knowledge creation for us, queer folx.

Questioning Power and Space FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  Carly, do you think the created space to which you refer

is enough to realign, or at least disrupt, the extractive nature of (most) education research? Did you experience moments in our project when that extractive power dynamic was replaced with something else? CARLY DURAN-MARRERO:  I’ll start with this moment that makes me feel like we were experiencing a moment of reciprocity. I was going through our research questions with a participant who identified as a cis white femme person whose friend group was prominently white cis men. She explained moments of feeling like the friendships she held with them were momentous because she felt she was making an impact as she was supporting their understanding of queer culture and of healthier sex practices. I was excited to affirm her, and we both expressed our excitement about these moments of feeling like a support to our friends, regardless of our very different experiences and identities.     At the time this didn’t feel significant, but as we reflected as a team and found the theme that our peers are powerful resources, I felt I had the agency and the skill set to continue to uplift this moment of certainty in her and within myself. Now, because of that, we can share it with the rest of our community.     finn, I’m curious if this resonates for you and if you recognized this moment of access as a beneficial use of power? FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  What a poignant illustration of reciprocity, Carly. And, yes, this does resonate for me. One particularly memorable experience

Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue 41 is when I  was speaking with a queer Hmong student about their relationship with gender and, in particular, femininity. My racialization and cultural background were vastly different from theirs, which at first had me feeling a sort of emotional distance. I  did not want to assume an air of familiarity, particularly in acknowledgment of the racialized power dynamic between us. But the more we talked about embodying femininity as people onto whom masculinity is often projected, I  felt a sort of expansive connection. That exchange both validated and complicated—in the best ways possible—my understanding of embodied gender and the ways it is co-entangled with so many other social formations. The student expressed gratitude for having spaces like our conversation to explore and verbalize their evolving sense of gender identity, particularly in light of their experience as a Hmong person navigating difficult cultural dynamics and as an Asian queer person who was presumed to be passive and was often fetishized. Although I  would not claim insider status in our relational dynamic, I did find the conversational dynamic reciprocal. And the student expressed gratitude to participate in the study and share an oftenerased narrative of being Hmong and queer, and exploring their gender identity beyond the binary.

Recognition of Affinity and Shared Understandings FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  Carly, what instances of insider/outsider tension did you

experience in your interviews with student participants?

CARLY DURAN-MARRERO:  One dynamic that I hadn’t thought would arrive

as it did was the moment that I felt I was naming, in my own mind, an experience for one of my peers. This participant identified as bisexual and as a woman of color, and I  had also identified myself in this way, and so prior to this moment in the interview we had shared some similar experiences and shared ways of navigating norms around monogamous relationships with cis straight men that may not have been familiar to other folx.     This student had explained to me a series of moments in which their partner had gaslit her and then followed with an explanation of a sexual scenario that I  perceived as violent given the description that she had provided.     I found myself feeling deep empathy as a victim-survivor myself and also as a person who experiences relationships with people of various gender expressions. This dynamic of victim-survivor interviewing a peer who does not identify as such, but arguably could, was very taxing for me. Taxing because there was limited follow-up I could engage in, given the nature of the study. We had undergone trauma-informed training, and this student was not exhibiting signs of distress. However, given recent coursework, these moments of violence that happened at the intersection of navigating relationships across multiple identities, specifically the

42  finn j. schneider and Carly Duran-Marrero identity of bisexual and as a woman of color was, in my perception, the cause of the sexual violence this person experienced. I could not explain my concern or my perception of the circumstance, and so this dynamic was a surprising one for me.     I’m curious about if you experienced something similar and how you held that dissonance, finn. FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  Yes, there is a moment that comes to mind right away. I was interviewing a white, masculine of center student who recalled a few different memories from their sexual experiences as a teenager. One story they shared was that, at the age of 16, they were struggling emotionally after the end of a long-term relationship and got very drunk with someone who was a friend. The participant noted, “She did some shady shit to me, but because I’m so masculine-presenting I never really thought of it in that way.” In recalling this experience, the participant did not name it as sexual assault. I felt a particular connection with this participant, as we shared some identities, and I remember the feeling of my stomach dropping when they shared this narrative. As a peer, I wanted to offer them my perspective that being masculine-presenting does not preclude someone from experiencing sexual violence. At the same time, I did not want to take away their agency to make meaning of their experience in their own way, nor did I want to exert power from the position of interviewer in that moment. I sat with the dissonance of feeling simultaneously like an empathic peer (insider) and a researcher (outsider). The only sense of relief I  found in dealing with that dissonance was thinking about how the participant’s narrative could help us show through the research the long-term harm of cisheteronormative conceptions of sexual violence and the ways they erase LGBTQ+ experiences, even among those folx who are survivors.     Carly, I’m curious to know more about how racialized and/or gendered power dynamics shaped your ways of relating (or not) with participants. CARLY DURAN-MARRERO: When it came to interviewing other undergraduate students as an undergraduate researcher, I  often thought I’d feel greater connection and familiarity to students that were Black people and students that are people of color, but rather, I felt greater alignment with those that I  perceived as femme. Race often showed up for me when I noticed that students did not name race as a power dynamic that influenced their sexual experiences.     Throughout the interviews, I  noticed that when I  interviewed people that self-identified as femme/feminine and nonbinary, I  was much more likely to be more explicit. I  was more transparent and vulnerable about topics that felt more vulnerable to me than other topics. When I  interviewed student participants who identified as femmes of color, I  noticed that I  was more willing to share to further express and validate and to extend support in exploring the resources we had available to us in more detailed ways. There was a feeling of deep understanding

Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue 43 from that empathy. A few of our participants who identified as femme, queer, bi/pansexual, brown cis women spoke often about how much of the sexualization that they encountered happened at an early age. This sexualization was often based on their own perceptions and ideas of being perceived as foreign and understood as sexy at a very young age because of it. Interviewing student participants that identified as masc, I  found that I was more reserved. I was more intentional with what I shared about myself and my experiences despite my intentions to be as consistent as I  had intended with each interview. I  engaged in this way not because I  perceived them as dangerous or threatening, at least not in my conscious mind, but rather because I didn’t believe that they would understand what I  would have communicated with them. I  noticed that this specifically happened with those who identified as gay cismen. FINN J. SCHNEIDER: Your reflection reminds me of moments when I  felt markedly outsider. Even though I’m queer and trans, and was a student at the time this research was conducted, I  was at times very clearly an outsider. In relation to Black participants and participants of color, I was not only an outsider, I was the embodiment of racialized oppression. My queerness cannot offset my whiteness; my white researcher gaze was duly met with skepticism and mistrust by multiple of the Black participants and participants of color. At the same time, I felt an insider dynamic when speaking with trans and nonbinary participants. There was a certain familiarity I felt in listening to their narratives—an embodied resonance, not in the sense that I could automatically understand or know their truth, but rather that perhaps we had encountered similar barriers and struggles in our respective navigation of cisnormativity and transphobia. It’s rare to even talk to another trans person in a research context, so even though it was technically an interview, I experienced it as more organic and conversational.

Engagements Sculpted by Race and Performativity CARLY DURAN-MARRERO: It was certainly a gift to be on a research team

like ours. I often felt this tension between feeling like I was responsible for uplifting moments of dissent and that I was especially responsible for moments when we were in agreement about things. I  wanted to make sure that I was checking in with myself and our team to not move in alignment with whiteness and its norms. It was a wonderful experience to be in a space with my peers that identified as queer.     As I  moved through the interviews, especially interviews with white folx, I recall noting that the language students used to describe moments of marginalization, powerlessness, and otherness were very familiar to conversations that I’d had about racism and xenophobia. When I brought this back to our research team, I was unsure if there was a place for this. It didn’t feel like it was in direct relation to our research topic or the research

44  finn j. schneider and Carly Duran-Marrero questions generally, but it made me learn about the power of language and how it serves marginalized people as a tool. Each member of our research team provided insight in coming to this resolution and, again, I noted the power of having shared language. This conclusion did, however, bring my attention to a tension that I’ve learned about in my own student development: who has the justification to use a community’s language? What is lost when we use a shared language, and what is gained?     finn, I’m really curious about how you encountered race within our research team. FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  I thought and felt a lot about racialized power dynamics as they operated in and on our team. I worked to pay attention to when and how I took up space and tried to continually check internalized dominance related to whiteness and masculinity. When colleagues who were folx of color and/or femme disagreed with me, I listened closely; those moments were particularly important because they typically meant I had something important to learn. There are certain things I will never “get” because they are not my embodied experience. So, one way I encountered race was in thinking about the limitations of my racialized understanding, which compelled me to show up on our team and in our work with a healthy dose of humility and self-skepticism. CARLY DURAN-MARRERO: finn, it was how you practiced recognition. You admitted to not “getting it,” how you operated within the group demonstrated your awareness and willingness to uplift the voices of others. So, while you don’t get it, you don’t understand the embodied experience because it is not one available to you, I  still feel safe, recognized, and valued as a member of the team and as a scholar. My point is, this type of transparent and authentic communication is not perceived as deficit in a queer framework. That in itself acts against whiteness and its enforced notions that all is objective.     As I  write about whiteness in our research team, I  feel uneasy. The norms of whiteness in the academy, which of course showed up in our team dynamic even while we resisted them, don’t allow space for embodiment outside of the white, cishet ideal. I felt racialized power dynamics and the harm of whiteness, especially in our team’s experience of sharing out about our research with different stakeholder groups on our own campus. FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  On multiple occasions, I felt like we encountered pressure to make this work legible and digestible for a cishet audience. This felt pressure did not come from within the study itself, for me, but rather in figuring out how to frame and share our findings in various contexts. And the tricky thing is that we were not simply presenting research findings, we were doing so as a team of mostly queer and trans humans which meant that our ways of knowing and being were also on the table for response and critique. I remember feeling demoralized and frustrated and defensive when some campus stakeholders seemed to dismiss our research

Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue 45 because (to keep it real) they did not have the capacity or willingness to engage with nonbinary logics. I felt such pressure to artificially distill the rich, complex findings into digestible soundbites that, to me, would have disrespected the participants’ narratives. The pressure for legibility extended to me, as a graduate student researcher; I  felt simultaneously insider and outsider in the world of research. Our queerness and queered approach clearly marked us and our work as “other,” even while the university applauded our effort and supported the project.     Carly, did you ever feel any sort of pressure or tension to show up or perform “scholarship” or “researcher” in a particular way? CARLY DURAN-MARRERO:  As a femme of color, who is perceived as a hypersexual, a caretaker, and a nonintellectual, I  constantly feel this sort of pressure. I  find myself moving in, out, around, and through this want to feel respected, understood, and acknowledged as a person that holds and creates knowledge and ways of knowing in multiple spaces. I found that within my interactions with our student participants, we had very similar language and interests. That may be queer culture that engages with critical topics. It could also be the nature of the students that chose to participate in the study. In contrast, I felt like an outsider who in some ways was in a position to teach and challenge, but in other ways felt othered and as you mentioned, up for critique. In these moments I felt also like an insider for purposes of understanding that we were the first line of defense in many ways.     I will mention that when engaging in our team dynamics, I felt there was a lot of space and encouragement for me to learn to navigate the expectation of performativity when facing outward structures. There are and were ways that systems existed that were often unapproachable and opaque that our team really aided me in understanding and, thus, supporting my future success in the field. So, while we were certainly “othered” I felt really held in our queer culture and found relationships with allies that I do not think I would have otherwise. FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  Carly, given all that we’ve discussed in terms of experiences with participants, dynamics among members of the research team, and encounters with the broader campus community while sharing our findings, how do you conceptualize and embody the insider/outsider tensions of queer(ed) research? CARLY DURAN-MARRERO:  Conceptualize, I’m not too sure. I’ll get there as I work through this, I hope. As we were being taught how to do traumainformed interviewing in the early stages of this project, I realized I had some resistance in my body about asking questions that could prompt or trigger a trauma response. As a researcher, I myself had to overcome and agree with the research team that we aren’t and weren’t committed to knowing anything at the cost of another person’s negative experience.     It is both knowing that I am asking and having intention behind my questions beyond simply learning and knowing another person. It is

46  finn j. schneider and Carly Duran-Marrero encouraging the participant to know that they are the knowledge holders. It is pushing myself not to assume that them knowing that I’m queer, or that this is research I believe in for the progress and safety of our community, influences their response and experience of agency.     I feel like my identity as a queer person prompts me to approach each participant as they agree to engage in conversations about consent from a queer and victim-survivor perspective. All that and I hold power as a researcher, so while I know my own subjectivity, their marginalization as participant is different and that is because as the cis het white colonial, imperial structure goes, “they” know what they’re looking for and “we” feel obligated to give them the responses they want as they’ve assigned us identifiers and categories for too long. The history of oppressive knowledge-taking and appropriating is dense and consistent, and though we did our work in an intentional and thoughtful way, we still exist in a white, cishet framework of obtaining knowledge.     finn, what can we do? The paradox exists, and we hold both and neither, mine different from yours and yours different from mine, and so can we establish a reciprocal relationship of knowledge sharing that lives and will be respected by higher education? FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  My mind is buzzing. You raise compelling insights and questions that make me think about what queer, anti-oppressive, decolonial approaches to research, at their best, might look like.     I have a question about one specific insight you offered: “Pushing myself not to assume that them knowing that I’m queer or that this is research I believe in for the progress and safety of our community, influences their response and experience of agency.” I’m curious if I’m understanding your statement correctly. Are you saying that you were working to avoid the assumption that, because you’re queer and this study was intended to center the needs and healing and safety of queer and trans folx, students whom you interviewed would trust you more and/or feel more empowered? CARLY DURAN-MARRERO:  Yes, I believe you’re understanding me correctly. I think I’m trying to avoid this assumption because of the study topic. I think it ties back into the ideas earlier about retraumatization. My avoidance of this assumption may also function from a place of feeling that I must be objective and must/should behave as such. . . . I think I need more thinking time on this one. FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  Your mention of the white, cishet gaze has got me thinking. Early in our dialogue you noted: “I feel that many of the participants including myself struggled to recognize the cishet, white gaze as something that we had control over. We feel it always and often but we created a space to have some control and it was not immediately recognizable because this time we had control over it. Both of us, researchers and participants, had control over it.” Maybe I’m too much of a pessimist, but I’m wondering, what does it mean to have control over it? Is that

Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue 47 (im)possible? I  think it’s maybe differently (im)possible for us in relation to our subjectivities? And what/how do we have control over the knowledge creation process after the moment(s) of conversation with the knowledge workers? CARLY DURAN-MARRERO: I  think that as researchers and folx that have immense power in deciding what findings we share, with whom, at what times, etc., we have to start to unlearn and create a new way of learning and sharing. So, for our purposes, engage in the possibility of knowledge sharing as something that is, as you mentioned earlier, healing. That alone, from my perspective, realigns power and offers a moment where the systems of knowledge creation, in all their flawed and evil ways, provide us a moment of knowledge creation in which we can choose who our findings are shared with. FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  As we moved through the many layers of interpretation and analysis and then shared findings and offered implications, (how) was the white, cishet gaze reinscribed? I remember on the research team we talked often about if/how we would share certain insights we learned from speaking with queer and trans students knowing that the vast majority of folks who comprised our audience were white and cishet. Given the embodied experience of holding queer and/or trans subjectivities, what is lost in translation? CARLY DURAN-MARRERO:  I think most everything is lost as we share findings out with white cishet folx. I think that. AND I think that that was and is the power we can hold collectively. Asking participants and our community what they want to do with this information. What could be used as a harmful strategy against queer and trans folx, and what can we utilize to serve our community? FINN J. SCHNEIDER:  I wonder not only about the question “What is lost?” but also “What insights can do harm by contributing to deficit and/or pathologizing narratives about queer and trans experiences?” Are there instances when “insider knowledge” cannot be, or perhaps ought not be, shared outward to a predominantly white, cishet audience?     Earlier, you posed the question, “What can we do?” in noting the layered paradoxes that characterize our respective experiences in this research. Specifically, you pondered whether we can “establish a reciprocal relationship of knowledge sharing that lives and will be respected by higher education.” I  think the second part of this statement is the clincher; “respectability” demands assimilation. What is the balance between disrupting from within dominant systems of knowledge creation and engaging in resistant forms that refuse the demands of assimilation, of making ourselves intelligible? Queerness, to me, means challenging norms. Norms of research dictate so many “shoulds,” one of which is producing results that are intelligible, “true,” and able to be connected to clear implications. How must we sacrifice ourselves as researchers and the complex, nuanced, embodied, queer(ed) knowledges we co-created

48  finn j. schneider and Carly Duran-Marrero alongside students in order to make our work intelligible? Palatable? Are those goals we feel good about aspiring toward? CARLY DURAN-MARRERO:  Mmm, yes. We sacrifice ourselves each time we create knowledge for the institution. We commit ourselves to research that is urgent, that is unique, that is robust in its implications. We recognize that the institution in which we reside will not be ready for the implications of our work and so we go in knowing that there will be loss. We connect with a brilliant community, one of many, who have built ways of surviving and thriving and we know and they know that what is able to be done, will not be all that is needed. That we and our researched populations will have to carve out time, energy, and our place in the institution. In our research team, we likely all feel differently about knowledge production and how we go forward, but we all know there is a need. That need seems to weigh out the “shoulds” and so we’ll continue to co-create the new norms of research that acknowledge that there isn’t one “truth.” We’ll continue to queer and question knowledge production as the researchers, the researched, the insider, the outsider, as the ones that are queer.

(In)conclusion This queer(ed) dialogue and our broader narrative of embodied paradox are intended to reveal opportunities for subverting oppressive and diminishing power formations in higher education research. How we have come to make meaning is in relationship to our subjectivity and to our relationship to one another in community. Through our experiences in academia, we feel it is necessary to engage and reflect on paradoxical research as it is a site of critical, subversive, generative knowledge co-creation. Our story is one that allows for clear power analysis and asks us to be creative, flexible, and mindful of the “asks” we make of community while being part of the community. We ask that as a reader you note what is lost and what is gained when we produce within the institutions that harm us. We ask that you develop healthful research practices. We ask that queer/trans* researchers address, relearn, and implement action and behaviors of reciprocity, trauma-informed approaches, and communityengaged, action-oriented approaches, methodologies, and analyses. Queer(ed) approaches to research might engage the paradox of both embracing and refusing norms in an effort to leverage and redistribute power in order to help catalyze transformative change to policies, practices, and structures. In contemplating our experiences with this research, we were left with multiple lingering questions and tensions. While we recognize this is not a research article, we feel called as scholars to share some of the power-conscious questions that will further inform our narratives as we continue to be queer and trans* scholars. We offer these questions in the hopes they might spark critical and generative dialogue for others, as they have for us: •

What are the possibilities and limits of redistributing power in universitysanctioned research contexts?

Embodied Paradox, Queered Dialogue 49 •

To what extent can rigid boundaries between researcher and participant/ knowledge worker be blurred while maintaining ethical practice? • (How) might we, as queer researchers, stay within the ambiguity and uncertainty of the insider/outsider paradox even while navigating the pressures of performing legibility and producing knowable discourses? • (How) can queer(ed) research, in an embrace of the insider/outsider paradox, be a site of healing? A collaborative practice of building queer futures?

References Cobian, K. P.,  & Stolzenberg, E. B. (2018). Vulnerable populations at public research universities: Centering sexual violence prevalence and perceptions of campus climate. In K. M. Soria (Ed.), Evaluating campus climate at US research universities: Opportunities for diversity and inclusion (pp.  277–305). Palgrave Macmillan. Coulter, R. W. S., & Rankin, S. R. (2017). College sexual assault and campus climate for sexual- and gender-minority undergraduate students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 35(5–6), 1351–1366. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517696870 Eisenberg, M. E., Lust, K., Mathiason, M. A., & Porta, C. M. (2017). Sexual assault, sexual orientation, and reporting among college students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(1–2), 62–82. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517726414 Eliason, M. J. (2016). Inside/out: Challenges of conducting research in lesbian communities. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 20(1), 136–156. https://doi.org/10. 1080/10894160.2015.1061415 Griner, S. B., Vamos, C. A., Thompson, E. L., Logan, R., Vázquez-Otero, C., & Daley, E. M. (2017). The intersection of gender identity and violence: Victimization experienced by transgender college students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 35(23–24), 5704–5725. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517723743 hooks, b. (2010). Teaching critical thinking: Practical wisdom. Routledge. Jourian, T. J., & Nicolazzo, Z. (2016). Bringing our communities to the research table: The liberatory potential of collaborative methodological practices alongside LGBTQ+ participants. Educational Action Research, 25(4), 594–609. https://doi.org/10.1080/09650792.2016.1203343 Kirkness, V. J., & Barnhardt, R. (1991). First Nations and higher education: The four R’s—Respect, relevance, reciprocity, responsibility. Journal of American Indian Education, 30(3), 1–15. www.jstor.org/stable/24397980 Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed.). Jossey-Bass.

5 Switching Up, Positions Gabriel Pulido

Every trans person who challenges and/or ignores the gender binary understands how difficult and dangerous it can be. We who literally and metaphorically transverse boundaries live in a society that is incapable of seeing us (Lim-Bunnin, 2020), let alone treating us with dignity and respect. Truth be told, I no longer wish to be seen by the cis-imperialist-white gaze. Considering how to be trans in the cis imaginary presently means that one must always be striving toward becoming woman or man (Johnson, 2016) as if people aren’t (biologically) born into their gender, become their gender, and/or cannot exist outside of the binary. In this book chapter, I  use various autoethnographic methods (Jones  & Harris, 2018) to explicate how I  am positioned as an insider/outsider (Collins, 1986) within higher education as forces of oppression target my identities. For me, there is power in the narratives we share with one another, and this chapter is one intentional contribution for better understanding the lives of trans people. As a person with insider/outsider status, I  have developed a standpoint (Harding, 1992) that allows me to draw on my agency regardless of where I am positioned. In the first half of the chapter, positioned, I offer excerpts of poetry and short stories to detail how the insider and outsider positioning informs my everyday lived experiences. In the concluding half of the chapter, switching, I  remind all that though we may not have direct control in the ways we become insiders/outsiders (Collins, 1986), we certainly have agency in switching. By switching, I  am informed by the ways this term has been defined (Mantell et al., 2016; Ghaziani & Brim, 2019; Avilez, 2019), including sexual, dialectical, and body expression, and arrive at a conceptualization that describes how mental and spiritual switching can aid in working toward freedom. Given that switching is expansive, I will focus on the following four: preparation, communication, deviation, and creation. Historically, switch/switching has been used in numerous ways to describe the act of changing or altering one’s placement. For instance, switching can refer to an exaggerated form of walking to gain attention. Switching or switch can also be understood as a sexual term to describe what people today refer to as verse or versatile, an individual who can be either top or bottom. Finally, code-switching describes the oftentimes necessary linguistic changes a person DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-5

Switching Up, Positions 51 intentionally makes in their practices for survival purposes (Myers-Scotton & Ury, 1977). While code-switching is most referenced within the Black community and the use of African American vernacular (Godley et  al., 2006), here I reference the many ways queer people change their gender expression depending on the circumstance (Pennell, 2016). These varied and nuanced uses of switching inform my conceptualization of switching. Switching then can be understood as the mental, spiritual, and sometimes physical contextinformed decisions that trans and queer people make while negotiating their societal positioning. For the purpose of this chapter, I will focus on preparation, communication, deviation, and creation to detail how I  navigate my positioning as an insider/outsider in higher education. In what follows, I use poetry written during difficult moments in my life to spark memories that ultimately unravel the stories shared in this chapter. I entrust both memory and poetry to serve as forms of living archives that listened when it felt like the world banished me. These stories are offerings from my life as a Mexican queer and trans person with both outsider and insider positioning who continuously tries to make a mess and sense of it.

Positioned To the gender binary— I’m never gonna be enough for you, am I? You, always have something to say. Glance, when you hear my voice. Concerned for the way the sunlight dances on my flesh. How I express, the way I dress, Try to boa constrict all of my sharp edges. Until you bleed all over the floor, over your garments and blame me. And the unfortunate part is that, I liked your outfit too. Except when I dress up as a frigid bitch, I try not to look so constipated. I am sorry, was that too harsh? Give new meaning to snapped, because I will bend and snap you. Legally, speaking of course. Excerpt from Legally Blonde “Legally speaking” is the most common phrase that I have encountered when being talked to (not in conversation with) by cisgender people in power. It is the ultimate trick in their toolkit that always renders them excused and validates their cis inaction. In the United States, the law is treated by people positioned in power as a guiding principle meant to orient cisgender people in

52  Gabriel Pulido the right (white) direction. Despite its ability to transform, too often, the law is treated as an unmoving object that only wavers upon significant pressure. However, what is a law to somebody who exists outside of its scope, someone who is juridically illegible (Malatino, 2020)? When institutions of higher learning refuse to document your existence (Ford et al., 2021), can they even serve you? When the cisgender people writing them into power do not have you as a Mexican queer and trans person in mind, what is your responsibility? When enforcement of the law limits the life of a trans person, what is the moral obligation of cis people? If the law is meant to restrict and control and serves as colonized logic (Ward, 2020), at what point do we say enough? These are questions that I grapple with in my everyday life, all while cisgender people continue to wage various forms of violence onto my body and soul (WrightMair & Pulido, 2021). Even so, it is important for those of us with insider epistemic privilege (Collins, 1986), in my case as a scholar, and those outside of it to spend time thinking through alternative ways of living and dismantling or snapping any condition that seeks to harm, remove, and/or kill us. I have observed that one of the many problems is misgendering by cis naming practices. To be assigned male or female at birth presents a neat category for cis people, all while positioning trans people as messy, unruly, and outsider (Gossett et al., 2017). And so maybe I will never come out of a closet. No closed closet doors, here. But you will know who I am. Revelations and then some. One day you will appreciate me, I took time and effort towards becoming Like god. God like. Doors and walls try to enclose me. Like moth. Moth like. I am not attracted to light, I am the light. One day, I’ll be free. Excerpt from Revelations There is no other possible choice; the only choice is freedom. In the United States, as in many other countries, a fallacy exists of a closet. The closet size does not matter, nor does how the person gets shoved inside. What does matter is the idea that for one to acquire happiness, they must always be coming outside of themselves (Uddin et al., 2020). The first time I was shoved and pushed out of a closet was at the age of 13 or 14; the details are not important. That day I vowed to never have to come out of a closet; instead, I would allow people to come out to me as immensely loving, welcoming, appreciative, or

Switching Up, Positions 53 intentionally transphobic, queerphobic, and/or racist. The key word here is intentional, as I believe that we all hold capacity to be oppressive and should strive toward unlearning (LeMaster  & Johnson, 2019). Since that day, the frequency with which individuals demand me to come out never ceases to amaze me. It is my first day in one of my graduate programs, and I am enrolled in a race and gender course, which seems to be perfectly designed with my interests in mind. The professor is new to the program, but I can already tell that she is amazing and deeply committed to this content. The gaps in the room are slowly filled in by other eager graduate students, and before I know it, the class begins. The professor asks us to share our name, degree program, pronouns (if we wish to), and why we are here. I wonder if now is the time to try new pronouns out, but they are too slippery, so I fumble the words and instead say nothing. The quietness feels like a standstill, one which is filled with my own thoughts, but I try to remind myself that silence too can be empowering (Rodriguez, 2011). Soon after we begin to discuss the reading of the week, which centers trans and queer people of color, but the only person talking is a white genderqueer student. This trend continues throughout the next couple of weeks until another student of color and I ask white people to be mindful of the space they are not only actively occupying but also (re)colonizing. The white genderqueer person stares directly at me and says, “I am genderqueer, I  have a right to vocalize my thoughts and express my opinions. You are a person of color. I am genderqueer. So, who gets more say?” The question lingers around like some flies itching to feed on barbecue on a sweaty hot summer day. I do not know if I am the flies, barbecue, or summer day, but I recognize that even in my own community othering and erasure can take place, and, more importantly, that the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (hooks, 2013) does not rest. I, however, steal my time back (Ray, 2019) and rejoice in moments of leisure and rest and reclaim my space. Those positioned in power will do everything in their realm to ensure that queer and trans people of color stay occupied with nonsense in lieu of freedom. By now, I am certain that you are wondering how I responded to the question, “So who gets more say?” A few years prior, I may have swatted the question, but this time it lingers around as I remind my classmate that people’s gender, mine included, is not limited to what cis and trans eyes can see. You ain’t an ally, you a lie. An All I, Ain’t I an ally, named Allie. And your allyship is starting to feel like a sunken ship. One with no emergency exits, or life vests. 50 years from now, we will be discovered. Folks will marvel about the grand ally Allie and how she carried the trauma of others. How she too suffered in the drowning. They will ignore the voices she Ursala’d. Crown her. Tenure her. Make a movie about her.

54  Gabriel Pulido And still, everybody will ignore that Allie failed at her one job. While every person she held on to, was not built for this. Excerpt from Ursula by Gabriel Pulido and Cierajevae Gordon The concept of allyship is historically and currently widely contested with an influx of questions (Bourke, 2020). What makes an ideal ally, who can count as one, and when do you know you have one? In my experiences, allies have always come looking for me. And is that not a strange phenomenon? I do not mean to ask more questions, but how else does one start a conversation? The first time I met an ally on a university campus was during my undergraduate career, before I  had the necessary language to understand gender critically and openly (Butler, 1990). A white woman from Los Angeles wanted me to know she was “down and willing to listen to people of color problems” so long as I was “willing to listen to issues going on with women.” She assumed I was unable to see or learn about gender oppression and that I did not grow up with three amazing older sisters and a fierce mother ready for anything thrown at us. Linguistically speaking, this assumption or desire for exchange has become quiet over the years. Allies still seek a form of exchange; however, they do not allow their tongues to express their desires anymore. Their cis inaction and blatant inability to show up speaks for them. But the urge still lives, and most recently, it shows up across various places and spaces in which I have been involved. I started with one of my most beloved co-written poems, Ursula. The birth of this poem too has a story worth sharing. A  few years ago, my longtime friend and collaborator Cierajevae Gordon and I decided to respond to a call for art from a well-known student-run education journal. I texted her the call and asked if she wanted to write some poems together in hopes of becoming published. We spent three hours on FaceTime catching up with one another, discussing the call and writing our poems. We started by both free writing, and afterward we carefully read them aloud and intentionally listened to one another. We quickly learned that we did not have one poem but instead two blessings. We then decided to riff off of each other’s work, edit, and submit the two poems. A few weeks passed, and I received a “strange” email from one of the editors. Here is that word again, strange. In the email, we are notified that only one of our poems would be accepted as the other did not meet their needs. I immediately called Cici (Cierajevae’s nickname) and notified her of the new developments with our poems, and she too was angry as it seemed that this particular journal was most invested in having stories with which white cis people can sympathize, instead of providing a platform for scholarartists, like ourselves, to express ourselves. Without hesitation, we pulled our poems and decided to find a different, more welcoming home. Finding a new or different home has been a consistent experience of mine, especially having insider/outsider recognition—whether it be quite literally finding a new physical environment that will nourish us, or metaphorically,

Switching Up, Positions 55 spiritually, mentally, or verbally finding a pathway. Given this and the circumstance, it was not new nor difficult to navigate. However, I was surprised to later find out that the editor felt that the journal would be “too centered on people of color and wished to have more trans and queer perspectives.” Maybe we should have titled the poem Gay Ursula or something? Someone should have told her of Ursula’s long-standing queer icon status. I guess our poems forgot to pack their various pride flags during the submission process. Gabriel, named after my father, and isn’t that the story of my name? Borrowed in Spanish, in English, in gender, in land. Always borrowing something, never my own. Ask me how to pronounce my name, In Spanish, Gabriel. In gender, Gabrielle. English stays broke, I don’t need to say more. I fail, my tongue flails around. Coded in your discomfort, says either works. As uncomfortable, they do. Naïve child, bilingual speaker, inheritor of three broken languages, I guess the monolingual’s obsession of pronouncing everything correctly was learned. Excerpt from My name I write poems sometimes. As a young writer, I occasionally felt a calling to mark my poems in ways that made my identity legible to readers, as if they/I could ever. Today, I  do not entertain these reductive thoughts and instead spend my energy on arriving. My poems are me, and I am my poems. Long gone are the days in which I feel like an outsider inside my own art. However, one topic has people consistently surprised. “You have poems about your name? What can you possibly have to say about Gabriel?” I allow my poems to unwind the complexity like a marvelous spider’s web waiting to come crashing down. For me, it will always come crashing down, but, luckily, I do not worry because there will be more poems, which means I am always learning, always becoming. Unlike my gender, my name is fixed. It is this name that will one day wear these three letters that every day I fight to earn. It comprises letters chosen by my parents that should I be afforded the privilege one day will spread across a gravestone. Despite my complex relationship with the name, it is mine. I do not ask much of people, but my name being pronounced correctly is a nonnegotiable, one which brings the most dramatic telenovela-level theatrics out of individuals. A few years ago, I  decided that I  wanted to honor myself by honoring my name. This meant asking for people to pronounce my name correctly.

56  Gabriel Pulido Foolishly, I told this to the diversity expert, and unannounced, like most allies, she began demanding and policing how people said it. I find that people are more willing to respect this highly specific boundary of mine if it comes from my mouth. Nonetheless, still the diversity expert, unwilling to allow their cis inaction to hold them down, went around explaining how I  wished to be addressed. As if the hypervisibility was not enough, like an airport gate agent, here was Paul Revere announcing my arrival. A couple weeks later, the most brilliant professor in my program (and field, sorry not sorry) asked if I had requested the diversity expert to correct others on my behalf. We laughed, and I told her I appreciated the effort, albeit misplaced. I then took time to explain the complicated feelings and nuanced thoughts I had about it. Here, I was not being spoken about, but instead I was speaking. A gentle reminder to all diversity experts out there that it really is not that complicated. After all, my parents named me with a Spanish pronunciation, not an English one. I do not know who you are referring to when you mispronounce my name, just like I do not know who the man is you see when you look at me. Switching Crush the foundation that your transphobia stands on. Make rivers out of your tears, and drown every transphobe that comes between me and my salvation, Legally speaking, of course. Unbury the grave that you placed my gender in. Resuscitate from my own death, because can’t trust cis hands with trans lives. Bring back Tyra Hunter, and set an ofrenda. Call upon all of my transcestors, for guidance, for support, for love. Build upon the bridges they built. Sit atop of capitol hill. Bend and snap every hateful ass piece of legislature that comes our way Except from Legally Blonde I am a firm believer in the saying, “if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” If I have learned anything about being in and with my body, it is that the preparation is always required. The luxury of being with no prep is not extended to trans lives, but many of us are working toward making a switch. To be ready means arriving or striving toward a location where your livelihood and dignity are not threatened. Given that we all live in different contexts, how one prepares will almost always look different, but one thing is certain, we are always in community. Trans people who are positioned in spaces to be the only one may find this difficult to hear, but the reality is that being in community is so much more than reducing ourselves to numbers. Since I am always in community, I have gained understanding and power for how to make sense of my lived experiences. More succinct and important, it is the people I have lived

Switching Up, Positions 57 with, studied alongside, and admired who have assisted in my various forms of preparation. I am in so much gratitude to my first (and only) trans supervisor and mentor who I was in community with during my own revelation, another way of switching. By revelation, I am referencing the epistemic (dis)location (Gurevich et al., 2009) that I inhibit while relearning my gender. During this difficult time, we often spent large portions of our check-ins detailing the numerous ways needed to honor the body, mind, and spirit. Work was not just work for us, especially when we were both positioned as employees (insiders) but also rendered as invisible by practices and policies because of our gender (outsiders). During this time of my life, I learned to stay ready and prepare for everything. I should note that there is no limit to the amount of preparation needed to thrive in an imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (hooks, 2013), which is why care webs (Malatino, 2020) are specifically necessary for our well-being. Malatino (2020) described care webs as [c]onsistently foregrounding the realities of burnout and the gendered, raced, and classed dynamics that result in the differential distribution of care—for those receiving it, as well as those giving it. A care web works when the work that composes it isn’t exploitative, appropriative, or alienated. This is the gauntlet thrown down by any sustained attempt to collectively cultivate a care web: it challenges us to be deliberate, to communicate capacity, to unlearn the shame that has become attached to asking for, offering, and accepting help when we’ve been full-body soaked and steeped in the mythos of neoliberal, entrepreneurial self-making. (p. 4) Given the community-centered approach to care webs, preparation is not only necessary but essential. Preparation is only one of the many forms of switching I have learned to lean into, but what happens when rampant violence and messy situations occur? I have learned that part of my preparation is switching my communication practices depending on the context. Social justice is stopping the United States from speaking more lies, by pulling out its wooden teeth and starting a fire. It is grasping white supremacy’s scalp, by its matted hair, and watching it catch ablaze. It is sending smoke signals to all my enemies. Let them know exactly where I am. Let them know that I fear no one. Let them know they messed with the wrong, people. Excerpt from Loteria Communication is so important. People tend not to think about how diction has the capacity to destroy or build. As a poet and scholar, I have a deep understanding of how words gain power when intentionally organized and

58  Gabriel Pulido placed alongside each other. For example, it is one thing to pray, and another to pray the queer away. Good intentions are always welcome, but erasure in one of the most violent ways is not. As a performer, I also understand that inflection too plays a critical role in how I am received. By communication, I do not mean the act of misguiding others by using buzzwords (Davis, 2008), but instead I use precise language to ensure that I am politically aligned with those invested in our mutual survival. It comes as no surprise then, that when I  write about sending smoke signals to my enemies, I  am not being literal, although I am. When switching positions, despite my insider/outsider status, it is important to communicate where I am standing and where I refuse to go. When I found myself at the edge of the cliff, it is either jump or outmaneuver the overlapping systems of oppression. I did not do this on my own, but instead it was the preparation and repreparation that empowered my agency in switching. By always staying ready, I am able to switch my position between defend and attack despite my insider/outsider standing. I have come to learn that regardless of who or where we are, some form of confrontation (yet another form of switching) finds us. I write that confrontation finds us because I  do not know of a single trans person who actively seeks it. I  should also note that by communication, I am not only referring to that which is verbalized, but instead all forms of communication including that which is produced when our bodies take action. Thus, communication truly does play a critical role in being a target to switching to a developed unwavering commitment to ourselves. A commitment which allows us to defy gravity and move toward a different engagement with our current and future livelihood. Do you remember the place I promised? A life worthy of ordinary perfection. All I do is imagine what our freedom will be like, and I know we will get there, I think I have identified a spot on the moon, with enough room for us all. I’ve brought along documentation of all our queer ancestors. Prepared an ofrenda to honor the god of banishment. We thank you, for protection and commitment. As misunderstood as you are, As weaponized against our bodies as you have become, As rooted and grounded in community as you should have always been. We accept sanctuary for liberation. Excerpt from Banishment I start with an excerpt from a poem which helped me reimagine what banishment meant to me. Though my understanding is always in transition, for now I  understand banishment as a choice instead of an enforced location where

Switching Up, Positions 59 I am able to deviate despite others’ expectations. Historically, queer and trans people have been referred to by psychologists and medical professionals as sexual deviants who were in desperate need of treatment (Endsjø, 2008). This framing is important to understand as it has present day implications, some of which I have already outlined in this chapter. Deviation, statistically speaking, describes a set of data that lies outside the expectation. Here, I utilize both understandings to describe how deviation is an active choice, a reclamation of sorts, that empowers queer and trans individuals to disengage in harmful situations. Deviation then, can be understood as the conscious decisions made to move away/refuse to engage with harmful people and situations. I draw much of my understanding from the politics of refusal (Grande, 2018), and I  am certain that deviation can be considered a practice of refusal. As an insider/outsider in higher education, I have had to learn about the multiple ways in which visibility serves as a trap (Gossett et al., 2017). Once I understood how this occurs, I was able to develop a form of deviation that centered my well-being first and put whatever labor I was doing second. Part of my switching process involves actively analyzing my relationship with actions and words and deviating from them if need be. For instance, I wrote Banishment when I lost a partner to his parents’ transphobia. They were surprisingly respectful of our queer relationship but my gender identity was simply too much. Once again, I am told that I am too much and yet not enough. I experienced what can only be described as an episteme crack. Some might refer to this as enlightenment or an awakening, but nothing about this is moving. To experience an episteme crack is to have your entire life shaken but be immobile. Your epistemology is tender as you suspend in a place of transcendence. This time, however, I  lay in my cracked episteme and resist the urge to go back. To go back means to return to a place where my existence is constantly being prayed away and rendered non-existent. Instead of this, I deviate from my flight or fight responses and learn to exist outside of everyone’s limitations. Much of this work, of this switch, requires a significant amount of spiritual and mental labor which is yet another reason why care webs are so necessary for our livelihood. Here fear does not dare to exist. We bite first and speak after. There are no excuses for harm We do not leverage with phobias Should you one day be scared, I’ll kiss away all your tears, and your fears you can leave behind. Because in this house, you are never alone. Because in this house, you will always be protected. Because this house is not just a house. It is a home filled with all the love you need. Excerpt from In my House, after the Mary Jane Girls

60  Gabriel Pulido I intentionally try to place the art in heart and creation, I  do not know any other way of being. Living in an imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (hooks, 2013) will have you believe that trans people are incapable of creation—as if we do not birth, resuscitate, and recreate ourselves time and time again. I too once foolishly believed that creation was for cisgender and heterosexual individuals. When we are taught to understand creation in simplistic terms, so much of our imagination is murdered. To have the ability to create is one of the most beautiful gifts that freedom bestows on us. Creation too can be understood as a form of switching. It is a form that is often stolen from us at a young age because of its erotic power (Lorde, 1978). The ability to feel so deeply and intensely, so much so that you can begin to understand other worldly possibilities, must be frightening for those who never recover their imagination. Still, to escape the entrapment of the insider/outsider status, we must leverage our switch and escape the cis-limiting realities. A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of futurity when I read Micha Cárdenas’ (2016) article “Pregnancy: Reproductive Futures in Trans of Color Feminism.” This was the first time I became excited about the future and the second time I experienced a cracked episteme. In every aspect of my lived experience from personal to professional, I was told that creation in this body was not possible. On college campuses, gender-ignorant policies manifest into restrictive practices and sentiments from “well-meaning” cis people. In my personal life, I experienced a loss and fear of never being able to contribute life into this world. However, I am relearning that creation has no limits and that we are only socialized to think it does. What then are poems, theories, and actions if not creation toward a trans affirming and loving future? Years from now, when I  am in collaboration and community with loved ones, this work will be obsolete. There will be no need for poems about the lives that the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (hooks, 2013) continues to steal from us, nor the many things academia has taken from us. Instead, we will be focused on creating, deviating, preparing, and communicating, not because we need to, but because we can.

References Avilez, G. (2019). Uncertain freedom: RuPaul, sylvester, and black queer contingency. The Black Scholar, 49(2), 50–64. https://doi.org/10.1080/00064246. 2019.1581978 Bourke, B. (2020). Leaving behind the rhetoric of allyship. Whiteness and Education, 5(2), 179–194. https://doi.org/10.1080/23793406.2020.1839786 Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge. Cárdenas, M. (2016). Pregnancy: Reproductive futures in trans of color feminism. Transgender Studies Quarterly, 3(1–2), 48–57. https://doi.org/10.1215/ 23289252-3334187 Collins, P. H. (1986). Learning from the outsider within: The sociological significance of black feminist thought. Social Problems, 33(6), S14–S32. https://doi. org/10.1525/sp.1986.33.6.03a00020

Switching Up, Positions 61 Davis, K. (2008). Intersectionality as buzzword: A sociology of science perspective on what makes a feminist theory successful. Feminist Theory, 9(1), 67–85. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464700108086364 Endsjø, D. Ø. (2008). The queer periphery: Sexual deviancy and the cultural understanding of space. Journal of Homosexuality, 54(1–2), 9–20. https://doi. org/10.1080/00918360801951939 Ford, K. S., Rosinger, K. O., Choi, J., & Pulido, G. (2021). Toward gender-inclusive postsecondary data collection. Educational Researcher, 50(2), 127–131. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X20966589 Ghaziani, A.,  & Brim, M. (Eds.). (2019). Imagining queer methods. New York University Press Godley, A. J., Sweetland, J., Wheeler, R. S., Minnici, A., & Carpenter, B. D. (2006). Preparing teachers for dialectally diverse classrooms. Educational Researcher, 35(8), 30–37. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X035008030 Gossett, R., Stanley, E., & Burton, J. (2017). Trap door: Trans cultural production and the politics of visibility. The MIT Press. Grande, S. (2018). Refusing the university. In E. Tuck  & K. Wayne Yang (Eds.), Toward what justice? Describing diverse dreams of justice in education (pp. 47–65). Routledge. Gurevich, M., Bailey, H., & Bower, J. (2009). Querying theory and politics: The epistemic (dis)location of bisexuality within queer theory. Journal of Bisexuality, 9(3-4), 235-257. https://doi.org/10.1080/15299710903316539 Harding, S. (1992). Rethinking standpoint epistemology: What is “strong objectivity?” The Centennial Review, 36(3), 437–470. www.jstor.org/stable/23739232 hooks, b. (2013). Writing beyond race. Routledge. Johnson, A. (2016). Transnormativity: A new concept and its validation through documentary film about transgender men. Sociological Inquiry, 86(4), 465–491. https://doi.org/10.1111/soin.2016.86.issue-4 Jones, S. H., & Harris, A. M. (2018). Queering autoethnography. Routledge. LeMaster, B., & Johnson, A. L. (2019). Unlearning gender-toward a critical communication trans pedagogy. Communication Teacher, 33(3), 189–198. https:// doi.org/10.1080/17404622.2018.1467566 Lim-Bunnin, L. L. (2020). ‘And every word a lie’: Samoan gender-divergent communities, language and epistemic violence. Women’s Studies Journal, 34(1), 76–91. http://wsanz.org.nz/journal/docs/WSJNZ_34_1-2_Lim-Bunnin_ 76-91.pdf Lorde, A. (1978, August 25). Uses of the erotic: The erotic as power [Conference presentation]. Fourth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, South Hadley, MA, United States. Malatino, H. (2020). Trans care. University of Minnesota Press. Mantell, J. E., Tocco, J. U., Osmand, T., Sandfort, T., & Lane, T. (2016). Switching on after nine: Black gay-identified men’s perceptions of sexual identities and partnerships in South African towns. Global Public Health, 11(7–8), 953–965. https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2016.1142592 Pennell, S. M. (2016). Queer cultural capital: Implications for education. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 19(2), 324–338. https://doi.org/10.1080/136133 24.2015.1013462 Ray, V. (2019). A theory of racialized organizations. American Sociological Review, 84(1), 26–53. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122418822335

62  Gabriel Pulido Rodriguez, D. (2011). Silent rage and the politics of resistance: Countering seductions of whiteness and the road to politicization and empowerment. Qualitative Inquiry, 17(7), 589–598. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800411413994 Scotton, C. M., & Ury, W. (1977). Bilingual strategies: The social functions of code-switching. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 1977(13), 5–20. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.1977.13.5 Uddin, N., Kim, M., Gutowitz, J., Brinton, S., & Allen, S. (2020, November 23). 5 queer people on why coming out and “The closet” are more complicated than you think. them. www.them.us/story/the-closet-coming-out-queer-lgbtq-interviews Ward, L. W. M. (2020). A TribalCrit sensibility toward critical conscious legal literacy: Engaging ACPA’s framework for racial justice and decolonization. Journal of College Student Development, 61(6), 797–813. https://doi.org/10.1353/ csd.2020.0076 Wright-Mair, R., & Pulido, G. (2021). We deserve more than this: Spirit murdering and resurrection in the academy. Educational Foundations, 34(1), 110–131.

6 Will the Master’s Tools Dismantle the Master’s House? Navigating Student Conduct and Conflict Work as Queer Administrators in Higher Education Andrea D. Domingue and Daniel J. Foster Like many, when we began college, we did not dream of working in higher education. However, for us, even as students, it has always been important for us to work to foster a climate that supports LGBTQ+ students and actively minimizes barriers LGBTQ+ students face. While in college, each of us experienced a climate that often created or exacerbated barriers and relied too heavily on student groups and student leadership to create welcoming and affirming spaces—sometimes even just spaces that were not actively doing harm. This lack of support for us, and other LGBTQ+ students, has led us on a journey culminating in us both being in positions where we have a role in influencing LGBTQ+ students’ experiences through education, direct student support, and institutional policies and processes designed to address bias and action behaviors negatively affecting LGBTQ+ students. However, as professionals in the areas of student diversity and student conduct, at times we must enact mandated policies and practices and follow processes that may not align with our personal politics. Based on our roles, we sometimes find ourselves at odds with the competing interests and needs of the students, colleagues, and superiors we serve, creating tensions that can be intensified when students (specifically student activists), colleagues, and superiors assume of us a particular politic. The assumed politic is regularly not one to which we subscribe and is instead repeatedly cast upon us by others who fail to recognize we are more than our professions, ignoring our own needs to process how we navigate these difficult scenarios. In this chapter, we explore the insider/outsider paradox as it relates to our roles and experiences as queer professionals in higher education and student affairs (HESA). We are tasked with elevating the voice of students and providing them the support they need, but we are also the arbiters of processes with which so many students are in tension. We are also seen as the voice of a university, attempting to limit its liability and create an image that conceals the DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-6

64  Andrea D. Domingue and Daniel J. Foster cracks of a system that purports to serve and care for all students but repeatedly falls shy of its goals. In our roles between the various stakeholders, we are expected to be all things—mediators, facilitators, community engagers, translators, enforcers, adjudicators, and more—often resulting in burnout or dissatisfaction (Tull, 2006; St. Onge et al., 2008). Though this conundrum exists for all professionals in higher education, significant layers of complexity and greater risk of professional consequence exist for LGBTQ+ and other historically underrepresented professionals in higher education when one considers their personal politics and their multiple and intersecting identities (Bazarsky & Sanlo, 2011; Henry, 2010). When we work directly with LGBTQ+ students, we may be seen as insiders who offer individual and community care or help to navigate instances of bias through a common experience, but we may also be seen as outsiders when we are unable to hold students accountable for harm caused to LGBTQ+ communities through our institutional processes. Additionally, we are often seen as outsiders by our perceived straight students and colleagues as we are frequently one of the few LGBTQ+ voices in any given room. In a single role, we are simultaneously insiders and outsiders, and the ultimate result is having to be selective about how and when we bring our personal politics into our work, how we communicate ideas to others, and how much we are able to bring our full selves into our work. Given our backgrounds and experiences, we begin this chapter with a brief overview of bias response and student conduct processes across contemporary higher education institutions. Second, we will offer our personal narratives on how we navigate the tensions of our roles as mid-level administrators tasked with implementing bias response and student conduct policies alongside insider/outsider paradoxes as queer professionals. We will conclude by providing insights to support professionals as they navigate similar tensions between their personal politics, roles, and the communities they serve and offer opportunities for change they can enact within their own spheres of influence. We hope that colleagues and superiors who are in positions of power and influence might read this piece and embrace the differences of their communities as strengths in order to transform policies, practices, and climates that center those who are most marginalized.

Context and Framing Colleges and universities are historically complex systems that strive to foster opportunities for academic learning while also attempting to navigate social and behavioral dynamics among students. Early higher education institutions within the United States primarily had homogeneous student demographics (e.g., cisgender men, white, and Christian) and managed student behavior through the lens of in loco parentis or faculty-administered discipline through a framework of punishment and shame to ultimately control student actions (Smith, 1994; Thelin, 2019). The transition from faculty to practitioners managing out-of-classroom dynamics along growing philosophical beliefs that

Conduct and Conflict as Queer Professionals 65 students should have rights and due process contributed to shifts in how campuses responded to student conduct (Van Vlack Bruckner, 2014). Diversifying student populations, federal regulations, student activism, and legal challenges have each played a role in how institutions approach student behavior as well as had an impact on campus climate (Kezar, 2014; Schrage  & Giacomini, 2009). Contemporary student affairs practitioners, particularly in functional areas of student conduct and bias response, now serve as frontline leaders who address alleged student policy violations and respond to instances of individual or community harm (Miller et al., 2018; Van Vlack Bruckner, 2014). Campuses differ on how and who implements student conduct and bias response processes, and mid-level practitioners occupy a new unique position in these functional areas (Young, 2007). In some instances, mid-level practitioners may respond directly to incidents, supervise those navigating incidents, advise, or be given directives by senior-level professionals, and in the case of bias response incidents, some practitioners may work with a campus-wide team (LePeau et al., 2016; Van Vlack Bruckner, 2014). In response to emerging dynamics of student diversity, conflict, and campus climate, there are calls to change and reimagine student conduct and bias responses processes through a critical lens (Miller et al., 2018; Schrage & Giacomini, 2009). Although Holmes et al. (2009) challenge notions of objectivity and advocate for social justice frameworks when responding to student conduct and conflict on campus, practitioners are often working within systems that perpetuate oppression and harm to themselves and the students they serve. For example, as professionals, we are at times faced with scenarios where a student who uses a homophobic slur or defaces property in a way that targets an LGBTQ+ student (or groups of students) may not face consequences due to campus code of conduct language or review. These instances create further harm and possibly little remedy for impacted students and staff. Similarly, faculty who consistently engage in microaggressions are sometimes protected through human resources processes or arguments of academic freedom, furthering power dynamics and climates that subordinate LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty. In Audre Lorde’s (1984) formative work The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, drawing from her experiences as a Black lesbian feminist in the academy, she wrote, “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change” (p. 112). As queer justice-oriented administrators in higher education and student affairs, many of us understand (or quickly learn) these professions force us to operate within oppressive systems, structures, and policies where we have limited influence to create change (Furr, 2018; Tillapaugh & Catalano, 2019). Despite the barriers to embracing the differences and personal politics we offer to our institutions as queer administrators in higher education, we have utilized creative strategies that have emerged and been co-opted from activist communities and organizing (e.g., restorative justice, trauma-informed practice, survivor-centered practice, conflict resolution and mediation) in order to

66  Andrea D. Domingue and Daniel J. Foster introduce practices that align with our personal politics to create transformative change.

Our Story: Queer Practitioners in Student Conduct and Conflict Work The motivation for this chapter came from a series of conversations, initially between three practitioners working in mid-level positions within student conduct and student diversity and inclusion. Though the institutions where we work differ by institutional type, size, and geographic location, we share common experiences as practitioners who must negotiate between implementing student accountability processes and supporting students impacted by bias or hate crimes, sexual misconduct, and campus policy violations. In regard to our social identities, we both identify as queer but differ across race and gender. Given these nuances, we offer our personal narratives of how we each navigate the insider/outsider paradox as queer practitioners in student conduct and conflict work.

Sister Outsider While Implementing Bias Response Protocols: Andrea D. Domingue My journey with the insider/outsider paradox first and foremost connects to my social location as a queer woman of color generally and specifically within predominantly white educational systems. Although I honor the initial significance of reflexivity in scholarship, this task often feels like a listing of (marginalized) social identities to in one way validate insights (or lack thereof) when describing practitioner positionality in social dynamics. I  disclose my identities as a Black, queer, and cisgender woman in this moment specifically to frame a macroperspective of an insider/outsider paradox that continues to influence the microperspective of a mid-level administrator currently leading bias response campus protocols. Audre Lorde (1984) famously coined the term “sister outsider” as a way to capture the complexity of experiences Black queer women navigate contextually in the United States. To be a “sister” signals a belonging to marginalized groups such as women, people of color, and/or queer communities— distinctly and simultaneously. To be an “outsider” calls attention to the moments where queer women of color are othered or navigate oppression within the communities where they also share some identity belonging. I can apply this paradox to my own experience as a diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioner, having worked in several identity-based centers. Working within an LGBT center, I was a sister outsider who gained community belonging and trust from students as a queer person, but also navigated racism and sexism. As director of a multicultural affairs center, I  navigated sexism and heterosexism among students and colleagues, but also had insider access and relationships as a Black woman. In both of these contexts, the

Conduct and Conflict as Queer Professionals 67 sister outsider dynamic was relatively sustained. However, leading a diversity and inclusion center, despite our commitment toward intersectionality, fosters additional complexity to the sister outsider paradox. In this space, our mission is to support several student populations, including students of color and students of diverse genders and sexualities, so the ways in which the paradox shows up shifts as our departmental focus shifts. This means within the span of a week or even a day, the range in which I am a “sister outsider” also shifts. Further contextualizing this paradox is how my campus roles influence perceptions of insider and outsider. Early in my career, students readily accepted me as an “insider” among them, both due to being close in age and also due to my distance from positional institutional power. Rarely was I viewed as an outsider as students viewed me as “on their side” as it was my primary role to facilitate community events and less so on institutional policies and processes. Moving into mid-level positions, I began to notice that students still viewed me as an insider, but also began to hold me at a distance particularly in moments of conduct cases and bias incidents. Though I was not involved in implementing campus policies and protocols, students sometimes viewed me as someone that did not fully support them and as a colluder with “the administration.” Now at the senior-level, students tend to view me as a clear outsider first and insider second. In my current role, I am one of two campus leaders that oversees our bias response protocol and depending on the incidents I respond to (and how I respond to them), my insider/outsider status fluctuates. Students and campus partners often minimize or “forget” that as a queer person of color, some of the incidents I navigate on campus harm me as well. As a result, I am left with big questions on my sense of belonging on campus and how effective I am in my campus role.

Navigating the Student Conduct World While Queer: Daniel J. Foster As a queer, white, cisgender man, I  must navigate the paradox of being an insider and outsider in my work as a student conduct administrator. I am an outsider in spaces where my masculinity performance and queer identity do not align with hegemonic masculinity assumptions such as a lack of emotion, a focus on self-reliance, and heterosexuality (Kimmel, 2008). However, I am simultaneously an insider in many spaces where my privileged identities position me closer to power than others, a type of systemic insider status. Moreover, my professional role grants me some level of power over students with whom I meet, further intensifying the insider/outsider dynamic on a personal level. My reflections mostly center on the requirements of my professional role (and others like it) to administer processes which often do not align with my personal politic, at times to the detriment of my own well-being. For example, I am often tasked with resolving cases where homophobic undertones are present (or even explicit), forcing me to decide if I will remove my rainbow paintings from my office walls or use my identity as a teaching moment. In such

68  Andrea D. Domingue and Daniel J. Foster situations, it is crucial to assess my personal well-being and potentially even my physical safety. I  consequently operate in a borderland between insider and outsider in the professional spaces I occupy. I must support and develop students, but I must also rigidly uphold university policy, with little room for a truly personalized response. It is, at times, a difficult line to walk. While a true personalized response is challenging at times, I still feel called to be as supportive as possible within my work. I routinely interact with students who are scared, defensive, anxious, or defeated, which serves as a constant reminder of my experiences as a queer undergraduate where I entered many spaces not knowing if I  was safe, let alone welcomed. I  may not be seen as an insider by most students in my work, but my connections to their experiences remain. This in and of itself is a paradox, as I cannot be an insider if both they and I are not acknowledging my insider status. I am no longer an entry-level housing professional whom students see playing pool, running a 5K, eating dinner in a cafeteria, or any other daily activities which allowed me to build connections informally, positioning myself as an insider through shared experiences with students. Now, I  am an in-the-moment decision maker for a student; I am nearly always an outsider, regardless of the connections I make. For most students, the role and identity my university expects me to perform is the same which casts me as an outsider. Herein lies the paradox of my experience. My insider status within the institution, relating to the performative and procedural aspects of my role, is precisely the identity I most want to shed to help me better advocate for paradigmatic change to better serve students. Additionally, while colleges and universities claim to be bastions of inclusivity the reality is not as bright for LGBTQ+ people (Pryor, 2021), meaning that not only does my personal politic play a role in my decisions to challenge (or not) processes and procedures (and thus my insider status), but so does my sexual orientation. Navigating fears around the lavender ceiling (Hill, 2006)—the notion that only so many queer professionals can rise, and even then, they can only rise so high—and career aspirations creates a constant internal struggle as I grapple with how to best navigate my insider/outsider status.

Our Insights Navigating the Insider/Outsider Paradox Throughout our writing of this piece, we had several conversations centering the insider/outsider paradox within our professional roles. Within these conversations, we found ourselves returning to some key themes and asking questions to which we did not have explicit or generalizable answers but felt were important to center. We spoke at length about our thoughts and feelings related to our accessibility to and our work with students and their families (along with the campus community more broadly), while simultaneously not having the power to consistently affect change, nor the agency to create or

Conduct and Conflict as Queer Professionals 69 modify policies in an effort to more equitably impact students. We also continually grappled with notions of campus climate, geography, and demographics and how our experiences were likely influenced by our locations and specific situations. For instance, we spoke in depth about how Daniel’s work at a large public institution and Andrea’s work at a small, private liberal arts college are undoubtedly connected to how we and our students engage with processes as well as how those processes are created and changed, and with what type of expediency. We place the spotlight on these main concepts to show how our lived and professional experiences are essential to our narratives and to help explain how we traverse the dynamics which contribute to our navigation of the insider/outsider paradox. Although we may be given the small amount of power to implement policy and on occasion be at the table when it is discussed, we are not routinely granted the ability to quickly modify or change policies nor implement new ones, even if for a more equitable outcome. Moreover, we are positioned, in our experiences, intentionally, to be accessible students and parents who wish to challenge policies or structures—often putting us in positions where we must defend policies with which we may disagree, but as a university insider we must uphold the policy and further create a crisp line, even a contentious one at times, between us and our students. This delineation is difficult to navigate in many situations, as it positions us as an outsider for both the institution and the student in front of us. It can become a no-win situation. This experience is a unique one for us as queer professionals, but it is a situation we must manage, regardless of our identities, triggers, or personal politics, if we wish to be eventual catalysts of change. Perhaps the most important piece of the insider/outsider paradox within our conversations was how the campus community experiences campus climate. Campus climate is routinely measured in the aggregate by outside agencies who may not spend much time at our institutions. These entities provide coveted high rankings for inclusiveness or happiness or satisfaction, but for the students with whom we work most closely, their experiences of the climate are often drastically different. In bias response, for instance, we must navigate the paradox by meeting students where they are, and providing support, while still attempting to uphold the various rankings which are often prominently posted on our websites and recruitment materials. As staff, we are usually left out of the campus climate conversation and expected to set aside our identities, unless we can help raise one of those coveted scores, placing the insider/outsider paradox at the front of our minds in a multitude of scenarios where we struggle against the systems in which we are forced to operate. We do not assume that our experiences with campus climate would be the same on different campuses. However, between our experiences at several different institutions we found a common theme: We are responsible for upholding the outward perception of an affirming campus climate without drawing attention to any faults. At the very least, we are expected to minimize those faults in an effort to create a stronger image to entice future students.

70  Andrea D. Domingue and Daniel J. Foster

Conclusion We offer no magic solutions, no quick fix, and no one-size-fits-all approaches. We instead frame this as a conversation to begin and continue, to bring students to the table, to engage your campus community, and to create malleable systems which serve to ease the tension created by the insider/outsider paradox. Mid-level professionals carry much of the burden in the bias and student conduct realms and that burden is becoming more difficult to navigate the more political our functional areas become. So, it is imperative that structures be created to support these professionals and to provide tangible ways for professionals in these areas to affect change. These solutions are not universal, and they should not be set in stone; we advocate not for an adherence to our experiences as gospel. We are calling for a critical, indepth conversation and planning process to take place to better facilitate student conduct and bias response processes in ways where professionals are not required to take sides (student vs. institution). We advocate for systems where professionals have the ability, knowledge, support, and structures to engage in unique, individualized ways to repair harm and support students. In hopes of being a catalyst for the conversations we call for, we offer three questions here that aim to serve as a jumping off point to create a culture supportive of all students and mid-level staff functioning as the face of university policies and processes. Given the legal landscape, institutional differences, and staffing dynamics, a real, tangible commitment to equity and an openness to change is a large ask in and of itself, but one which is necessary to begin the conversation and affect positive change for the mid-level professionals doing bias and conduct work. We end this chapter not with absolutes but by encouraging discussion and a commitment to creating a culture that acknowledges the insider/outsider paradox and creates systems of support for professionals to navigate it.

Dialogic Questions 1. The first rule of law and policy is to follow your own process, but a question we have continued to ask ourselves in this writing process is “how do we navigate the dichotomy between upholding campus policies as midlevel professionals and attempting to honor our students’ needs in times of crisis, trauma, and stress?” 2. Campus climate is a critical component in evaluating the insider/outsider paradox for mid-level professionals. So, we must ask “how can we honor the experiences of marginalized students and professionals to provide them with the space to exercise their power and agency to improve the climate they experience on our campuses?” 3. Every campus is different, we recognize and celebrate that fact, but that also positions this conversation as one without answers. So then, the final questions we need to ask are “what does this look like in our individual

Conduct and Conflict as Queer Professionals 71 offices, departments, and divisions?” and “how do we ensure our solutions are responsive to the current needs of the communities they are meant to serve?”

References Bazarsky, D., & Sanlo, R. (2011). LGBT students, faculty, and staff. In L. M. Stulberg & S. L. Weinberg (Eds.), Diversity in American higher education: Toward a more comprehensive approach (pp. 128–141). Routledge. Furr, S. (2018). Wellness interventions for social justice fatigue among student affairs professionals [Doctoral dissertation, Loyola University Chicago]. Loyola University Chicago eCommons. https://ecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent. cgi?article=3802&context=luc_diss Henry, W. J. (2010). African American women in student affairs: Best practices for winning the game. Advancing Women in Leadership Journal, 30(2), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.21423/awlj-v30.a306 Hill, R. J. (2006). Queer challenges in organizational settings: Complexity, paradox, and contradiction. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2006(112), 97–102. https://doi.org/10.1002/ace.240 Holmes, R. C., Edwards, K., & DeBowes, M. M. (2009). Why objectivity is not enough: The critical role of social justice in campus conduct and conflict work. In J. M. Schrage & N. G. Giacomini (Eds.), Reframing campus conflict: Student conduct practice through a social justice lens (pp. 50–64). Stylus. Kezar, A. (2014). How colleges change: Understanding, leading and enacting change. Routledge. Kimmel, M. S. (2008). Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men. Harper Collins. LePeau, L., Morgan, D. L., Zimmerman, H. B., Snipes, J. T., & Marcotte, B. A. (2016). Connecting to get things done: A conceptual model of the process used to respond to bias incidents. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 9(2), 113–129. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039509 Lorde, A. (1984). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Crossing Press. Miller, R. A., Guida, T., Smith, S., Ferguson, S. K.,  & Medina, E. G. (2018). A balancing act: Whose interests do bias response teams serve? Review of Higher Education, 42(1), 313–337. https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2018.0031 Pryor, J. T. (2021). Queer activist leadership: An exploration of queer leadership in higher education. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 14(3), 303–315. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000160 Schrage, J. M., & Giacomini, N. G. (2009). Building community in the current campus climate. In J. M. Schrage & N. G. Giacomini (Eds.), Reframing campus conflict: Student conduct practice through a social justice lens (pp. 7–21). Stylus. Smith, D. B. (1994). Student discipline in American college & universities a historical overview. Educational Horizons, 72(2), 78–85. St. Onge, S., Ellet, T., & Nestor, E. (2008). Factors affecting recruitment and retention of entry level housing and residential life staff: Perceptions of chief housing officers. The Journal of College and University Student Housing, 35(2), 10–23. Thelin, J. R. (2019). A history of American higher education (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press.

72  Andrea D. Domingue and Daniel J. Foster Tillapaugh, D., & Catalano, D. C. J. (2019). Structural challenges affecting the experiences of public university LGBT services graduate assistants. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 12(2), 126–135. https://doi.org/10.1037/ dhe0000079 Tull, A. (2006). Synergistic supervision, job satisfaction, and intention to turnover of new professionals in student affairs. Journal of College Student Development, 47(4), 465–480. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2006.0053 Van Vlack Bruckner, L. J. (2014). Using student development theory to enhance the educational experience in student conduct: Perspectives of student conduct practitioners at four-year institutions (Publication no. 3629675) [Doctoral dissertation, University of South Dakota]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. Young, W. W., Jr. (2007). The student affairs mid-level manager in a new century. In R. L. Ackerman  & L. D. Roper (Eds.), The mid-level manager in student affairs: Strategies for success (pp. 27–43). NASPA.

7 Tearing It Apart While Holding It Together Using Queer, Situated Knowledges to Navigate the Paradoxes of Institutional Life Travis H. Olson, Emily J. Abrams, and Brandon R. G. Smith It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticize the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticize and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them. (Foucault in Chomsky & Foucault, 1974/2006, p. 41)

Your agential capacity extends beyond your being, into the system’s capacity. Your agency is system. (la paperson, 2017, “You, a Scyborg” section)

Social crises and growing precarity have defined the lives of the Millennial Generation. For the authors of this chapter, September 11, the Great Recession, and Covid-19 serve as ominous markers of when we were secondary, undergraduate, and doctoral students. It is no wonder that most U.S. adults now lack faith in our shared institutions (Jones, 2018). Colleges and universities are not immune from this crisis of confidence. In the midst of a great disillusionment with higher education (Ellis, 2021), academic workers are increasingly asking if vocational calling is worth poor pay, high stress, and managing the gap between institutions’ espoused values and leaders’ actions. What may be hard for many student affairs practitioners, particularly those who are queer, is that we entered this profession as a way to process the uncertainties of life off campus. Many choose this work to build the inclusive communities that either we did not have or were essential to our personal development. At times, however, the authors of this chapter have wondered if providing engagement opportunities for some is worth remaining in a social institution that still largely defines excellence on the basis of exclusion and continues to mask its participation in colonialism, systemic racism, and the

DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-7

74  Travis H. Olson et al. other -isms the profession of student affairs is publicly committed to confronting (see Stein, 2021). The intent of this chapter is not to advocate for either leaving or staying in higher education or student affairs. Rather, the authors want to discuss what it means to hold space for both of the sentiments expressed in the epigraphs here. In other words, what does it mean to seek justice through imperfect institutions while taking care of ourselves and others? We believe that developing a situated knowledge of higher education that deromanticizes it as a social institution is key. This is because a more well-balanced perspective allows space for critique, dialogue, and change, both in our work environments and ourselves.

Situated Knowledges for Outsiders Within A situated knowledge is one that rejects totalizing frameworks and embraces “politics and epistemologies of location, positioning, and situating, where partiality and not universality is the condition of being heard to make rational knowledge claims” (Haraway, 1988, p. 589). Those cultivating a situated sense of knowledge are deeply suspicious of the god trick or claims that through simply using the right tools, the right data, or the right perspective, the answers to our most challenging problems will be revealed. Those familiar with how critical social theories have been applied to student development (e.g., Abes et al., 2019; Dugan, 2017) may recognize a common call to critique takenfor-granted assumptions (i.e., hegemony). It is also crucial, however, to point out that claims of truth based solely on identity are another form of the god trick, as “subjugation is not grounds for an ontology” or claims of what is and is not knowable (Haraway, 1988, p. 586). This is because categories, including social identity, “gain their meaning only in relation to their difference from their oppositional counterparts” (Collins, 1986, p. 20). For example, there is no discussion of queerness without invoking ideas of straightness. The power of a queer critique of higher education does not arise from something innate about queerness, but from the lived experience of being queer within a heteronormative institution. The practice of cultivating a situated knowledge by reflecting on the relationships between identities and institutions is built upon Black feminist ideas, such as the outsider within (Collins, 1986). Throughout U.S. history, Black women have found themselves at crucial intersections of social power—compelled to care for white institutions because of their gender while simultaneously excluded from many Black institutions because of it. Despite the injustice of this position, Black women have turned it into an asset, developing deeply situated knowledges of themselves and the spaces we share. The authors of this chapter see our work as responding to the call from Black feminists for similarly situated persons to “conserve the creative tension of outsider within status” and leverage it to pursue change (Collins, 1986, p.  29). Through sharing the following vignettes, we have two goals: first, describing how more-situated perspectives have helped us make sense of

Tearing It Apart While Holding It Together 75 inhabiting unjust institutions that alternatively accept and exclude, and second, theorizing what power there may be in maintaining our outsider within status.

Travis: Remaining Conflicted Rather Than Detaching With an Axe I ran toward college and away from my unstable, and occasionally violent, family. I had always buried myself in schoolwork to cope, as a way to be home without really being home. College, however, was my great escape. As early as elementary school, I had hoped to go to college in a far away, big city. College was the goal I had to achieve to survive. I wanted to be on an urban campus to ensure I had the space to be openly gay, but authenticity was—and often still is—difficult for me. Those living with trauma often feel as if they are “outside the realm of collective experience” (Shalka, 2019, p.  42) and have trouble navigating interpersonal relationships. The first people in my life who helped me begin to overcome my developmental wounds were student affairs practitioners. They could see that I was looking for intellectual and emotional tools to define myself, and they gave me every opportunity to do so in a supportive community. For the first time in my life, my sexuality was a boon, rather than a hindrance. Many of my mentors were people of color, and they also challenged me to extend my learning to those marginalized by racism. They went far beyond their professional responsibilities by being vulnerable with me, sharing the ways white supremacy constrained their lives and their creative methods of resisting it. Through many hours of conversation, I developed a critical consciousness that remains foundational to my sense of self today. My collegiate experience is a case study in racial justice ally development (Reason et  al., 2005), as it shows the importance of formal learning, diverse relationships, and opportunities to engage in racial justice work. The result of these experiences was not a fully realized or stable ally identity but deep and ongoing dissonance that I have carried into my professional life. That dissonance often left me wondering if I  am doing more harm than good in my professional work. For example, a past employer restricted valuable student opportunities to only those with high ACT and SAT scores, resulting in predictable and dramatic drops in racial diversity in our programs. Across different positions, I witnessed students benefit from off-campus learning experiences, but those same experiences often enabled social difference to be “experienced in just the same way as new commodities are coveted, purchased, and owned” (Ogden, 2007, p. 38) without meaningful dialogue or action. Overall, I  felt tremendous pressure to reduce learning to simple competencies that students collect in order to be more competitive in a neoliberal job market, while opportunities to learn about inequity, social change, and justice were passed up time and again. I felt this disconnect between what was valued in my pre-professional experiences and what I was pressured to produce as a university employee as a type

76  Travis H. Olson et al. of institutional betrayal, which has been defined as “individual experiences of violations of trust and dependency perpetrated against any member of an institution” (Smith & Freyd, 2014, p. 577). Something that is important to my story and the stories of colleagues who continue to live with developmental traumas is that “seemingly strong, infallible, prestigious institutions attract members seeking safe havens” (p. 584). In a particularly personal retreat during my master’s program, I was shocked by how many of my colleagues had also experienced familial violence before finding more stability as aspiring student affairs professionals. Initially, I responded to institutional betrayal the same way I reacted to my family. I  ran from one institutional type to another, looking for something healthier, eventually leaving student affairs for other work within higher education. I now see this phase of my career as an example of what members of Al-Anon call detaching with an axe, a strong urge to run from an instance of betrayal and to shun the cause of that psychic discomfort (Shulman, 2016). Detaching with an axe is undesirable because it is impulsive. It does little to correct the harmful behaviors of others, increasing the likelihood of future injury, and it is unsatisfactory to those running away because they may need to be in community with the individual or group that committed the wrong. In short, shunning often leads to more harm than good. What queer activist and academic Sarah Shulman (2016) suggests instead of detachment with an axe is a more nuanced relationship with conflict. When we are privileged enough to not be in direct danger, Shulman suggests we position ourselves as being conflicted. By recognizing that conflict is occurring and that it is natural, a more satisfying outcome than running away or discharging discomfort onto others is possible. Shulman’s model does not perfectly map onto remaining in conflict with institutions, as they are not people with rights, but institutions do have interests that leaders pursue, often to the detriment of other people. If we hope to meaningfully change institutions, we must use our outsider within status to become familiar with these interests, using that knowledge to agitate for change. Rather than foregrounding my frustrations, being in conflict has given me space to further my critical consciousness and to reflect upon how higher education is both a refuge for some and, as Emily discusses next, entangled in historical and ongoing oppression. A healthier detachment from higher education is allowing me to come to expect its flaws, while still using my agency and the structure of the institution to craft assemblages of practice and policy in the pursuit of anti-racist and decolonial education (la paperson, 2017).

Emily: Constructing a Complex Self Among Challenging Histories Like Travis, college was my escape. I was a high-performing child, despite a complicated family and trauma-inducing instability. There was always some degree of separation between who I  was becoming and who those around

Tearing It Apart While Holding It Together 77 me understood me to be. I did not yet know I was a lesbian, nor did I know that I was disabled. At the time, I had no language to articulate how I was misaligned with my surroundings. Yet, when all else failed me, my music classes were there. My choir teacher understood me. My desire to be like her informed my decisions about what and where to study. I eventually enrolled in a small liberal arts college where I was given an unsettling amount of space to figure out who I was. Coming to college did not change how misunderstood I felt. I struggled academically and experienced heightened anxiety and depression. In my senior year, however, I took classes in women’s gender and sexuality studies where I was introduced to the concept of systemic oppression. I learned about the many ways in which (white) women experience sexism, and I quickly adopted a feminist identity. This ultimately helped me realize that I am a queer woman. Adopting a queer identity was transformative for me and gave me a sense of home in the academy. I wanted to work in this new home and to help other students have formative experiences, so I  entered student affairs. I  chose a master’s program with a social justice focus. My program allowed me to begin doing what I knew mattered in education—promoting equity and justice. It provided me with the opportunity to explore my intersecting social identities, particularly my whiteness. I was finally given space to explore who I was and who I was becoming. My advisor introduced me to her work on lesbian and disabled college students (Abrams & Abes, 2021), giving me the language to understand my queerness and the confidence to identify as disabled. These experiences have been foundational to my research agenda and early career. As much as graduate school was a liberating experience, it also exposed the ugly truth of how higher education institutions have treated queer, disabled, and racially minoritized people. Reflecting on this history and how I am an outsider within student affairs, I return to the question, “for whom was the academy built and at what cost?” In many ways, higher education was not built for me. I am a queer, neurodivergent, not-so-cisgender woman from a rural, working-class family. While higher education is a space where knowledge regarding queerness and disability is produced, it is also a space “designed to eradicate deviance from campus” (Renn, 2010, p. 133). Universities have a chilling track record of making sure that students like me do not occupy them for long. For example, higher education was the birthplace of eugenics (Dolmage, 2017), which sought to cure and eradicate both queerness and disability. It was not until 1990 that disabled people in the United States were promised protections against discrimination. Even now, disabled students’ belonging on campus is constantly questioned (Abrams & Abes, 2021). It took 200 years of European-style higher education in the United States and Canada for the first white woman to be conferred a degree (Cooper, 2011). It wasn’t until 1862 that Black women entered the U.S. academy (Aldridge & Christensen, 2013). Up through the mid-twentieth century, students who were caught, or even suspected of engaging in same-sex relations were expelled from their schools

78  Travis H. Olson et al. (Faderman, 2015). College leaders routinely participated in incarcerating and institutionalizing queer students, ruining their lives. With each of these examples of persecution, it would be easy for me to claim a stance rooted in the idea of institutional betrayal (Smith & Freyd, 2014). Yet, why is it that despite this “betrayal,” I am still able to gain and hold space in our field when so many colleagues of color struggle to do so (e.g., Harris & Linder, 2018)? The institution of higher education was built through the labor of enslaved Indigenous Americans and Africans (la paperson, 2017) and “by turning land expropriated from tribal nations into seed money” for public institutions (Lee & Ahtone, 2020, para. 4); so, how am I in any position to claim betrayal? Though I  hold many marginalized identities, my whiteness allows me to benefit from the institution that simultaneously and continuously betrays me through ableist, heterosexist, and sexist policies and practices. I am still able to find a home in higher education because I have the privilege that comes with my ability to pass, as each of my marginalized identities is nonapparent, fitting into prevailing institutional scripts (Greenwood & Hinings, 1996). It is easier for the slights I  experience to fall into the background because of the color of my skin, and this privilege secures me opportunities and legitimacy that my colleagues of color are not afforded. These contradictions require a more nuanced language of identity than we have been taught to use. Kafer (2013) states, “a politics based in futurity leads easily to an ethics deferral. . . . Focusing always on the better future, we divert our attention from the here and now” (p. 29). As a student affairs professional, I am responding to Kafer’s challenge by cultivating a situated knowledge based not only on my own story or the future I hope to create but also on the histories of those who were cruelly used and those who willingly sacrificed to make higher education a place where I can thrive in my queer, disabled body. While the institution will continue to fail me, it is important that I utilize my outsider within position to challenge racist policies and institutional practices. Whiteness leads white people to quickly expect results for their efforts, and as such, it is easy to become complacent or defeated after repeatedly coming up against intransigent systems designed to exclude. Perhaps through taking a different, longer perspective or listening to the needs of our colleagues of color, we can cultivate a more nuanced and sustainable approach to righting historic wrongs.

Brandon: Challenging Problematic Socialization in Student Affairs I came out of my junior year of high school with the support of my best friend, who was also gay. Despite the risks associated with being out 20 years ago in a small, southern Ontario city, we had a positive high school experience because of our supportive peer network. Although shows like Will & Grace and Queer as Folk provided us some examples of white queerness outside our immediate context, they were polarizing and incomplete depictions. We would often

Tearing It Apart While Holding It Together 79 escape a few hours away to the big city of Toronto, seeking more authentic examples of gay culture. Together, we kept one another afloat. By the time I graduated high school, I was ready for my next step. I saw leaving my small hometown and succeeding in college not as running away but as an opportunity to define myself as a proud gay man and first-generation student from a single-parent family. Looking back, I realize being out earlier than others resulted in me having a rainbow-colored view of queerness. I was ignorant of others’ experiences and how intersecting identities and context influence the process (Jourian, 2015). Many are not afforded the acceptance I was. Yet, even with the support I had at home, I struggled with coming out all over again on campus. This time, I felt alone. I began to avoid revealing conversations. I used gender-neutral pronouns when describing relationships and slowly slipped back in the closet. After some time, my desire to achieve in academics, in relationships, and as a student employee—along with my privileges—helped these worries pass. It is common for gay men’s sense of achievement at work, at school, and in relationships to influence our sense of self-worth or value (Pachankis  & Hatzenbuehler, 2013). For me, fusing self-worth and achievement was successful for a while. I made friends and naively accepted a new social role as an expert on all things gay. I got involved in student government, university-wide senate, and residence life. I  was determined to use my roles to help others feel seen and supported. My experiences allowed me a feeling of knowing my sexuality (Cass, 1979) and an insider sense of the academy. Today, however, I  wonder how my desire to prove myself through student involvement taught me potentially harmful ideal working norms (Sallee, 2021). I remember as a student leader the worry about asking for time away from training to attend a family wedding. In the end, my absence was approved after promising to miss  as few weekend duties as possible; however, it was made clear that this was a “one-time request.” Working conditions for many in the academy were unsustainable before the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether through undergraduate involvement or graduate programs, student affairs professionals are taught—both inadvertently and explicitly—to see selfpreservation as second to professional responsibilities. When one’s sense of worth is tied to professional achievement, as is the case for many gay men, it is easier to accept ever-increasing calls to do more with less and to unfairly replicate those requests at great cost to others. For example, I have worked in student housing at three different institutions, in positions ranging from a live-in hall director to supervising residence life. In just over a decade, I have seen the increasing pressure we put on student employees. In training and supervising, I tried to channel my privileged, insider perspective for good. I confronted toxic notions of “professionalism.” I advocated and presented the increasingly more complicated responsibilities placed on student employees. I  worked with strong leadership to challenge these norms, prioritizing holistic wellness of student leaders. But I  still saw the three hours of wellness training that I took as a student evolve into days of

80  Travis H. Olson et al. intensive in-services on suicide intervention, supporting sexual violence survivors, mandatory reporting protocols, and Naloxone administration. Students are expected to master this content in addition to building community and remaining excellent students themselves. Despite my efforts to oppose problematic professional norms, our ever-increasing demands communicate to students that successful professionals are all things to all people. Moving forward, I am curious how we can use our outsider within status to ask how sustainable, wise, and just the current state of affairs is and to help students develop their own situated knowledges of the academy. For example, how do we help our mentees have a balanced understanding of this work and to consider structural inequities such as location-based pay gaps (Bichsel  & McChesney, 2017) and identity-based exclusion from career advancement? Where are we overly focused on compliance and assimilation to institutional norms, rather than collaboratively shifting institutional practice? When possible, I advocated for staff resources and expert positions to complement our generalists with some success. How can we normalize this type of advocacy, particularly for those with many privileged identities, as a supervisory duty? Can we let go of normative notions of student leadership as on-campus involvement, inviting students to define their self-worth in relation to their communities and families, not based on the value they produce for the institution? My hope is that university leaders sustain the commitments they make to students and those who work directly with them. This does not entirely come down to budgetary decisions. College and university missions often promise holistic education, yet everything outside the classroom and formal involvement may go unnoticed and undervalued. As increasing numbers of student affairs professionals are choosing to leave the profession, I  call for institutional leadership to listen to student affairs “expats” and to consider what their experiences can teach us. As an institutional insider, I am especially considering burdens placed on non-white queer and trans folks, as well as other marginalized communities, as I foster continued equity-focused learning and unlearning.

Conclusion Our reflections on persisting as outsiders within the academy show how colleges and universities are assemblages of machines (la paperson, 2019). In other words, higher education institutions are a mix of social, political, and economic technologies. Just because those in student affairs may encounter these technologies in the forms of student engagement practices, institutional culture, or human resources policy does not mean that they are any less central to higher education’s role in systemic oppression. Most importantly, the fact that student affairs is entangled in the machinery of racism, heteronormativity, colonialism, and neoliberalism is not wholly a bad thing. Being a part of these machines is what allows us to remain in conflict with harmful structures and work toward change. To engage in this struggle, however, we must resist

Tearing It Apart While Holding It Together 81 simplistic understandings of what higher education is and cultivate situated knowledges that account for not only our experiences but the experiences of others. We must ask how our understandings of the field and ourselves within it have been limited by messages such as the claim that higher education personnel are universally “good people who will make the world a better place” (Stein, 2021, p. 406). The United States and Canada are truly just beginning to become multiracial democracies (e.g., Smith, 2021). In solidarity with Collins (1986) and other Black feminist thinkers, the white, queer authors of this chapter encourage our readers to reflect upon how you can use your own position within the academy to help bring forth new, more inclusive nations. Many queer thinkers are renowned for their ability to deconstruct social institutions, revealing how they perpetuate “political violence” (Chomsky  & Foucault, 1974/2006, p. 41). In cultivating a queer situated knowledge, however, we must also reflect upon how a “pedagogy centered only on critique becomes a discourse of bankruptcy” (Leonardo, 2004, p. 16). Put another way, how does embracing critique and foregoing reconstruction limit our collective ability to change? We fear that abandoning higher education as hopelessly broken slams the doors of opportunity in the faces of those who have yet to and may still equitably benefit from the institution. A situated appreciation of institutions as both potentially liberatory and oppressive and capable of change is what gives the insider within status its power. Many possibilities exist for outsiders within to use not only our powers of deconstruction but also our imaginations, hopes for the future, and care for others to assemble more just institutional machines. To foster further dialogue among scholars and practitioners of student affairs and higher education (and those who have left the field), we conclude with a series of questions that readers can use for further reflection, discussion, and action.

Discussion Questions 1. We all carry experiences that can make it difficult to remain in conflict with other people or institutions and that may lead us to avoidant behavior. What personally helps you overcome the urge to disengage from challenging situations? What institutional structures might we experiment with to make it easier to remain in productive conflict at work rather than avoiding, blaming, or detaching with an axe? 2. Given your positionality (i.e., social identities, experiences, professional position), what does it mean for you to be an ally to marginalized people? How has this answer changed over the course of your career? How do you anticipate it changing in the future? 3. What practices do higher education and student affairs graduate programs engage in that restrict more complex understandings of the field (see Stein, 2021)? Which of these practices are harder or easier to change? What are the consequences of changing these practices?

82  Travis H. Olson et al.

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Tearing It Apart While Holding It Together 83 Kafer, A. (2013). Feminist, queer, crip. Indiana University Press. la paperson. (2017). A third university is possible. University of Minnesota Press. https://manifold.umn.edu/projects/a-third-university-is-possible Lee, R., & Ahtone, T. (2020, March 30). Land-grab universities. High Country News. www.hcn.org/issues/52.4/indigenous-affairs-education-land-grab-universities Leonardo, Z. (2004). Critical social theory and transformative knowledge: The functions of criticism in quality education. Educational Researcher, 33(11), 11–18. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X033006011 Ogden, A. (2007). The view from the veranda: Understanding today’s colonial student. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 15(1), 35–56. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ878378.pdf Pachankis, J. E., & Hatzenbuehler, M. L. (2013). The social development of contingent self-worth in sexual minority young men: An empirical investigation of the “best little boy in the world” hypothesis. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 35(2), 176–190. https://doi.org/10.1080/01973533.2013.764304 Reason, R. D., Roosa Millar, E. A., & Scales, T. C. (2005). Toward a model of racial justice ally development. Journal of College Student Development, 46(5), 530–546. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2005.0054 Renn, K. A. (2010). LGBT and queer research in higher education: The state and status of the field. Educational Researcher, 39(2), 132–141. https://doi. org/10.3102/0013189X10362579 Sallee, M. W. (Ed.). (2021). Creating sustainable careers in student affairs: What ideal worker norms get wrong and how to make it right. Stylus. Shalka, T. R. (2019). Trauma and the interpersonal landscape: Developmental tasks of the relational self-identity site. Journal of College Student Development, 60(1), 35–51. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2019.0002 Shulman, S. (2016). Conflict is not abuse: Overstating harm, community responsibility and the duty of repair. Arsenal Pulp Press. Smith, C. P., & Freyd, J. J. (2014). Institutional betrayal. American Psychologist, 69(6), 575–587. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037564 Smith, J. (Host). (2021, September). Revolutionary love [Audio podcast episode]. Vox Conversations. www.vox.com/vox-conversations-podcast/archives Stein, S. (2021). What can decolonial and abolitionist critiques teach the field of higher education? The Review of Higher Education, 44(3), 387–414. https:// doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2021.0000

8 Navigating Three QT Resource Centers Identifying and Dismantling Discursive Logics of Oppression Kristopher A. Oliveira As an undergraduate student, I  was heavily invested in queer and trans (QT1) life at my mid-size, regional comprehensive university in Pennsylvania. I  joined a small, yet established, queer student organization that became— as I perceived it—a large, eager, contested, feisty, powerful, active, and challenging organization. My involvement in this student organization led me to become a part-time student worker in the QT resource center; a participant and presenter at queer undergraduate conferences; and an organizer of QTcentered campus events. My involvement as a student leader led me to other opportunities to serve as a member of an executive committee for QT life that was charged by the university president; as a volunteer with a national crisis center for QT youth; and as an intern at a national QT non-profit organization. These experiences inspired a dream: I wanted to be a QT resource center director. Instances of violence, hate-speech, and systemic barriers also shaped my interest in becoming a QT resource professional. I recall conservative alt-right street preachers condemning me and my friends with transphobic and homophobic slurs. I  remember furiously sitting in the provost’s office discussing the university’s lackluster response to a bias-related incident. I recall petitioning for gender-inclusive housing, gender-inclusive restroom facilities, and an institutionally funded QT resource center. And I  remember when a senior administrator told me we could “never ask about gender and sexuality on institutional forms because it would be damaging to the university’s reputation.” Each of these moments impacted me differently, and the discursive strategies and outcome of these (and other) events rendered and (il)legitimized my and other queer bodies and experiences. Although I didn’t have the words to articulate it then, I identify this realization as the moment in which I  began to develop a more critical consciousness. And through that critical consciousness, I was starting to recognize and identify logics of oppression in action. I was also beginning to understand the ways that my identity as a Black gay man was made (in)visible by the institution of education, an institution that I was betting on as a first-generation college student. These are the challenges that pre-occupied my mind as I began my graduate degree in higher DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-8

Navigating Three QT Resource Centers 85 education administration with renewed hopes of someday becoming a QT resource professional. When I was about to begin my second year of graduate school, the director of the QT resource center took a different role on campus, and I  was appointed as the interim director of my university’s QT resource center—it was truly a dream come true! However, the precarity that I felt during my one year in this role was intimately linked to my not-so-distant time as an undergraduate student looking to shift culture and climate at my former university. Several years have passed since my time as an undergraduate student and my first term as a QT resource center director. To date, I have led three distinct QT resource centers—each different for its context, university-type, geographic location, student population, institutional structure, strategic mission, and the institutional positioning of the QT resource center. In each of these roles, I have served as a policy consultant to improve QT students’ well-documented negative experiences in/with classrooms, campus housing, institutional data, and facilities (Broadhurst et  al., 2018; Garvey, 2019; Garvey, 2020; Mollet et al., 2020; Renn, 2020). Yet instituting promising practices through policy and cultural change management are often stifled by factors such as broader political climates, “academic freedom,” and advancement and development priorities (e.g., money), among others. In my role leading QT resource centers, I have navigated the space between institutional priorities and thoughtfully addressed dire student needs. I have “pivoted” through the Covid-19 pandemic that disparately and negatively impacted QT people. I mentored and pseudo-counseled QT students through the 2016 election, which followed a year in which there was a stark increase in the violent murders of Black trans women. I  have been asked to think strategically about how “we can do less with more.” And I  have been told to not “make a political statement” within a highly politicized campus, local, and national climate. To that end, it is perhaps no wonder that Bazarsky et al. (2020) identified the ability to navigate “complex campus structures and contexts with political acumen to affect institutional change for [QT] communities” (p. 7) as the second core competency for QT directors and professionals in higher education. I  analyze some of my experiences navigating complex campus structures and contexts in this autoethnographic account to shed light on some of the discursive tools of oppression that have been deployed in traditionally heterogendered institutions (THIs). Coined by Preston and Hoffman (2015), a THI describes those colleges and universities “that, despite the desire to create programs supporting [QT] students, uphold[s] and promote[s] a heterogendered discourse through institutional structures and foundation” (p. 82). As a Black QT resource professional, Black scholar of QT resource centers, and Black QT student, the tensions and constraints that I have felt and experienced in my work to support QT students are directly connected to my commitment to dismantling the barriers that QT students face. This is because I have been impacted (and sometimes implicated) by systemic barriers, while

86  Kristopher A. Oliveira simultaneously working to study, reduce, and/or eliminate those barriers. As a Black queer scholar and professional, I  am keenly aware of the ways that identity-based centers can unintentionally perpetuate other microclimates (Preston & Hoffman, 2015, p. 84; Vaccaro, 2012) and systemic barriers for QT students of color. It is from this lens that I experience and navigate a misalignment between the priorities that I, in community with campus stakeholders, have identified as necessary priorities for the QT community, and a THIs commitment, willingness, and subsequent (in)action to support those efforts. In this chapter, I  employ personal narratives in service of autoethnography to analyze my experience as both an insider and outsider, working and studying QT resource centers in the context of higher education. “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)” (Ellis et al., 2011, p. 273). And [p]ersonal narratives propose to understand a self or some aspect of a life as it intersects with a cultural context, connect to other participants as coresearchers, and invite readers to enter the author’s world and to use what they learn there to reflect on, understand, and cope with their own lives. (Ellis et al., 2011, pp. 279–280) Narrative autoethnography espouses an abductive epistemology (Stuart, 2017; Timmermans & Tavory, 2012) and situates the researcher and the researcher’s experiences through stories as both the subject and object of analysis—as an insider to the story or experience and as an outsider analyzing it. In this case, I employ autoethnography to reflect on my past experiences that have informed my evolving critical consciousness. To compile the narrative vignettes that I analyzed in this chapter, I began by writing down my experiences from memory followed by meticulous research to fine-tune and edit the details. Each vignette was developed through multiple iterations and was edited for clarity and conciseness. Critical methodologies have uplifted the utility and tradition of storytelling as a legitimate form of knowledge production (Solórzano  & Yosso, 2002). Yet the vulnerability inherent to storytelling is greater for practitioners who cannot rely on protections akin to tenure and academic freedom. For this reason, and to protect my and others’ positions, I obscure the roles and geographies of people and places in these vignettes to reduce the likelihood that these characters and institutions are as easily identified. I  employed narrative coding to explore “intrapersonal and interpersonal participant experiences and actions to understand the human condition through story, which is justified in and of itself as a legitimate way of knowing” (Saldaña, 2016, p. 154). To organize my analysis and subsequent writing, I embed the analysis within the narrative explanation to show how the discursive tools of oppression are deployed.

Navigating Three QT Resource Centers 87 In the remainder of this chapter, I present three vignettes that detail distinct experiences navigating the tools of oppression in THIs. I use the phrase “discursive tools of oppression” to describe the tangible practices and processes that stymie diversity, inclusion, and social justice strategies on campus. In the section titled “Revealing the Hidden Campus Climate,” I share my experience with institutional data collection and suggest that microinvalidations operate as a discursive tool of oppression by arbitrarily limiting who can be considered a knowledgeable insider or outsider about matters related to campus climate. In “Clear Student Demands and Vague Administrative Responses,” I  analyze the ways that institutional censorship is deployed as a discursive tool of oppression to limit social justice and systems change work on campus, and like microinvalidations, obscures the negative outcomes that institutional insiders and actors experience in doing this work. In “Kente or Rainbow? Monolithic Affinity Centers,” I show the ways that identity siloes that minimize the nuances of identity are deployed as discursive tools of oppression in ways that reify not only the reproduction of the THI but also monolithic framings of identity categories. Taken together, my analysis suggests that the discursive tools of oppression used to perpetuate traditionally heterogendered institutions constrain my status as an insider and outsider to the communities I serve and the priorities I center in serving those communities. Although the implications for this analysis may seem bleak, I argue that the ability to identify the discursive tools of oppression is necessary to dismantle the structural and organizational facets of oppression.

Revealing the Hidden Campus Climate Campus climate has been defined as “the cumulative attitudes, behaviors, and standards of employees and students concerning access for, inclusion of, and level of respect for individual and group needs, abilities, and potential” (Rankin, 2005, p. 17). Campus climate research has been used to benchmark systems, structures, processes, and interactions that campus community members experience. They often focus on the implementation of university policies, the availability of university services, and inclusive curricula and pedagogy (Rankin et al., 2019, p. 443). Campus climate has also been critiqued for its often “limited willingness to engage in systemic or institutional change” (Denton, 2020), instead focusing on individuals, places, and moments through singular frameworks of identity. As a thesis student, I thought that conducting a study of campus climate felt like a project better suited for someone who had more than a year to complete his thesis. For that reason, I worked to design a “smaller” study that would attempt to measure the impact of the QT resource center on a variety of success factors for QT students. Yet the anxiety that I felt about finally launching my first research project was overwhelming. For the first-time researcher, and certainly for me, this was steeped in two interlocking tensions—a perfectionist

88  Kristopher A. Oliveira mentality hindered by the untimely onset of imposter syndrome. I associated the success of this first project with my long-term ability to do future research. Regardless of my anxiety, I was excited to get the email receipt on a Wednesday afternoon that my “QT student survey” had gone out to all students at my mid-size regional comprehensive university. I obsessively logged into the survey platform every 30 minutes for the first 24  hours as more than 500 responses were recorded. I would need to get another 1,500 responses to feel confident in my response rate. By Friday afternoon survey responses had slowed to a trickle. That evening as I sat on the couch with my roommate, I checked to see if there had been any additional responses. To my surprise, I  had received an additional 800 responses—totaling 1,300 unique participants. In a matter of 20 minutes, my excitement about this uptick in participants transformed into a cold sweat of terror. Based on the geo-tagging of the participants and the pejorative terms listed in the individual open-ended responses, I learned that my survey had been sabotaged. In short, the institutional research office, whose staff had helped me to design the survey instrument, had failed to add the institutional firewall to the survey, and a recipient had shared the survey link in an alt-right conservative online forum. Responses were coming in from all over the world. At 8 a.m. the following morning, I contacted my graduate advisor in a state of panic. We made the tough decision to cease data collection and begin the painstaking work of identifying when the breach occurred to determine if any of the data was salvageable—it was (Oliveira, 2017). The following week I was asked by a senior student affairs officer how my research was going and how the QT students at the institution were doing. I reluctantly shared my recent survey experience and concluded by stating that we often talk about campus climate in surface level ways, and it’s difficult to incorporate instances like this [intentional sabotage of this survey] into campus climate. But I think this moment suggests that we still have much work to do to shift our climate and culture on campus. Certainly, I thought, if we are to take seriously the basic premise that campus climate includes measuring the “level of respect for individual and group needs, abilities, and potential” (Rankin, 2005, p. 17), then this suggests the ongoing need for education, programming, and policies about QT people on campus. Her response: “This has nothing to do with campus climate and culture, and please do not suggest to others that it does.” In the aftermath of what I later called my “thesis fiasco,” I was more perplexed by the exchange with this senior administrator than with the data sabotage that precipitated it. Her comments suggested that the experience of data sabotage for an explicitly QT-centered study had no connection to the campus climate. It certainly uplifted Denton’s (2020) observations about the limited (and sometimes absent) ways that campus climate has engaged institutional change, or at the very least what could be classified as institutional or systemic

Navigating Three QT Resource Centers 89 change. Thus, this intentional action (i.e., intentionally sharing the survey with an intended outcome) taken by a campus community member was framed as a distinct, rogue, lone instance, rather than one that also had the potential to reflect, or better understated, under-evaluated facets of the campus climate. The microinvalidations that the senior administrator deployed during our conversation served two social functions. First, it indicated that I could not (or had very little authority to) make claims about what constituted campus climate. Although I  would continue my research and professional role on campus—roles that sought to articulate and uplift or redress the systems, experiences, and outcomes of QT students on campus—the ways I characterized these phenomena could not be articulated as systemic issues. The second social function that this microinvalidation served was to assert power, by highlighting my social location on campus. In this case, by indicating that I was “incorrect” for identifying this moment as being connected to culture and climate, I was framed as an outsider to campus climate; yet through my role as an institutional actor, I was simultaneously framed as an insider to the community that I served and as a representative of the institution. As a result, my ability to practically and politically leverage my understanding of the campus climate was obscured by the boundaries that she discursively placed around my work and research. Preston and Hoffman (2015) claimed that a THIs limits the ability for students, faculty, and staff to imagine new ways of being that ‘queer’[our] understandings and enactments of gender, sexuality, desire, and behavior in ways that allow for more freedom, that create spaces to confront violence, and that empower individuals to enact agency. (pp. 82–83) I argue that the microinvalidation deployed in this scenario is a tool of oppression used to invalidate claims about problematic elements of the campus climate—thus leaving intact the inequitable discourse, practices, and policies germane to THIs, which fosters comparative concepts like diversity, equality, and inclusion rather than restorative and transformative concepts like equity or social justice.

Clear Student Demands and Vague Administrative Responses In the aftermath of a student-led counter-protest of street preachers, QT student organization officers published a list of demands in the campus newspaper. They asked for the following: mental health counselors who had meaningful experience supporting the needs of the QT community; for the university administration to hold faculty accountable for dead-naming and misgendering students in the classroom; for transparent housing policies and practices that

90  Kristopher A. Oliveira affirmed QT students; and for emergency funding for QT students, among other requests. Fortunately, the QT center staff had been working on many of these projects for many months. When the article was published, I  was contacted by an executive official with university communications. The executive, with the permission of my direct supervisor, had decided that I  should draft a response for the op-ed section of the student newspaper. I was simultaneously being “volun-told” to engage with the students’ manifesto in a way that could speak on behalf of the university, and to protect the university from providing a direct response from senior administrators with far more implied and material power than me. This moment suggests that I had been identified as an institutional actor, or insider, who could speak on behalf of the institutional commitment to improve the campus climate for QT people. Consequently, I drafted a 2,500-word response, where I largely identified the alignment between my politics with the students concerns and directly responded to each of the students demands. It went through a series of edits and revisions from the office of university communications and the editorial team at the campus newspaper. My original document contained my stated solidarity, positionality, assessment of hate preachers on campus, commitment to support QT student needs on campus, and response to each of the students’ demands. When I received the edited draft (now less than 1,000 words), my assessment of the hate preachers on campus and my response to the students’ list of demands had been redacted from my solo authored statement. A senior administrator for the university’s communication messaged me to share that it had to be edited down for style, word-count that is “normative for op-eds, and doesn’t negotiate student demands.” The communications team shared “my” edited statement with the student newspaper, to which the student editor-inchief asked the communications team, “Can Kristopher respond to the specific requests that the students put forward?” The needs that the students identified in their list of demands were in alignment with projects that staff members in the QT resource center were already researching or actively working to implement. And much of the decision to consider these projects was informed by institutional campus climate research, as well as a recent report published by the Jed Foundation (2021), in partnership with The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, re-identifying the ongoing need for dedicated mental health resources and counseling for QT students in secondary and postsecondary settings. Institutional actors are those individuals, or to use a narrative term “characters,” who take actions on behalf of or in alignment with the institution and are, in theory, positioned as insiders. Through this framework, it seems reasonable to frame QT resource professionals as institutional actors—as insiders. As an institutional- and community-insider, I worked to produce evidence to support requests for additional resources, and students often gifted us with relevant, meaningful, and heartfelt data in the stories that they shared about their many experiences. Through storytelling, they became producers or suppliers

Navigating Three QT Resource Centers 91 of knowledge. In my role as a QT resource professional, I relied on students as insiders of their individual (and sometimes community) experiences to make sense of the needs of the campus community. I learned about these needs in one-on-one interactions, town halls, referrals to the QT resource center, and email exchanges, among other mediums. Despite the broad professional staff awareness that I had been working to implement many of the demands that the students identified, the executive official deployed censorship to redact and mediate my voice in ways that failed to commit to meaningful changes to campus climate and culture. In this case, censorship operated as a discursive tool of oppression deployed to perpetuate the logics of THIs. In this case “[t]he missing language of activism and praxis within the discourse created by the institution limits the ability of students to imagine new potentials for identity and community” (Preston  & Hoffman, 2015, p. 82). While my original statement had engaged with their organizing and activist strategies to advance change, the statement that was published on my behalf was void of the logics of activism, praxis, and social movements. In the published statement, I did not appear to attend to the stated needs and concerns of students, rather the tone of the document was one of nebulous solidarity. In this instance, censorship operated as a discursive tool of oppression to perpetuate the logics of THIs that constrained my insider status and mediated my ability to disclose priorities for better supporting QT student needs at the institution. As the director of the QT center, I was structurally and discursively positioned as an insider with the capacity to promote the success and wellbeing of QT students on campus. And students had come to recognize me as having the insider-capacity to address their needs and promote their success across campus. Yet, my name, title, and censored-words were deployed to signal empty solidarity without naming practical interventions. Censorship, as a discursive tool of oppression, reconstituted and stymied my insider capacities as an institutional actor to instead allow the insidious conventions of THIs to flourish.

Kente or Rainbow? Monolithic Affinity Centers Laura, the graduate assistant for the Office of Black Excellence (OBE), walked into the QT center looking for graduating students who had planned to participate in the upcoming cultural graduation celebrations. The QT center was nestled in between the OBE, Veteran’s Affairs, and the Women’s Center. It was a vibrant room with a large abstract rainbow carpet and littered with pamphlets, forgotten lunches, and flyers for upcoming events. After entering the Center, Laura said to me, “My supervisor wants to know if you want the kente cloth stole or if you want the rainbow stole?” Laura was asking for my “preference” for an identity-based stole that I could wear with my regalia at commencement. I paused for a moment, thinking before asking her if I had to choose or if there was an option that incorporated both Back and Queer

92  Kristopher A. Oliveira identities. At this point, the Philadelphia and Progress Pride Flag were not yet on the scene. At the time, I identified as a queer person of color and I had been connected to the OBE and the QT center; surely there was a way to honor both experiences. There seemed to be a glimmer of hope in the graduation regalia catalog that Laura had brought with her. Near the center of the catalog, the company advertised their latest iteration of capitalist inclusion: You could purchase a hybrid stole with the more traditional kente cloth on one side and a rainbow and pink triangle on the other. Unsurprisingly, the “more comprehensive” option was marked-up $10, as compared to the “single-identity” stoles. I asked Laura if they could honor this request, and she said, “I’ll have to ask my supervisor.” When she returned two days later with the verdict, she looked quite uncomfortable. She said, “I’m sorry . . . the director said you’ll have to choose one or the other just like everyone else.” The hybrid stole that I had hoped to receive was symbolic of my experience on campus; it represented the time I split between QT center programming and events hosted by the OBE. This was not a stole on which the imagery and symbols of the different identities were blended and merged in an explosion of color and icons. No, it was as though a kente stole and rainbow stole had been cut in half and the different cloths were joined by a centrally-located hidden seam. They could individually appear on either side of the graduate’s chest; unblended, unchanged, separated, and yet “together.” This diluted symbol of the depth and breadth of identity perfectly characterized my time on campus and would go on to illustrate a central challenge that cultural and affinity centers navigate. It symbolized the ways that whiteness was prioritized in the QT center, and cisgender and heterosexual experiences were prioritized in the OBE. It became the material representation of always and already being an insider and outsider in either space or place. In this way the symbolic QT identity and the symbolic Black identity were left unchanged and monolithic. Here the decision to not allow for a hybrid material and the lack of broader programs and places which center the complexities of identity—including race, class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship— positioned me to rearticulate my identities and sense of self in reductive and derived terms. As a discursive tool of oppression, identity siloes worked to minimize the nuances and breadth of identities. Identity siloes not only perpetuated the logics of THIs by revealing the ways that QT centers and other cultural or affinity centers can unintentionally support, articulate, and promote narrow articulations of identity. In this instance, I  was forced to rearticulate myself, through symbolic materials as being Black or queer, rather than Black and queer. Many years have passed since I was directed to make this decision, and I have shared this story more times than I care to admit. My time as an undergraduate was riddled with material and ideological tensions associated with having to choose between Black-centered spaces and QT-centered spaces. I began to recognize the ways that THIs resist sitting in the messiness of identity. For

Navigating Three QT Resource Centers 93 me, this forced decision symbolized the ways in which identity siloes work to preserve and reproduce THIs. In framing THIs, Preston and Hoffman (2015) claimed that “the implications of a THI involve the rearticulation of [QT] individuals within a framework that continues to ‘other’ them and creates boundaries between categories that students themselves articulate but do not seem to be able to challenge or cross” (82). Preston and Hoffman (2015) were suggesting that the creation of QT-centered spaces and activities articulates and constitutes what is(n’t) QT. Yet this framework can be extended as an explanation for ways that campus community members with multiple historically and contemporarily marginalized identities are erased within THIs. By this I mean that the current neoliberal construction of THIs renders people and experiences with multiple marginalized identities as invisible. Because of these monolithic and reductive framings of identity, I had to work even harder to challenge notions of sexualized and gendered racism, and racialized notions of gender and sexuality. For me, it meant that the systems of oppression that are embedded into THIs are also manifest through the discursive and material outcomes of both the centers that I traversed. Said another way, it meant that I was forced to interact with racism in the QT center, and heteronormativity and cisnormativity in the Office of Black Excellence (OBE). In my present work, I attempt to destabilize this discursive tool of oppression and the material outcomes it can produce by actively centering the most marginalized in programming and advocacy. In doing so, I  often question: “How do I  practically center the experiences of students (and often faculty and staff) who identify with multiple marginalized identities through material spaces?” In other words, what would it look like to de-center whiteness in QT resource centers and de-center cisheteronormativity in spaces like the OBE? It makes me wonder whether realizing these types of centers actually creates spaces and places where students, faculty, staff, and administrators with multiple marginalized identities can find or be in community, or are “others” always and already left out through the process of naming (Abelove et  al., 1993, p. 308; Butler, 2011)? And, in alignment with Preston and Hoffman (2015), how does creating these spaces influence access to non-QT-affirming segments of campus? While these are empirical questions, it seems that failing to create more inclusive affinity and cultural centers has meant that students and other community members who frequent these spaces have had to compartmentalize their identities. As Duran and Jones (2020) have noted, when we fail to center “other minoritized groups, faculty and student affairs professionals furthered the oppression that queer Students of Color experienced” (p. 288). As a Black gay man leading a QT resource center, the insider and outsider paradox mutates into a personal, political, and professional internal conflict. How do QT resource professionals of color who are leading or working in QT resource centers prioritize the needs of non-normative identities? How do we resist the urge to identify, and therefore compartmentalize, “most salient” identities that produce spaces and places of meaning? How do we create spaces in which students with multiple marginalized identities can show up as

94  Kristopher A. Oliveira their full selves? And, if this is our mission, how do we empower or lend power to QT resource professionals (as insiders and outsiders) and leaders of other identity centers to realize these goals? In other words, we must reimagine QT resource centers and cultural centers in ways that allow and even promote the messiness and non-normative experiences of identity. To do that, we must learn to recognize and resist the discursive tools of oppression that aid in the reproduction of THIs.

Resisting Traditionally Heterogendered Institutions The value that I have found in beginning to identify and resist these discursive tools or strategies of oppression is that it rejects the logic that often undergirds decision-making. Throughout history, bad science and bad logic have been deployed to subjugate races and nations (Snorton, 2017). And, in my experience as a QT resource center director, some colleges and universities employ bad science and bad logic to make decisions that often (un)intentionally denies the humanity of QT students, faculty, staff, and administrators. For example, colleges and universities often ask about gender in a binary way “because” the federally mandated Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) has historically asked about sex in a binary way. In this example, the outdated binary logic of IPEDS conflates sex and gender, and has led senior administrators to argue that the data binary exists because the federal government designed the system in this way. However, this logic has been mistaken as a bounded rule, rather than as a baseline threshold. Identifying and resisting the discursive tools of oppression seem to be connected to my role as an insider and outsider in various communities. This is because the consciousness raising involved in recognizing the discursive tools of oppression calls my person and politic into question and asks me to consider, “what are you willing to risk and what’s at stake in dismantling this problematic?” For me, the answers are sometimes complicated, personal, political, necessary, joyful, and heartbreaking. The discursive tools of oppression that I identified in this chapter (microinvalidations, censorship, and identity siloes) undoubtedly operate among other discursive, structural, and organizational strategies (Ray, 2019) of oppression that work to reproduce THIs. In my experience, making sense of the discursive tools of oppression has helped me to reconfigure strategies to dismantle the structural and organizational facets of oppression. I have found that identifying, resisting, dismantling, reconfiguring, creating, imagining, and dreaming are complex and messy processes. That very messiness—the threshold that resists discursive tools of oppression and binary framings of insider and outsider—offers me a vast and malleable opportunity to challenge normative frameworks for understanding my and “our” experiences, struggles, successes, and queerness on campus and in our lives. Perhaps this is why Bazarsky et  al. (2020) identified the ability to “navigate complex campus structures and contexts with political acumen to affect institutional change for [QT]

Navigating Three QT Resource Centers 95 communities” as a core competency for QT directors and professionals. It was—and continues to be—a challenge to navigate traditionally heterogendered institutions, and I often miss the mark, but social justice is an ongoing process, and it’s worth it to create a queer(er) and more melanated higher education.

Note 1. I believe that the right to naming conventions for identity categories belongs to individuals and is shared, through meaning-making and identification, by collectives. In this chapter, I deploy queer and trans (QT) in the general discussion, because (1) the phrase “queer and trans” discursively produces a comprehensive identity category to include all (or most) gender and sexual minority people and (2) because deploying terms like “spectrum” still imagines fixed positions or locations of identity, even when that spectrum is fluid and shifting. Further I believe that although QT operates as a broad umbrella term; it discursively centers the experiences of trans (and non-binary) people by explicitly centering the term “trans” through the naming convention.

References Abelove, H., Barale, M. L. A.,  & Halperin, D. M. (1993). The lesbian and gay studies reader. Routledge. http://ezproxy.lib.usf.edu/login?url=www.taylorfran cis.com/books/9781136751189 Bazarsky, D., Edwards, B. J., Jensen, L., Subbaraman, S., Sugiyama, B., & Travers, S. (2020). Standards of practice: Core competencies for LGBTQIA+ directors and professionals in higher education. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000282 Broadhurst, C., Martin, G., Hoffshire, M., & Takewell, W. (2018). “Bumpin’ up against people and their beliefs”: Narratives of student affairs administrators creating change for LGBTQ students in the South. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 11(4), 385–401. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000036 Butler, J. (2011). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge. Denton, J. M. (2020). Queering college student retention. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 21(4), 544–566. https://doi. org/10.1177/1521025119895515 Duran, A., & Jones, S. R. (2020). Complicating identity exploration: An intersectional grounded theory centering queer students of color at historically white institutions. Journal of College Student Development, 61(3), 281–298. https:// doi.org/10.1353/csd.2020.0028 Ellis, C., Adams, T. E., & Bochner, A. P. (2011). Autoethnography: An overview. Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung, 36(4), 273–290. www. jstor.org/stable/23032294 Garvey, J. C. (2019). Queer quantitative query: Sexual orientation in higher education surveys. Journal of College Student Development, 60(4), 495–501. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/730666 Garvey, J. C. (2020). Critical imperatives for studying queer and trans undergraduate student retention. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 21(4), 431–454. https://doi.org/10.1177/1521025119895511

96  Kristopher A. Oliveira The Jed Foundation. (2021). Proud & thriving report and framework: Support the mental health of LGBTQ+ high school, college, and university students. https:// jedfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Proud-Thriving-Report-andFramework-10.2021.pdf Mollet, A., Weaver, K. E., Holmes, J. M., Linley, J. L., Hurley, E., & Renn, K. A. (2020). Queer in residence: Exploring the on-campus housing experiences of queer college students. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 58(1), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/19496591.2020.1717962 Oliveira, K. A. (2017). The effect of LGBT resource centers on student success & engagement. Culminating Projects in Higher Education Administration, 17. https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/hied_etds/17 Preston, M. J.,  & Hoffman, G. D. (2015). Traditionally heterogendered institutions: Discourses surrounding LGBTQ college students. Journal of LGBT Youth, 12(1), 64–86. https://doi.org/10.1080/19361653.2014.935550 Rankin, S. R. (2005). Campus climates for sexual minorities. New Directions for Student Services, 2005(111), 17–23. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ ss.170 Rankin, S. R., Garvey, J. C., & Duran, A. (2019). A retrospective of LGBT issues on US college campuses: 1990–2020. International Sociology, 34(4), 435–454. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0268580919851429 Ray, V. (2019). A theory of racialized organizations. American Sociological Review, 84(1), 26–53. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122418822335 Renn, K. A. (2020). Success for LGBT college and university students. In G. Crimmins (Ed.), Strategies for supporting inclusion and diversity in the academy: Higher education, aspiration, and inequality (pp. 183–200). Springer International Publishing. Saldaña, J. (2016). The coding manual for qualitative researchers (J. Seaman, Ed., 3rd ed.). SAGE Publications. Snorton, C. R. (2017). Black on both sides: A racial history of trans identity. University of Minnesota Press. Solórzano, D. G.,  & Yosso, T. J. (2002). Critical race methodology: Counterstorytelling as an analytical framework for education research. Qualitative Inquiry, 8(1), 23–44. https://doi.org/10.1177/107780040200800103 Stuart, F. (2017). Reflexivity: Introspection, positionality, and the self as research instrument—toward a model of abductive reflexivity. In C. Jerolmack & S. Khan (Eds.), Approaches to ethnography: Analysis and representation in participant observation (pp. 211–237). Oxford University Press. Timmermans, S., & Tavory, I. (2012). Theory construction in qualitative research: From grounded theory to abductive analysis. Sociological Theory, 30(3), 167–186. https://doi.org/10.1177/0735275112457914 Vaccaro, A. (2012). Campus microclimates for LGBT faculty, staff, and students: An exploration of the intersections of social identity and campus roles. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 49(4), 429–446. https://doi.org/ 10.1515/jsarp-2012-6473

9 Insiders, Outsiders, and Dangerous Waters Homonormative Whiteness in LGBTQ+ Resource Centers Roman Christiaens and Chelsea E. Noble We came to the Spectrum Center hoping to find space to be ourselves. What we did not realize at first was that this process of self-discovery was not open to everyone who came to and moved through the space. It was a privilege.

LGBTQ+ RCs1 have historically existed as sites for the growth, development, and self-actualization of students through the lens of gender and sexuality. While these spaces were originally oriented toward the inclusion of lesbian and gay students, their missions and functions have expanded and evolved to support students across the spectra of gender, sex, and sexuality (Jeffries  & Boyd, 2020). Since the opening of the first LGBTQ+ RC at the University of Michigan in 1971, then known as the Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office, LGBTQ+ RCs have become commonplace in higher education (Marine, 2011). Within these spaces, professional staff play a key role in supporting and advocating for students as they navigate institutional processes and experience campus culture (Weiser et al., 2019). While higher education scholarship around LGBTQ+ professionals in LGBTQ+ RCs is limited, evidence points to the ways that staff and faculty who are engaged in advocacy for LGBTQ+ students are often drawn to this work due to their shared subjectivities with the population they seek to serve (Broadhurst et al., 2018). Staff in LGBTQ+ RCs are primarily responsible for furthering four primary functions: support, needs assessment and evaluation, education, and advocacy (Marine, 2011). At the same time, LGBTQ+ RC staff navigate the tensions between their roles as institutional actors (insiders) and holding queer and trans identities and experiences that render them as outsiders to the institution. While supporting LGBTQ+ students, professional staff in these spaces must also navigate heterosexism and cissexism embedded within campus climates that impact their agency, commitment, and effectiveness in the work (Jeffries & Boyd, 2020). This navigation of campus can be complicated by the multiple identities LGBTQ+ RC professionals hold and how these identities either reify or unsettle institutional norms. This narrative explores the insider/outsider dynamics for LGBTQ+ educators through the authors’ positionings as two white queer and trans DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-9

98  Roman Christiaens and Chelsea E. Noble individuals with professional experience in the same LGBTQ+ RC, the Spectrum Center at the University of Michigan, at different times. In this positioning, our queer and trans identities are rendered as other or outsider within the institution, while our white identities align us within the dominant representation of the institution. To contextualize our framework for our insider/ outsider experiences, we begin with a discussion of homonormative whiteness in LGBTQ+ RCs.

Homonormative Whiteness in LGBTQ+ RCs LGBTQ+ RCs in the United States have a unique relationship with whiteness. While these spaces were created to disrupt heteronormative frameworks in college environments, these organizations often perpetuate singular identity (sexuality, and in some cases, gender; Marine & Nicolazzo, 2014) frameworks that differentially impact queer and trans students of color (QTSOC). QTSOC often experience racist microaggressions and discrimination in these spaces and are left to figure out how to make sense of their identities outside of and/or in addition to their engagement with LGBTQ+ RCs (Duran, 2019). Through their work on LGBTQ+ RCs, Self (2015) explored the ways that these spaces are shown to perpetuate homonormative whiteness in their structure, processes, and practices. Self (2015) defined homonormative whiteness as “a production of gayness which constitutes the dominant ‘gay’ body as white, middle-class, and cisgender, male complete with static binary conceptions of whiteness and masculinity” (p. 11). LGBTQ+ RC staff carry a responsibility to analyze, interrogate, and disrupt this homonormative whiteness framework. As Self and Hudson (2015) noted, LGBTQ+ RCs “are all subject to the calculating discursive practices of homonormative whiteness, and none are free from accountability to its dominant and productive power” (p. 24). In thinking through how homonormative whiteness showed up in our experiences as LGBTQ+ RC staff, we thought of the tensions of our outsider/insider statuses that arose during our time in the LGBTQ+ RC. We seek to weave our separate and overlapping narratives around and through those tensions. It is important to note that our narratives occurred in the same LGBTQ+ RC but at different sociopolitical times. While we have a shared identity of being white, our queer and trans subjectivities diverge as well as our professional paths through and after our time at the Spectrum Center. Our exploration of the insider/outsider dynamics of being white, queer, and trans LGBTQ+ RC scholar-practitioners committed to racial justice is not to offer answers or hold ourselves up as model white allies or accomplices. Instead, we seek to share our reflections, attempts, and commitment to the work of liberation in the hopes that fellow white, queer, and trans professionals in LGBTQ+ RCs engage in their own self-reflexivity processes on how they perpetuate and disrupt homonormative whiteness.

Insiders, Outsiders, and Dangerous Waters 99 To help ground our narrative, we refer to the imagery of dangerous waters explored in Self and Hudson’s (2015) critical inquiry of the role of LGBTQ+ RCs. In this metaphor, drawn from the imagery mapping of a LGBTQ+ RC director interview in the project, the LGBTQ+ RC represents an island surrounded by dangerous waters. There is an ill-constructed bridge that leads to the center, and sharks exist in the waters seeking to unsettle the stability and intactness of the space. While the Spectrum Center itself is initially portrayed as a sanctuary, the dangerous waters seem to threaten the organization from outside and also from within. In our narratives, we describe the bridge that led us to the Spectrum Center, our initial experiences of the space as a sanctuary and how this experience changed over time, and our interactions with the dangerous waters due to external sociopolitical contexts and internal student and staff advocacy. We conclude our narratives with a reflection on what we hope white, queer, and trans professionals in LGBTQ+ RCs consider and explore in their praxis.

Bridge to the Center Chelsea: When I got the job offer to join the University of Michigan Spectrum Center’s team as a graduate assistant, I  was elated. My partner and I  were already leaning toward Michigan to begin our graduate training, and that offer was the icing on the cake. After college, I worked for three years in admission for a small liberal arts college. I  spent those years traveling, talking to students and families, and advocating for “diverse” populations. Because of my interests and commitment to diversity, I  was in charge of multicultural recruitment, de facto LGBTQ+ visibility in the office, transfer students, undocumented and DACAmented students, and veteran students—all as a bright-eyed white girl in her first job out of college. By virtue of identity and knowledge, I  knew I  was under-equipped and poorly situated for this role, but I strove to do the best work I could from my position. From that context, joining the Spectrum Center felt like a dream. I would be able to live more fully as an out queer person and would be supported as I continued my learning about power, privilege, and oppression in an office devoted to social justice work. Never mind that I did not, at the time, have a working definition of social justice. Roman: I often say that I was a reluctant LGBTQ+ RC professional. While LGBTQ+ advocacy, education, and community building have always been an intrinsic part of my professional trajectory, I approached the work of LGBTQ+ RCs with cautiousness and uncertainty. I  often questioned how white student affairs professionals, including myself, should be positioned to support movements of equity and social justice on-campus. How does our presence in spaces and roles that are oriented toward marginalized student support cause more harm than good?

100  Roman Christiaens and Chelsea E. Noble I spent the earlier part of my student affairs career outside of LGBTQ+ RC spaces. My first job directly after graduate school was a student activities position in a small, rural, liberal arts institution. My interest in the position came from the long-held belief that student affairs professionals should be furthering equity and justice in all sectors of the field. Throughout my two years in the role, this belief was consistently challenged. Why did I feel so very unfulfilled in that role? Why did I spend more time in the new multicultural center than in student activities? Why did I exhaust my energy on projects and initiatives outside of my outlined responsibilities? The apex of this internal and professional conflict had everything to do with gender. Toward the second year in my job, I was beginning to come into my own transness and explore what it meant for me personally and professionally. Through this process, I began to desire more of my gender and expect more of my institution. Toward the end of my second year, I knew I had reached the limits of what the student activities role could provide me. I started a national job search, and I focused my search on the roles that spoke directly to my queer and trans identities. One of the roles was the assistant director for Learning and Development at the Spectrum Center. During my interview, I  remember meeting with the director, questioning what this job meant for my gender. The sincerity and connection with the director in that moment was the beginning of a trans* kinship network (Nicolazzo, 2016) that was instrumental to my selfhood and professional process. My outsider status as a queer and trans professional was both the impetus and the entry point into this new role.

Center as (Tenuous) Sanctuary Chelsea: I arrived in the Spectrum Center relieved to not be the token queer person on staff, as I had been in my previous role in admissions. However, in my enthusiasm and coming from the normative world of college admission, I came across as a nice white lady (yes, in the pejorative sense). I kept running into tensions between how I thought I was supposed to be a “professional” and what the space and my colleagues asked of me. For example, I insisted on wearing business casual clothing from my previous job for a couple months, rather than following the more relaxed clothing choices my colleagues made to be more approachable to students and to present in their most authentic ways. I  quickly learned “professional” standards are often manifestations of white supremacy and tools of oppression. My time in the Spectrum Center, especially those early months, was as much about my learning and unlearning as they were about me being able to contribute to the organization. Under the guidance of the professional staff team, I grappled with how to challenge oppressive structures, such as dress codes and gendered facilities, while also needing to conform to institutional policies and priorities so the Spectrum Center could continue to exist to do its work.

Insiders, Outsiders, and Dangerous Waters 101 I turned to working at the Spectrum Center to finally be an insider. As someone who faced rejection from my family and religious community when I came out, I sought a place that would accept and support me as I worked through my own identity struggles. I needed the Spectrum Center’s love and support as much as or more than they needed my labor. It was a space of healing, acceptance, and growth for me. From early days, I  remember Spectrum Center staff talking about race. I would like to say the white folks at least participated in these conversations as often as BIPOC staff, but that seems like wishful thinking. One of my white colleagues, however, mentioned her practice of reflecting on her day— everyday—to identify when she had done racist things and to figure out how to address the harm she had caused. Her commitment to ongoing self-work for racial justice inspired me to adopt a similar reflective practice, centered on how I messed up, what I could do to make amends for the harm I caused, and how I will change my thoughts and behaviors in the future. Certainly, this is an individual practice. And, I believe that we are all responsible for engaging in our own work while also seeking to address systemic racism and other forms of oppression. Roman: I was drawn to the assistant director role because it balanced my passion for supporting students directly and educating campus constituents around supporting LGBTQ+ populations and community. At the time of my joining the Spectrum Center, the majority of staff professionals were trans and nonbinary, and this eased my movement into the work of the LGBTQ+ RC. The Spectrum Center represented the island sanctuary described by Self and Hudson (2015), a space where I felt “enclosed, internally safe, and [a] comfortable place to be” (p. 230). Needing to be in a space of support for my gender overshadowed any initial reckoning with how my white identity contributed to a culture of whiteness within the Spectrum Center. I began to unintentionally separate these two identities in my professional work, a bifurcation that was the extension of my white privilege. This bifurcation was amplified through the ways I was quickly marked as a gender expert on campus. Despite our office’s demographics, the Division of Student Life was dramatically different, and colleagues and the offices I consulted with often tokenized me for my expertise. This tokenization included a level of laboriousness in both informal and formal spaces where I continued to face misgendering and social alienation from my supposed allied colleagues (Malatino, 2020). As an educator, I  would often center my own trans(ed) story for the purpose of educating individuals and spaces. I made intentional discursive moves to make my story digestible. My approach to LGBTQ+ education often included describing and categorizing sex and gender in specific ways, which failed to expand gender as a raced settler colonial project (Lange, 2019). I was often unaware of how my own participation in this work perpetuated an intrinsic overlapping of whiteness and transness. In addition to my education work, I  was tasked with student support services that primarily focused on mentorship, affinity spaces, and first-year

102  Roman Christiaens and Chelsea E. Noble student programs. With support services, I  supervised both undergraduate and graduate students and utilized a holistic and personable approach to supervision. I built strong relationships with these students and was invited into conversations with QTSOC around their racialized experiences in the Spectrum Center, exposing the ways in which the space perpetuated norms of homonormative whiteness. These norms included lack of responsiveness to racist events on and off campus, minimal representation of queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) staff, programming focus about QTPOC identities rather than for and with QTPOC identities, and generating a culture of minimal accountability for mistakes. My response to these students often came from a space of wanting to be perceived as enlightened (Foste, 2020). The enlightenment narrative is a particular discursive strategy concerned with presenting oneself as a racially conscious and progressive white leader. While Foste’s (2020) conception of this narrative was rooted in the experiences of student staff, it’s directly applicable to my own development. I was overly focused on being seen by my students as one of the “good white people.” I engaged this narrative by confining my exploration of my gender within the Spectrum Center and engaging with my whiteness in spaces and groups outside of the organization. My involvement in whiteness was purely external—workshops, reading groups, and retreats— and I fell short of integrating the work and my own learning to the Spectrum Center. The exhaustion I  experienced in my gender work and the counterstories that QTSOC student staff shared with me about their experiences began to dilute the notion of the Spectrum Center as a sanctuary. This unsettling of the organization toward a marginally safe space (Self & Hudson, 2015) was informed by external pressures, specifically the need for units and departments to continually request our labor for “image management” (Ahmed, 2012, p. 117), as well as internal rumblings from within the Spectrum Center. I started to realize how the Spectrum Center was a marginally safe space for some of us, but not for all of us. This understanding of the organization’s climate set the stage for how the Spectrum Center contended with the dangerous waters of the multiple pandemics in 2020.

Dangerous Waters Roman: When the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, at the hands of three police officers in Minneapolis, MN, reignited a worldwide movement for racial justice, America began to contend with its current racial reckoning and “long overdue awakening to systemic racism” (Worland, 2020, p. 1). This racial reckoning with America’s historic and current systemic racism also took place within higher education institutions. Student activists were at the forefront of the movement, calling for colleges to show up for racial justice. The Spectrum Center initially did not respond to these calls on a national or local level. A  second-year social work student who had been working at

Insiders, Outsiders, and Dangerous Waters 103 the organization during my third year sent an email to all of our staff naming our silence. In their own words: “I strongly believe that the Spectrum Center needs to evaluate our silence and what that means to the students of color we serve.” The enlightenment narrative that I had held onto so tightly crumbled around me, and I distinctly remember feeling an acute sense of resentment. Did this student not know the work I had engaged in and my own commitment to racial justice within and outside the university? This internalized response called into question how I  had spent my time in the Spectrum Center focused on my own gender liberation at the cost of investigating the tension of my whiteness as a LGBTQ+ RC professional. Instead of living into this tension, I had attempted to neatly categorize these two aspects of my identity in a professional sense and ignored the ways my identity contributed to a culture of whiteness within the organization. I could easily wax on about white supremacy culture in a staff workshop, but I was failing to apply it to my own work and role in the Spectrum Center. I  had insulated myself from the dangerous waters without realizing that they had already infiltrated the space; the problem was not out there, it was within our own machinations. The student’s call in to the Spectrum Center staff was a culmination of all the rumblings I  had been exposed to as a supervisor and colleague. Navigating the institution as an outsider can often lead us as LGBTQ+ RC professionals to insulate ourselves from institutional threats to our legibility and validity as queer and trans people in higher education. However, for white LGBTQ+ RC professionals, this insulation allows us to avoid confronting the privilege and power we hold as insiders. For myself, the insulation was coconstructed by notions of perfectionism, preoccupation with racial innocence, and self-centeredness around my gender journey. The student’s call in, or rather act of love, propelled me to begin shedding this insulation and wading into the dangerous waters. Over the next few months, I worked with professional staff and student staff to convene a working group focused on anti-racism and decentering whiteness. This group was initially created for collective education with staff and students, as we began to identify steps for the organization. These steps included an intra-organizational audit of our practices and processes through surveys and focus groups, an assessment of QTPOC services and programs from similar institutions, and immediate actions for our organization to undertake to disrupt homonormative whiteness. Some of those actions included responsive and transparent communication to students in relation to sociopolitical events, inviting staff into conversation on anti-racism from onboarding and throughout monthly meetings, funding QTSOC programs, and developing intentional relationships with students of color-led organizations. Throughout my last year in the Spectrum Center, I often stumbled through this work and felt challenged by the ways I was tasked to lead out the working group. The surveys and focus groups were emotionally resonant and helped to reveal the false sense of sanctuary that the students felt in the space. I realized

104  Roman Christiaens and Chelsea E. Noble that the relationships I invested with student staff could not be the only solution, and I made steps away from my role with education in order to reevaluate my training approach. Overall, I was able to embrace the risks and costs of embarking into dangerous waters, to better understand my gender through the lens of collective liberation, and learn to navigate my insider/outsider statuses for the advocacy of students and building a more racially just LGBTQ+ RC. The work certainly did not stop when I  eventually left the Spectrum Center at the end of the year, as challenging homonormative whiteness in LGBTQ+ RCs is an ongoing process. I continue to explore what this means for my current work as a doctoral student in higher education, particularly as I am drawn again to exploring my gender through the lens of research and scholarship. Chelsea: As I write this, I struggle to remember moments when I “got it right,” when I  acted in alignment with my anti-racist commitments in the Spectrum Center. Instead, I remember the particularly egregious times that I messed it up, when I caused harm with little more recourse than to do better the next time I was given the opportunity. In these moments, I brought the dangerous waters with me onto the island and demonstrated the threats to liberation that exist outside and inside of RCs. For example, a colleague invited me to give a brief presentation on the Spectrum Center’s work to a cohort of summer bridge program students. In describing an upcoming welcome event, I  relayed a memory of dancing to Beyonce at the previous year’s event. A student responded, “yeah, of course they did.” While I described a real event, I came across as a try-hard who, in an attempt to connect, microaggressed a group of students of color. I should have apologized in that moment, but I didn’t. Instead, I caused harm to the students and cast doubt on whether the Spectrum Center could be a place for them. After the presentation, there was no way to address the harm I caused with those in the room. Instead, I have learned from this (and plenty of other mistakes) and continue to commit myself to learning and acting in anti-racist ways. I came to the Spectrum Center as a graduate student, as a trainee. What could I offer them in the way of racial justice work? I was still so early in my own learning about race and unpacking my own racial identity, another privilege of my white identity. And what could or should they have offered me? I was lucky—both of my supervisors in the organization were people of color, as were other friends on professional and student staff, so we definitely talked about race interpersonally and in our work together. But luck shouldn’t have anything to do with it. Racial justice should be tightly woven into the fabric of LGBTQ+ RCs for not only the students they serve but also the staff who enact that work. This attention to racial justice is especially important for white people who, holding the insider or dominant racial identity, are less likely to have thought about their own racial identity or have particular facility when striving to engage in anti-racism work.

Insiders, Outsiders, and Dangerous Waters 105 Certainly, there were things I  could—and did—do. I  read, listened, and worked to move beyond guilt and evasiveness to engage in anti-racist actions. When I chaired a search committee for a center staff position, I worked with HR and the search committee team to implement bias-reducing practices. When serving as the staff advisor to a student programming board, we talked about who was missing or excluded from our programming and how we would change our approach to be more inclusive. As a “nice white lady” who often is not read as queer, I used my positionality (and the often oppressively applied power of white womanhood) to amplify my colleagues of color and to say things that other folks could not say. I haven’t quite worked through what was possible for me to do as a graduate student staff member in the Spectrum Center or what I was (in)capable of doing—despite articulated commitments to racial justice—to actually advance anti-racist work and policies. LGBTQ+ RCs serve folks—students, staff, and faculty—at all stages of awareness, identity development, and liberatory commitments. I don’t quite know how they could better serve people with such varied understandings, and yet that is not an excuse to not do anything. LGBTQ+ RCs are one piece of the puzzle to address white supremacy and its progeny, and they need other sites, especially predominately white sites, to be about this work, too. I continue to interrogate race in the LGBTQ+ community and the role of LGBTQ+ RCs in my scholarly practice.

Conclusion The identities that we hold as white, queer, and trans practitioners converged and diverged at various points during our time at the Spectrum Center. While our insider status of being white professionals was shared, our outsider subjectivities as queer and trans people as well as the different positional power we held in our roles meant that our exploration of insider/outsider dynamics was drastically different. The imagery of an island amidst dangerous waters helped anchor our coming into the Spectrum Center, our initial experiences of the space, and the unsettling of the organization’s role and climate as we questioned the functions of homonormative whiteness and our complicity within it. While engaging in this personal reflection, we have come to realize how our departure from the Spectrum Center was instrumental in our self-reflexive processes. What does it mean as insiders/outsiders to leave the organization in order to truly contemplate our role in maintaining homonormative whiteness? Is this a function of how we entered into the space with the desire for a queer and trans professional space? Because the Spectrum Center played a role in our own need for sanctuary, we often tended to our outsider status, and this is a call-in for our fellow white queer and trans professionals in LGBTQ+ RCs. Are there other spaces within and outside of the academy that can function to cultivate and support our (outsider) identities? What would our work in

106  Roman Christiaens and Chelsea E. Noble LGBTQ+ RCs look like if we started from the perspective of our insider status and the ways we hold dominance and positional power? As research continues to demonstrate, LGBTQ+ RCs are not without critique and often fail to meet the needs of the students we seek to serve, particularly QTSOC (Marine & Nicolazzo, 2014; Self, 2015; Self & Hudson, 2015; Duran, 2019). Because LGBTQ+ RCs are subject to the practice of homonormative whiteness, it is our responsibility to hold these spaces accountable to the ways they perpetuate dominant norms and ideologies. Taking up this charge of accountability, it is important for us as white queer and trans higher education professionals engaged in the identity-based work of LGBTQ+ RCs to acknowledge the role we play in personal and collective liberation on college campuses. This chapter is focused specifically on queer and trans professionals in LGBTQ+ RCs, and, yet, accountability and investments in racial justice work are also directly relevant to white LGBTQ+ individuals in student affairs and the academy more generally. We encourage white LGBTQ+ individuals to engage in self-reflexive practices and investigate how whiteness shows up in their units and organizations. Navigating this charge through our insider/ outsider statuses means tending to the tensions apparent at this cross section and not allowing for our outsider status(es) to be used as an excuse to downplay our whiteness. The hope is that our personal narratives provide insight into the tensions that gender and sexuality work brings up for white professionals. We acknowledge the missteps we have made and situate the necessity of taking risks in service of our students and our communities. Wading into dangerous waters is not an innocuous act and does not protect us from emotional affect and impact. Yet our commitment to racial justice necessitates that we continue testing the water and investing in the island so LGBTQ+ RCs and spaces across campus can be the sanctuary for all students that they have been for us.

Note 1. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and similar identities (LGBTQ+) resource centers (RCs) will be an abbreviation utilized throughout this chapter. LGBTQ+ RCs is a common acronym used for these spaces, and we acknowledge that it does not reflect all minoritized genders and sexualities.

References Ahmed, S. (2012). On being included: Racism and diversity in institutional life. Duke University Press. Broadhurst, C., Martin, G., Hoffshire, M., & Takewell, W. (2018). “Bumpin’ up against people and their beliefs”: Narratives of student affairs administrators creating change for LGBTQ students in the South. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 11(4), 385–401. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000036

Insiders, Outsiders, and Dangerous Waters 107 Duran, A. (2019). Queer and of color: A  systematic literature review on queer students of color in higher education scholarship. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education 12(4), 390–400. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe00000084 Foste, Z. (2020). The enlightenment narrative: White student leaders’ preoccupation with racial innocence. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 13(1), 33–43. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000113 Lange, A. C. (2019). Envisioning new praxis for gender and sexuality resource centers: Place-consciousness in post-secondary education. Thresholds in Education, 42(1), 59-73. https://academyedstudies.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/th42_ 1langefinal.pdf Jeffries, M.,  & Boyd, A. S. (2020). Gender centers in higher education: Spaces for cultivating critical hope. In N. S. Niemi & M. B. Weaver-Hightower (Eds.), The Wiley handbook of gender equity in higher education (pp.  359–374). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Malatino, H. (2020). Trans care. University of Minnesota Press. Marine, S. B. (2011). Stonewall’s legacy: Bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender students in higher education. Jossey-Bass. Marine, S. B., & Nicolazzo, Z. (2014). Names that matter: Exploring the tensions of campus LGBTQ centers and trans* inclusion. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 7(4), 265–281. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037990 Nicolazzo, Z. (2016). “Just go in looking good”: The resilience, resistance, and kinship-building of trans* college students. Journal of College Student Development, 57(5), 538-556. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2016.0057. Self, J. M. (2015). Queering center: A  critical discourse analysis of university LGBT center theoretical foundations. Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, 4(2), 1–39. https://doi.org/10.31274/jctp-180810-48 Self, J. M., & Hudson, K. D. (2015). Dangerous waters and brave space: A critical feminist inquiry of campus LGBTQ centers. Journal of Gay  & Lesbian Social Services, 27(2), 216–245. https://doi.org/10.1080/10538720.2015.1021985 Weiser, S. G., Wagner, T. L., & Lawter, M. (2019). Double jeopardy: (Trans)versing higher ed as queer trans advocates. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 15(3), 323–339. https://doi.org/10.1080/15505170.2018.1542359 Worland, J. (2020, June 11). America’s long overdue awakening to systemic racism. Time. https://time.com/5851855/systemic-racism-america/

10 Creating Insiders as the Only One Out Emily Fairchild

I arrived at New College of Florida directly out of graduate school in 2008. Trained in sociology and gender studies at a large state university, I  was excited to begin the tenure track at this funky liberal arts college, where students are known to not wear shoes and faculty write narrative evaluations rather than assign letter grades. There would be great freedom in what I  would teach, students were highly engaged, and the faculty had impressive pedigrees. It seemed this job provided the pedagogical approach and scholarly excellence I’d hoped to find. Given what I could discern about the culture, I expected it would also offer like-minded peers. That became true in some ways, but what I didn’t realize was that my primary connections would be with students and that, much of the time, I would feel like an outsider among faculty colleagues. This narrative describes my affiliations with students and faculty as the result of interactional processes. Being a professor is an externally identifiable status that could be conceptualized as definitional to who I am in relation to others at the college (a la Merton, 1972). I  am, in that sense, an insider with other faculty, and an outsider to students. However, I  take the perspective that relations between insiders and outsiders are not determined. What it means to be a professor—in my case, the only lesbian professor among many queer students—is negotiated and renegotiated in interaction (Blumer, 1969; Naples, 2003). The fluidity this allows is evident in how I seek interactions with students that provide a queer insider group, something that is unavailable within my structural location as faculty, as well as how I leverage my faculty status to make change for the queer community. The relationships with students and colleagues that I’ll describe demonstrate that “outsiderness and insiderness are not fixed or static positions. Rather, they are ever-shifting and permeable social locations” (Naples, 2003, p. 49). The majority of this chapter consists of examples of how I become, and move among being, insider and outsider to students and faculty. I then reflect on how my position provides a vantage point unavailable to my colleagues that is informative regarding potential institutional change toward greater inclusiveness. First, I introduce the paradox of my social location.

DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-10

Creating Insiders as the Only One Out 109

A Queer College? New College is seen by many as queer, in the sense that it is odd or not normal. It is only 60  years old, founded as a private college amid mid-century experimentalism that emphasized individualized curricula and “real mastery” over credit hours and grades. Now incorporated into the public university system, it is designated as Florida’s honors college and maintains a reputation for academic excellence via unconventional methods. “Hippy” is a frequent descriptor that, though imperfect, gets at the countercultural vibe of the College. Students embrace an alternative group identity that is critical of social systems and concerned with social justice. Anti-capitalist attitudes abound, mores promote sexual freedom, and many are vegetarian or vegan. There are no intercollegiate sports teams, nor fraternities nor sororities. Though student culture is generally inclusive, what does receive a negative response is being too similar to what they perceive students at other colleges are like. We are also queer in terms of students’ gender and sexual identities. Data from the CIRP Freshman Survey in 2021 indicate that 10  percent of our incoming students are trans, 19  percent identified as a gender other than man or woman, and less than a third are heterosexual (Higher Education Research Institute, 2021). It should be noted that this is a snapshot taken early in students’ careers that doesn’t capture the identity evolution that frequently occurs; our actual proportion of gender and sexual minorities is likely higher. Beyond individual identities, there is widespread acceptance of gender and sexual diversity. There is frequent conversation about queer issues, and, as I’ve written about elsewhere, dominant norms afford little patience for conventional gender assumptions or heteronormativity (Fairchild, 2021). Students and student culture are pretty clearly queer. Faculty, on the other hand, are not. In the 14 years I have been here, I have been the only lesbian on the tenure track and am the only known lesbian to have received tenure at the college. Mostly due to a recent campus growth plan wherein we increased the size of our faculty by more than 20 percent over two years, the number of queer tenure-track faculty has moved from two to six. All the new queer hires are men. Though I celebrate higher numbers, we remain at less than 5 percent of faculty, and there is no queer representation among academic administrators. In addition to representation, there are also distinct differences in culture and institutional structure. Whereas the last decade has brought student-led efforts to create all-gender bathrooms and a Pride Living Learning Community, administrators bargained with the faculty union in 2020 to remove domestic partner benefits. Fortunately, the effort failed after strong, though somewhat contentious, pushback led by queer faculty. The fact that such a negotiation item made it to the stage of a ratification vote indicates a lack of sensitivity to queer issues from multiple faculty and administrative angles. The cultural disconnect is further evidenced in our score from the national

110  Emily Fairchild benchmarking tool the Campus Pride Index. Despite a strong reputation for queer-friendliness, New College earns only 3 out of 5 in the overall indicator of “institutional commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive policy, program, and practice” (Campus Pride Index, 2021). It is telling that we earn a top score for “student life,” a measure involving having active LGBTQ+ clubs and representation in student leadership, while we lag behind on “support and institutional commitment,” including lacking an LGBTQ+ advisory board and not collecting institutional identity data that would allow for systematic assessment. It is these disjunctures that, even though the queer student culture is strong, make it difficult to characterize us as the queer college to which we might aspire. And, they pose a paradox for a queer faculty member.

Creating Insiders My paradox is multidimensional: There is the structural paradox of being alone at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and faculty status, and the experience of knowing the queer potential of the college alongside the regular disappointment in how conventional and not-queer it is. I lack “insiders” among faculty, and yet there are people with whom I share a great amount, but to whom I’m objectively “outside” because they are students who are differently located in the institutional structure. Fortunately, the permeability of in- and outsiderness lets me move among being insider and outsider to students and faculty in order to find community in an otherwise isolating situation. Because I don’t have a collective queer voice among colleagues, my relationships with students are central to my narrative. I am generally oriented toward them in thinking about my place on campus because my sets of interactions, overall, create connection with them while they reflect otherness in relation to colleagues. My relationships with students begin from the position of being a professor whose courses regularly address gender, sexuality, and identity, and which attract individuals whose selves intersect with the content. As such, the classroom provides opportunity for intellectual work aimed at holistic development; we critically assess the material from our standpoints and make connections to our lives. Queer Studies is an example of a seminar where this happens—where students do sophisticated theorizing beyond the texts we read. They assess the applicability of existing conceptions of gender and sexuality to the non-heteronormative campus culture at New College, actively participating in knowledge generation as they identify alternative social processes at play. These conversations push me to the edge of my own understanding and, as I  discuss here, inspired my current research. In these moments, the students and I are interlocutors in ways I rarely find myself with campus colleagues. Further, as we connect with one another by thinking about queer culture on campus, we are also contributing to that culture. They take with them the tools of the course, deeper understanding of their own lives, and the

Creating Insiders as the Only One Out 111 feeling of being supported by peers and faculty as they do this work. In these interactions, and those that stem from them, we are actively constructing each other as insiders. As I get validation from my intellectual connections with students, my feelings of being personally and professionally outside of colleagues are enhanced. I can converse with students about misogynistic or transphobic (micro)aggressions we witness, while these incidents are invisible to most of my colleagues. Students’ greater propensity to “see” inequities and their harmful effects led me to offer a course on marginalized identities in higher education. I wanted the racialized and gendered structure of the academy to be part of our curriculum, as a form of resistance to these dynamics on campus, and to empower students, who are hungry for this material, with theoretical and methodological tools to investigate it. Further, I hoped to create a forum where we could not only model flattening educational hierarchies (we worked together to choose readings, to plan assignments, and to facilitate discussions), but we could explicitly address it as a topic of the course. As we studied the personal narratives of marginalized academics (Gutiérrez y Muhs et al., 2012), the students learned to articulate how gender, sexuality, race, and class intersect with professional status to shape people’s lives in higher education. And, we shared our own experiences of being othered by peers and the institution. The vulnerability this required, along with the empathy we felt for the authors we read, deepened our personal connections; we had in common being outside notions of the ideal scholar (Hirshfield, 2015). Our sense of each other as insiders was enhanced, even as we engaged how our perspectives were affected by our differences of gender, sexuality, race, nationality, and status on campus. We were lovingly accountable to apply what we were learning so as to practice generating knowledge across difference rather than recreating the patterns of exclusion common in the academy. It was a transformative experience that led us to co-author a chapter on feminist collaborations. Reflection on these teaching experiences made clear to me that insiderness is created via engaged pedagogy, as professors and students alike share their stories with the goal of developing in mind, body, and spirit. hooks (1994) wrote about how uncomfortable an approach that requires vulnerability is for professors who are not concerned with self-actualization. Yet if we want to pursue education as a practice of freedom (Freire, 1972), we need to share the risks we ask students to take (hooks, 1994). My experience emphasizes the benefits not just to instructors’ and students’ educations, but to our sense of community. Professors are too often resistant to this (or just not interested), because we’re trained to reinforce systems of control and domination in the classroom by positioning ourselves as all-knowing authorities, outside of students. Such approaches prevent us from developing relationships that could be mutually rewarding. Further, it misses an educational opportunity about how our structural locations shape our relations. Good mentoring involves sharing experiences of being simultaneously in- and outsiders to each other.

112  Emily Fairchild Acknowledging this opens space to explore how our positions create opportunities for connection as well as how they constrain possibilities, rather than relying on patriarchal assumptions that we should retain a status above/apart from students. Queerness in this way is both an identity-based impetus for student-faculty relationships and a practice of interrogating power dynamics that are typically unspoken.

Navigating Insiderness as Mentoring Chambliss and Takacs (2014), sociologists who found striking positive consequences of developing personal connections with professors on students’ assessment of their college experience, defined mentoring as concern for students that extends past the immediacies of a course. Paying students personal attention—sharing life with them beyond our conventional roles—takes on particular significance when it is between those with a common marginalized identity, and even more so when it is a similarity present in few, if any, other of their relationships with professors. I  see mentoring as important a responsibility—and joy—as my intellectual work with students. I want them to know they can bring their whole selves to their work with me, and that I believe that doing so will enrich their learning and their lives. Moreover, I want this work to be visible to other students—for them to see a queer woman professor and to observe the ways she works toward her students’ overall development. This signals to newer students that there is a multi-generational support system for them at the college, further contributing to queer culture on campus. Additionally, I hope my mentoring reveals to students, mine and others who hear about our strategies, the possibilities available in queering how our roles suggest we should relate. As we interact in casual, out-of-office or off-campus settings, we practice navigating the fluidity of our insiderness with each other. Not only are there benefits to these multidimensional relationships across status, but they are teaching moments about acknowledging and living within hierarchies, a skill of particular concern to queer students preparing to find their way in heteronormative post-graduate spaces. For instance, it has become tradition that I invite the students whose senior work I sponsor for “thesis adventures.” These take a form chosen by the group, frequently explorations of state parks with my two Labrador mixes in tow. We walk and talk, spending much of the time laughing about pop culture and exchanging what we know about campus rumors (some ridiculous, some serious). They also give updates on their research and we think together about how their ideas are developing. When we’re dripping in sweat from the Florida heat and cooperatively managing the leashes of two large dogs, though, what it means to be professor and student are different. We share an embodied experience, void of the signifiers of our outsiderness that exist on campus. I still occupy the position of mentor, and the responsibility that comes with it, but we build camaraderie as we jointly construct queer advising adventures that support us well beyond our academic work.

Creating Insiders as the Only One Out 113

Leveraging Being Faculty Thus far, I  have focused on my insiderness with students because the ways my students and I create insiderness together are a key part of my teaching and mentoring. Though that insiderness is not absolute, it provides a collective I  lack among colleagues, and is primary in my sense of community on campus. It also motivates and supports another dimension of how I navigate my positions, one that emphasizes my status as a faculty member. In what follows, I introduce some of the ways my current research and campus activism efforts constitute sets of interactions where I  participate variously as insider and outsider as I learn with and advocate for trans and gender-nonconforming students. As I thought with students in my Gender Studies courses over recent years, I became increasingly interested in how they were creating the queer-friendly culture I  witnessed at New College. I’d been curious for some time about what seemed like pervasive alternative gender expectations here, but I hadn’t systematically analyzed it. I was inspired to do so because the students in my courses helped me develop hypotheses about what was happening. We worked together in class discussions to critique theories of gender and inequality, specifically examining how dominant sociological perspectives could not explain the way they and their peers approached interactional expectations for gender in ways that supported diverse expressions. Having students as respected interlocutors whom I took seriously as able to make contributions to understanding gender was a critical starting point for my scholarly inquiry (Smith, 1992), and formed the basis for my methodological approach wherein I conducted interviews from the perspective that participants and I would create knowledge together in in-depth interviews (Holstein & Gubrium, 1995). I would use my research skills to continue to theorize with them and amplify their voices, generating data from which others could learn and that might be useful for campus advocacy. Given space concerns, I will address just a few examples of the many ways I moved among my student and faculty affiliations in doing this work. I carefully considered the effect of my relationships with students as I planned the project and conducted interviews. As a cis professor, I was an outsider to the trans student community in terms of my gender and role. Further, as researcher, I would ultimately determine the meaning of the data and create the written products. These are particularly serious power dynamics to address given the vulnerability of gender-diverse folx. I attempted to lessen the researcher-participant hierarchy, a key commitment of feminist research, by explaining that, although I’ve thought a lot about these issues for my classes, they are the experts on student culture, and I was doing this project in order to learn what can only be known from their perspective (DeVault, 1996). I said before every interview that my purpose was two-fold: I had the conventional academic goal of learning about how gender works here in order to contribute to scholarship, and an activism-focused goal of learning about students’

114  Emily Fairchild experiences to improve campus policies. In this way, I  explicitly presented myself as in a position to take action on their behalf, drawing on my faculty status. However, I took precautions to not be a “professor” during the interviews. In addition to making clear that I  was not in an evaluative position (interviews were postponed for students currently in my classes or under my thesis supervision), I  explained that, in the research context, I  was not a mandatory reporter, should they disclose gender-related discrimination. Further, I drew on my status as a member of the queer New College community to increase rapport and trust. For those who didn’t personally know me, I identified myself as a queer cis woman who had been an adjacent member of queer student culture as advisor and advocate. I wanted to explicitly disclose aspects of my identity that decreased my distance from students but that might be invisible to them (Reyes, 2020). My intention in doing this was to convey my commitment to getting their story right, a value that was enhanced by my relationships with them. They let me know they received this message with comments about how meaningful it was that I cared about their experiences and that they were grateful that their stories were being documented. They understood that my approach was not dispassionately objective (DeVault, 1996), but that this project was designed to use my faculty status to do good for our trans community. Examples of them returning for follow-up conversations and partnering with me on campus projects in the following years are further evidence of them seeing me as an advocate. Although at times I exaggerated my outsiderness to them, asking for further explanation in order to confirm that I wasn’t assuming shared knowledge when it didn’t exist (Lofland et al., 2006), I believe our common language allowed us to smoothly co-create the conversation. I could commiserate about gendered roommate assignment procedures and offer support for cases in which faculty refused to use the correct name. As I sympathized, shook my head in disbelief, and apologized for the bad behavior they reported, we developed intimacy that might be deemed inappropriate by adherents of “conventional” social science methods, but definitional to queer methods (Ward, 2016). This was no doubt aided by the fact that we were, in various ways, each “outsiders within” the college (Collins, 1986), and because I shared examples from my own perspective in our exchanges. The interviews deepened my inclusion in their world and provided additional evidence that my colleagues do not share our understanding of gender. The result is that I carry the weight of recognizing what needs to change and walking folx through the necessary steps. For example, a problem students routinely mentioned was that names are used as email addresses and that these could not be changed. Armed with significant evidence about the negative effect of regularly being confronted with the wrong name, I contacted an administrator who could oversee revising students’ abilities to indicate their names. A series of phone conversations, emails, and meetings uncovered substantial lack of understanding and contained increasingly offensive responses

Creating Insiders as the Only One Out 115 to my queries. I  discovered that there was a recently revised form students could complete to indicate pronouns. However, it requested “chosen preferred pronouns.” Though well-intentioned, the idea that pronouns are “preferred” implies that using them is optional; further, referencing “preferred” in conjunction with the additional adjective “chosen” communicates ignorance regarding accepted practice. In addition to correcting the language, I asked that we clarify where names appear and what can and cannot be changed, so that students have a full understanding of the consequences of altering their record, a worry for students whose genders are not known to their families. The seriousness of these concerns was not reflected in the responses I received. Email from administration framed the issue as “further improvement of the student experience” and, in justifying not correcting the problems, I was told, “you can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time.” Ultimately, despite offering my labor to identify and coordinate solutions, I  received a written statement that “the timing for that effort is not now.” Describing the issue as “improving” the student experience rather than providing measures to respect identities, and dismissing best practice as a question of “pleasing,” displays a lack of concern for our gender-diverse students directly affected and is dismissive of my expertise. This should have been someone I could collaborate with, but I left each meeting feeling disrespected and like my knowledge was not important to the college. Staff, however, in offices including the Registrar, Information Technology, and legal counsel, were willing to work with me. I  learned that we could, in fact, implement rather liberal name designation policies, including for email addresses and on identification cards, with or without a legal change. Once we connected the relevant parties, actions moved rather quickly. I and another Gender Studies professor corrected the language on the forms, met with the programmers to review how the information would be collected, and designed the procedure for processing changes with the Registrar and Provost’s office. Throughout, these folx listened to the needs of students and cared about best practices. My outsider status was salient in these situations, as my expertise was unique and needed. Conversations with people unfamiliar with the issues bring to the fore how shared understanding and language are part of my insiderness with students—things we can easily communicate about have to be explained in detail, and sometimes justified, to other audiences. Still, I  simultaneously felt like I  could affect campus systems as an insider whose specialized knowledge was valued.

The View From the Paradox My experience is an example of the fact that we’re never only “in” nor “out,” but we step in and out as we move among people with whom we share characteristics or positions. Further, we have motives regarding which groups to align with and how to shape interactions with them. I  see it as a choice to emphasize my connection with students and identify them as the group with

116  Emily Fairchild which I primarily consider myself an insider. Despite my status that positions me as an objective outsider to them, I step into this group for community— community for me, for the students with whom I form relationships, and for our college at large as, together, we contribute to our queer culture. I have a different purpose in positioning myself as inside college decision makers. In stepping “in” to that role, I am able to make change that will support queer folx on campus. The work to that end is personally fulfilling, but my outsider status is salient in those interactions and I do not expect to find the same kind of meaningful connection in this group. Moreover, I purposely highlight my insider and outsider statuses as I  navigate my positions. I  note my faculty outsiderness in connecting with students, and draw on my student insiderness when advocating for them with colleagues. Occupying this position makes apparent that, when you are in a position to move among groups, especially possible due to racial and educational privilege, what is considered in or out can be a matter of perspective and strategy. Although I take the position that our relationships with groups are permeable, I  also acknowledge that our structural location shapes these possibilities, and what we are able to know (Merton, 1972). Being the only queer cis woman faculty member allows me to see what is invisible to those who do not have outsider perspective on the institution (Collins, 1986). In my case, being an outsider within is manifest in experiences that draw me closer to students and set me apart from faculty. The misalignment between student and institutional culture became knowable to me as I recognized the shape of my affiliations. I’ve gotten the message that most of my colleagues believe that the college’s group identity as unique and progressive, as well as our high proportion of LGBTQ+ students, means that we are above reproach in terms of queer inclusion. They fail to notice, or find significance in, the fact that they have exceptionally few queer colleagues, as it doesn’t affect their sense of community or how they go about their work. From the position of insiders, there isn’t an impetus to see the misalignment—to see that our queer potential is not actualized. Yet the fact that we are unusual in so many heteronormative ways, along with the culture students have created, suggests we could have the capacity to be a truly queer campus. Because I  see the problem as one of misalignment, my desire is that we alter faculty and institutional culture such that it has more in common with the model students give us. We should be on the cutting edge of inclusive policies, as our students are on the cutting edge of interpersonal culture. We should have administrators with expertise who can design initiatives rather than respond to student demands. We should provide staff support rather than rely on unpaid student labor for inclusion efforts. Our faculty should reflect our students (including hiring more queer women faculty and queer of color faculty) so that colleagues have peer support and students have role models in diverse fields and with diverse life experiences. We should claim queer-inclusiveness as an institutional identity and actively recruit LGBTQ+ students who will thrive here rather than rely on word of mouth to attract them. The students have shown us what’s possible. The

Creating Insiders as the Only One Out 117 question is whether the college will make the structural and ideological shifts to catch up.

References Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. University of California Press. Campus Pride. (2021). Campus pride index. www.campusprideindex.org/cam puses/details/318?campus=new-college-of-florida Chambliss, D., & Takacs, C. (2014). How college works. Harvard University Press. Collins, P. H. (1986). Learning from the outsider within: The sociological significance of Black Feminist Thought. Social Problems, 33(6), S14–S32. https://doi. org/10.2307/800672 DeVault, M. L. (1996). Talking back to sociology: Distinctive contributions of feminist methodology. Annual Review of Sociology, 22, 29–50. www.jstor.org/ stable/2083423 Fairchild, E. (2021). Shifting understanding, creating inclusive collegiate culture. In A. H. Johnson, B. A. Rogers, & T. Taylor (Eds.), Advances in trans studies: Moving toward gender expansion and trans hope (pp.  141–156). Emerald Publishing. Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Herder and Herder. Gutiérrez y Muhs, G., Niemann, Y. F., Gonzalez, C. G., & Harris, A. P. (2012). Presumed incompetent: The intersections of race and class for women in academia. Utah State University. Higher Education Research Institute. (2021). 2021 CIRP Freshman Survey profile report: New College of Florida. Higher Education Research Institute. Hirshfield, L. (2015). Not the ideal professor: Gender in the academy. In K. De Welde & A. Stepnick (Eds.), Disrupting the culture of silence: Confronting gender inequality and making change in higher education (pp. 205–214). Stylus. Holstein, J. A., & Gubrium, J. F. (1995). The active interview. Sage. hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. Routledge. Lofland, J., Snow, D. A., Anderson, L., & Lofland, L. H. (2006). Analyzing social settings: A guide to qualitative observation and analysis. Wadsworth. Merton, R. K. (1972). Insiders and outsiders: A chapter in the sociology of knowledge. American Journal of Sociology, 78(1), 9–47. https://doi.org/10.1086/ 225294 Naples, N. A. (2003). Feminism and method: Ethnography, discourse analysis, and activist research. Routledge. Reyes, V. (2020). Ethnographic toolkit: Strategic positionality and researchers’ visible and invisible tools in field research. Ethnography, 21(2), 220–240. https:// doi.org/10.1177/1466138118805121 Smith, D. E. (1992). Sociology from women’s experience: A reaffirmation. Sociological Theory, 10(1), 88–98. https://doi.org/10.2307/202020 Ward, J. (2016). Dyke methods: A meditation on queer studies and the gay men who hate it. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, 44(3), 68–85. https://doi.org/ 10.1353/wsq.2016.0036.

11 Under the Queer Umbrella Strategies and Struggles of Intersectional Activism Bianca Tonantzin Zamora I had a recent conversation with a current graduate student from the same program I attended; she is a passionate activist and soon to be a full-time professional in higher education. She called me to seek guidance as she was in a workplace conflict and was straddling identity politics as a young womxn1 of color and activist on campus. I felt her spirit heavy as she asked: How do you do it, Bianca: stay authentic to yourself while being an activist in higher education? I feel so policed all the time with what I say and the language I use. It doesn’t matter if I am trying to push social justice forward. I’m seen as the enemy. They want our bodies because we make them look good but don’t really want us here. I let out a deep sigh and responded with love, vulnerability, and deep compassion as I  have asked myself very similar questions over the course of my career. I answered: “We will always be outsiders. We will always be seen as the problem makers, especially as young queer womxn of color who don’t hold their tongues when it comes to calling out oppression.” I like to say that we, as young queer womxn of color activists are fourth-wave magicians—having to literally move from third-wave feminist critiques, to managing our emotions and creating on the spot institutional strategies to combat the conditions of our oppression. I  use the term fourth-wave magicians very intentionally, as third-wave feminist theory has taught us to powerfully critique sistemas but hasn’t provided clear protocols for how to maneuver through the institutions that were created on the backs of the oppressed (Stewart, 2020). Thirdwave feminism provided me the strength, language, and courage to speak out against my oppression but failed to provide me the strategies for combating as an outsider within the colonizer’s castle. To me, fourth-wave feminism is the shift from the critique of oppressive systems to the application of intersectional activism and praxis. Both theorizing and enacting intersectional processes are necessary to address the realities of interlocking system of oppression. Fourthwave feminist activism calls on change agents to reimagine intersectional ways of doing for the possibilities of liberation.

DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-11

Under the Queer Umbrella 119 I remember my first lesson in fourth-wave feminist magic was when I started my post-graduate full-time position and was serving on a planning committee. Of course, this was at a time when I had mastered my use of the word “colonizer.” I boldly provided my critiques at meetings until one day a white queer cisgender man asked me, “Well, what do you suggest we do?” I had no answer, just my pile of critiques ready to be directed at the next professional I deemed a modern-day problematic colonizer. Within my first four weeks as a full-time professional, a shift occurred. If I was to be an activist, I had to literally activate change on the spot by providing clear, thought-out suggestions because no one would want to listen for critiques, especially from an intersectional otra. Being a professional and activist with multiple marginalized identities in higher education, I  now understand the responsibility of creating intersectional ways of doing by sharing strategies that create pathways for change. Disapproving glances and reprimands during meetings made me feel like I was seen by some institutional agents as the outsider. Some had even scolded that I should be grateful to be in my position. There is a complexity when you are an intersectional outsider countering the oppression of exclusionary systems in and out of higher education institutions. This chapter aims to address the tensions and consequences of racism and other interlocking systems of oppression that impact LGBTQ+ activism for those who may experience the insider/ outsider paradox. Specifically, I highlight the limitations and opportunities for intersectional queer activism within university and community organizations.

Brilliance in the Borderlands Anzaldúa (2015) shared, “Do work that matters. Vale la pena” (p. 22). But it is not always easy. It is a complex and fatiguing game of constant strategy, especially for those who have been hxstorically2 excluded from the realms of higher education. It is obvious that if queer womxn of color speak against the institution, they may be policed by institutional agents, positioned as the problem/monster, and consequently exiled (Callafell, 2012). The relationship between activism and higher education is complex and one that as an undergraduate, graduate student, and now as a full-time professional I wrestle with daily. Activism within higher education has always been part of my journey, and in many ways advocating for others was critical to my own healing, confidence, and journey of self-love as an intersectional otra. I began my undergraduate advocacy work in student government as a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) representative. I was professionalized early on into the politics of higher education through my encounters with microaggressions by institutional agents and at university committees where code-switching became an art. As a queer young womxn of color undergraduate student, those political spaces often distorted my sense of worth and mental health. The judgmental faces and oppressive comments made me feel like I  was a boxer, anticipating and calculating my responses before and after meetings.

120  Bianca Tonantzin Zamora My professionalization taught me to fight for and claim space. I was responsible for advocating for myself, current, and future students. One day, my advisor, a white heterosexual cisgender man, met me for our weekly meeting. I  brought forward student concerns, and he followed with, “students like to exaggerate about the racism they experience here.” My body sunk into itself. This was the same person who I viewed as a mentor, who I shared my experiences of marginalization with, and who had cheered on my speeches in response to documented discrimination on campus. To this day I don’t know what triggered his response. I still gaslight myself. I often think maybe he was pushing me to see how I would respond because he was invested in making me a stronger fighter. Or maybe, he really viewed me and other marginalized students as liars. As an undergraduate and even now I struggle with the heaviness of activism as an intersectional outsider of the institution. There is the soul-draining duality of being policed as the brown queer femme activist and simultaneously called on by the university to “fix” the problems of institutional exclusion and inequity. At the core of my spirit is the commitment to uplifting the brilliance of marginalized communities. Still, in my professional career, I have experienced many moments where my brilliance was questioned, belittled, and negated. Notably, in my first year as a full-time DEI professional, I  was leading a training on inclusive workplace practices with my colleague who was also a young Latina. One male participant, who was in an administrative leadership role proudly shared that there was progress because my Latina colleague and I  were presenting to them. To them—a room full of mostly white higher education professionals. I  was triggered but, like a magician, I pulled from my toolbox of tricks and swallowed my anger and challenged his perception of progress and equity. Similarly, my white supervisor who identifies as a heterosexual cisgender woman scolded me at a staff meeting. I suggested that we consider extending a deadline for students who had shared they were experiencing burnout and wanted to apply to our student leadership positions. When I shared that I could empathize with students and advocated for this accommodation, she said that if that was a case I too, should not have been in leadership positions in college. In my current role, I  inform DEI strategic plans, policy, procedures, and training at an elite university and know the deep blows and blessings of the insider/outsider paradox. My understanding of the insider/outsider paradox parallels my embodiment within the borderlands: Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. . . . A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are its inhabitants. (Anzaldúa, 1987, p. 25) My experiences working as a queer brown femme activist within the structures of the ivory tower and grass-roots organizations have been a process

Under the Queer Umbrella 121 of constant shapeshifting, messiness, and political savviness. Anzaldúa (2002) explained shapeshifting as “Nepantla” to describe how “transformations occur in this in-between space, an unstable, unpredictable, precarious, always-intransition space lacking clear boundaries. Nepantla es tierra desconocida, and living in this liminal zone means being in a constant state of displacement—an uncomfortable, even alarming feeling” (p.  1). I  work to bridge my efforts within institutions of higher education and grass-roots organizations in hopes of uplifting intersectional, inclusive, and intergenerational activism. In my experiences as an activist, I have witnessed the complications of activist spaces that work to silo intersectional approaches and, in turn, further marginalize communities both in and out of higher education. The insider/outsider complex unveils racial tensions within activist spaces and the possibilities for intersectional advocacy.

Price of Politics in Activist Spaces Being a writer feels very much like being a Chicana, or being queer—a lot of squirming, coming up against all sorts of walls.

Writing saved my life. Literally. Reading Gloria Anzaldúa’s (1987) “Borderlands” filled me with the belief that it was possible to exist. Her work helped me see that much like the insider/outsider paradox. As an activist, I straddle the many borders of identity and belonging. “To survive the borderlands you must live sin fronteras be a crossroads” (Anzaldúa, 1987, p. 119). I had to write myself into survival, and I saw the power of writing as a strategy to uplift others. I would share my poems publicly so that other queers could also see the possibilities of existence as resistance in public spaces. There is power in claiming our identities and stories as necessary and powerful. I came out at the age of 21 before I left for graduate school. Throughout my graduate studies, I incorporated poetry into my assignments as I made sense of what it would mean to be a queer brown body and administrator in higher education. Writing became my most powerful weapon and a tool for me to engage in activism and self-discovery as I spoke at university and community activist events. My engagement with activism blossomed in Monterey, California, where I was working at a university Cross-Cultural Center. It was a colleague who had connected me with the city’s Pride Celebration committee after seeing my writing on social media. One of the community coordinators of the event had reached out to me to inform me that the theme of that year’s Pride was “intersectionality” and then asked me what my “intersectionalities” were. I  was puzzled. “What are my intersectionalities? Are you asking me to share my identities?” I asked. “Sure,” responded the white, queer organizer. I became frustrated at the ways that language was being co-opted and misused even in activist spaces. Though I appreciate the intention to be inclusive, I recognize that not everyone has access to understanding language. When I was asked to

122  Bianca Tonantzin Zamora share my identities, I realized that even in well-intentioned community activist spaces, whiteness would still be centered. And it was. At the city’s Pride event, I  read my poems and then the MC—who was also the only other only person of color to share the stage—came up. He had the audience clap for all the allies at the event. He said, “Let’s cheer for all of our white brothers and sisters. Let’s cheer for all our straight brothers and sisters. We are grateful for our allies!” My throat felt like it hit the floor. Here we were at Pride, centering whiteness, heterosexism, and cissexism. Even at our own celebration, we were not the stars. I understand “queer” as the umbrella term—an identity encompassing those who experience marginalization because of a heteronormative, monosexual, and cissexist society. Pride is often portrayed on social media as a collective celebration where all are included and celebrated. I view the queer community as an umbrella, where we are collectively assigned, but have vastly different experiences with oppression. Some of us get wet because of rips of racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, and so many other isms within the umbrella. We are not this queer happy family and I refuse to clap for “white” and “hetero” allies. At the event, I was approached by a representative from the Women’s March who had seen me speak and wanted me to be the poet for the upcoming march. As a feminista activist, I center undocumented, queer and trans, and communities of color in my activism. As an invited guest of my city’s Women’s March committee, I felt I had to hold my tongue with many of the exclusionary practices I saw. I was identified by the Women’s March board of directors as a representative of the university. I felt conflicted as I navigated the balance as a critic, community activist, and institutional agent. I hated the pink pussy hats they were selling. I hated how I invited my undocumented Latinx student to table with university resources at the event and how when he was giving out free Black Lives Matter t-shirts, a white woman came up to him and said, “What are you?” She followed with a “Black Lives Matter is racist” remark. I hated how there were Indigenous activists who were advocating for missing and murdered Indigenous girls and womxn, and were photographed and objectified by white onlookers, but were not given a platform to speak. When I was asked to give a speech for the Women’s march, I wanted to talk about intersectional oppression in a way that would be accessible to all and center those at the margins. I read the following that day: My feminism was grown at the table The roots birthed from abuela’s strength, mami’s sharp tongue, aunties’ revolutionary spirit, and my ancestors’ resilience From the ability to move and twist and bend in the face of oppressors’ rage To the reminder that men do not write our stories, Not our endings, not our beginnings, not our destinations Not our lives Because our ancestors’ power and our battle is connected

Under the Queer Umbrella 123 Because we cannot claim feminism when liberation is measured by one womxn’s freedom. My feminism was grown on the streets and the dance floor and the playground and the classroom From speaking back to harassment, To claiming our voices and bodies in public spaces To marching in the streets because our lives depend on it Are attached to the consequences of patriarchal politics From challenging curriculum in schools because we have been fed a singular story far too long Because we are done with just learning about History— Needing to write about Hxrstory. Our stories are built on mountains. Because we cannot claim feminism when liberation is measured by one womxn’s freedom. My feminism was grown from the brilliance of Black feminists Of Indigenous feminists, of Latina feminists, of Asian feminists, of transnational feminists Because feminism understands that we cannot talk about womxnhood Cannot smash the patriarchy Without healing the plague that is racism, and colonialism, and ableism, and classism, and heterosexism, and transphobia, and nationalism. Because our chains are connected. Because feminism understands that the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the politics of Puerto Rico and the attack on reproductive health, and the travesties of gun violence, and the colonialism of Iran and the sexual assaults committed by a President are connected. Because we cannot claim feminism when liberation is measured by one womxn’s freedom. My feminism was grown from queers and femmes and nonbinary communities and trans womxn of color Because the world has tried to pluck and burn us at the roots Worked to mow the possibilities of flowers and life and breath of radical love Tried to deny our very trace of existence Because feminism understands that we cannot talk about womxnhood Without talking about trans womxn who have a life expectancy of 35 (Carcaño, n.d.). I will say it again, trans womxn of color have a life expectancy of 35 It is not normal I will say it again, trans women of color have a life expectancy of 35 It is not normal

124  Bianca Tonantzin Zamora Because we cannot claim feminism when liberation is measured by one womxn’s freedom. My feminism was grown from undocumented and immigrant and migrant communities Who create magic and joy and life out of a failed system Whose spirits and power shine bright in a dark system A system that points at people and makes them the problem A system that would rather build walls than bridges Rather frame people as villains than the victors A system that is too scared Of too much magic, too much brilliance, too much power, too much potential Because feminism understands that we cannot talk about womxnhood Without talking about how our government criminalizes brown and Black immigrants How it utilizes barbed wires and detention centers and fear and policies To brew trauma for generations to come Because we cannot claim feminism when liberation is measured by one womxn’s freedom. My feminism was grown from intergenerational and intersectional activism From powerful feminista warriors Mother warriors Femme warriors Auntie warriors Sexual assault survivor warriors Queer and trans warriors Sex worker warriors Migrant and immigrant warriors Youth warriors Abuela warriors Activist warriors My feminism was grown out of warriors Out of love and patience Out of exhaustion and rage Out of brilliance and bravery Out of knowing that the fight is not over Not even close But we fight and persist Because our chains are connected Because we cannot claim feminism when liberation is measured by one womxn’s freedom.

Under the Queer Umbrella 125 I was so nervous the day I was reading at the Women’s March—nervous that my words would not be understood or seen as “audience” or “family appropriate.” These are the politics of activism: How do I engage in a way that speaks to the realities of our society and be palpable, not to the white women, but to those who may not have access to the language of systemic oppression or the isms? To center the power of sex workers, queer and trans, undocumented communities, and communities of color could be perceived as “divisive” by those who may see feminism as siloed advocacy. I was interviewed by various news outlets that day and I had made the main page of the city newspaper with my interview. I was nervous that my job would be in jeopardy, that in my journey of authenticity and activism that I would instead place myself in danger of public scrutiny and potentially lose my job. It has been drilled into me by institutional agents that, while on campus, I would not be allowed to speak on any political matters. But what about this gray area, where community and institutional activism meet? Yuri Kochiyama’s words, “Consciousness is power” rang through my body the days following the speech (Saunders & Tajari, 2016). Though I was riddled with anxiety about the consequences of my speech, I  had to hope that the words would inspire people to view the possibilities of the march as more than pussy hats; as more than an Instagramable moment; as more than a one-day event, but rather as a collective call to deepen consciousness and intersectional activism. My work with the Women’s March reminded me of the many readings on division between feminist and civil rights movements that asked womxn of color and queer communities of color to silo away their identifies and focus on either advocating for racial or gendered liberation. After I  spoke, I  was invited to join the city’s Women’s March board of directors. At the first meeting, the conversation centered on the lack of representation and strategies for improving the diversity of the board. One of the white organizers said, “Well, we have Bianca and she’s, our diversity.” My stomach fell to the floor as I waited for someone to step in and respond. Silence fell over the meeting and then the women continued as if no microaggression had carved me as the other. As if the pervasiveness of whiteness did not drink up the spirit of the room. The feeling of not belonging—of being an outsider while working to create change as an institutional agent— reminded me of the following poem that I  wrote as a paraprofessional and graduate school activist. There is poison in the air Ya no puedo respirar Seas of faces reminding me that I am the other My face, my hair, and my espíritu are drying up. This air tastes different from my beloved desierto The scorching system of racismo wants to swallow me whole. Beaner. Wetback. Queer. Mexican. Exotic. LA OTRA. I see it on their face/in their words/in their actions

126  Bianca Tonantzin Zamora I do not belong. I take a bath and try to wash it off But the poison is etched into my lungs. Mami says, “ponte lista . . . hechale ganas . . . no te aguites” I tell her the air is poisoned with racismo She says, “it’s always been”

•  Covid-19 and Intersectional Activism No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us. —Marsha P. Johnson

In the summer of 2020, activists throughout the United States marched and called for justice for Black communities and the eradication of state violence. Hill and Barat (2020) shared that this was not the first summer that protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter,” “shut it down,” “hands up, don’t shoot,” “no justice, no peace, no racist police,” or organized interventions to address the violence inflicted toward Black communities. Notably, it was the first summer where communities nationwide were faced with the realities of a global pandemic, government shutdown, and the anticipation of an intense presidential election (Andone, 2020). In response to BLM protests, former President Donald Trump capitalized on the social order of whiteness by calling on state militia to execute extreme forms of violence by stating, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” (Wines, 2020, para.7). These actions amplified propaganda that upheld white supremacy and clearly communicated the disposability of Black citizens—the antithesis to what many believed in the previous administration to be a “post-racial America.” The 2020 BLM movements embodied peaceful and masked protests yet were met with state inflicted and recorded violence that included kidnappings, beatings, the use of tear gas, tasering, and shooting (Grant & Smith, 2021). I was fortunate to serve as the chair of the Monterey County LGBTQ+ Collective to work with phenomenal community organizers encompassing various public service divisions. Through my involvement, I  was invited in May 2020, to chair a community-based project that aimed to reimagine Pride to be a virtual event. The group consisted of leadership from four central coast major city Pride committees. The goal of the event was to offer a collective Pride online rather than in person to minimize contact and impact to our communities during the pandemic. Anti-Blackness, too, was apparent even in our virtual committee planning meetings specifically, among leaders who were meant to “unify” LGBTQ+ communities. For example, at the first planning meeting, when discussing the importance of centering Black queers, and articulating a stance against the systemic oppression of Black communities, a white queer elder stated, “We need to make this about LGBT communities,

Under the Queer Umbrella 127 not about Black issues.” In my experience with advocacy, I  have seen such meaningful ways to intervene. Recognizing our privilege and positionality informs our effectiveness and strategies as activists. When a sea of gasps followed by uncomfortable silence fell over the zoom meeting, I knew I needed to drive the conversation in a way that would not shame the queer elder and support a vision for the ways that Pride could be approached through an intersectional lens. I shared that queer rights, hxstory, and Pride are possible because of the labor and love of queer and trans Black activists. We shifted to discuss the activist work of Marsha P. Johnson and Bayard Rustin. These conversations were operative to forwarding the planning, to deescalate tension, and to nurture trust within the group. Though the virtual event was successful, I  was witnessing the real exhaustion that this labor asked of activists—people were burned out from the pandemic, from their current employment or loss of, and lived realities. At the time, I  was frustrated with most of the planning members. We had collectively set clear deadlines and I  was often met with delayed responses or incomplete tasks. I  developed a deep annoyance as a result of working within an institution that cultivated a culture of immediacy. Reflecting on it now, I am ashamed that I had forgotten about empathy for my community. I was so very privileged to be able to incorporate my activism and professional work that I had forgotten that while I was an “insider” and shared similar identities and experiences, I was also privileged because I was afforded the opportunity to assume my activist role as a representative of the institution. Moving forward, this drives how I  view myself as an advocate. I need to ask questions of myself as an activist to ensure that I am centering care, empathy, and understanding the ways that systems of oppression are impacting communities—the same ways that I ask others to engage the work. In the same month as the virtual Pride celebration, I was asked to speak at a campus-wide BLM march, as this was also the week when the U.S. Supreme Court would be ruling on workplace protections for queer and trans communities. The march was made up of an audience of mainly white students, faculty, and staff. The speakers comprised of all Black faculty and staff and me. When the march organizer introduced me to speak, she shared that I would be the representative of the LGBTQ+ faculty and staff. I reflected on the ways that Black queer and trans activists have paved possibilities of liberation and that inspired the following poem. To Queers under the rainbow: Do you remember who paved the way for you? Or have you forgotten where our roots of revolution come from? From Black trans womxn From Black queer loves Goddesses Activists

128  Bianca Tonantzin Zamora Sex-workers Who have asserted their bodies and brilliance For possibilities of a rainbow Possibilities of queer power Of queer love Of queer dance Of queer joy Of queer studies Of queer life. How easy it has become for us to see Stonewall as a distant memory As if the same violence hasn’t continued on repeat As if rage is not part of the movement As if Pride is an effortless dance As if Black trans womxn are not continually being murdered As if it is normal for trans womxn of color to have a life expectancy of 35. Have we forgotten where our roots come from? Forgotten to say her name Marsha P. Johnson Forgotten how many are missing Murdered. Still! To Queers under the rainbow: Queer is the umbrella term (LGBTQ+) But there are violent gashes in the fabric Rips of anti-blackness Of racism Of classism Of xenophobia The umbrella does not cover us all It leaves communities drenched And blood spilled When our fight is not intentional, inclusive, or intersectional When it is not pro-Black When it is not pro-trans When it is not pro-immigrant It cannot be pro-queer. Do not cut wings that were meant to fly Do not let the rainbow remain a facade. There is work to be done because Black Lives Matter Black Queer Lives Matter Black Trans Lives Matter Now, tomorrow, and always.

Under the Queer Umbrella 129

Lessons Learned: Radical Empathy and Reflection Reflecting on the insider/outsider paradox as a queer brown femme activist in higher education, I recognize that my identities and lived experiences position me to cultivate knowledge of intersectional systems and inform my strategies when in activist spaces in and out of higher education. As an “inside” agent of the higher education, I found that the use of poetry and personal narrative has helped me to gain trust of community organizers as I serve as a bridge to the institution. Givens (2021) shared the role of radical empathy as key to addressing racism and how it forwards collective action and accountability: “Understanding how a person feels also provides insight into how that person understands the world. Getting to radical empathy requires us all to understand, learn about, and acknowledge the impact of racism” (p. 28). As an institutional agent, radical empathy is essential to dismantling systems of oppression and forwarding intersectional advocacy. It is vital to name the privileges that allow me the capacity to even engage in activism as a professional. I had a supervisor that understood the importance of building bridges between community activist organizations and the institution. I am also a single womxn who has no dependents, and I  am afforded economic stability. I  feel safe to express my identities and I  have access to language to name my experiences. I  find it necessary to constantly reflect on how we are all are showing up in spaces, how our engagement in activism may also be harmful to ourselves and others, and the ways that instead of siloed approaches, we center those who have been cast to the margins. Activism encompasses many forms for those within the institution. Activism can look like advocating for policy change and inclusive practices. Activism can be centering anti-oppressive praxis and the knowledge of the hxstorically marginalized in courses, events, and trainings. Activism is also the everyday actions that uplift the brilliance of those who are fatigued by the insider/ outsider paradox. Self-preservation as an intersectional otra has been key. While it is easier said than done, as I  am a “yes, I  will be there” activist, I am learning to be more patient and less extensive of myself. I am learning to say “yes,” when I can be spiritually, mentally, and physically present and “no” when I just literally can’t. I have also learned to say, “Can you clarify, because what I’m hearing is. . .” when I experience microaggressions in and out of activist spaces, and to redirect us to the collective purpose. Activism is a constant process of learning as a product of doing and undoubtedly, we will fuck up and not get it right sometimes. But I hope that, for activists under the “queer umbrella,” we recognize our opportunities for intersectional activism by unveiling and mending the rips of racism, sexism, classism, cissexism, ableism, and xenophobia. I find joy in the vision that activists discover power in their collective voices as our liberation, much like systems of oppression, is interconnected.

130  Bianca Tonantzin Zamora

Notes 1. The author uses “womxn” as a tool of resistance to counter a monolithic, racist, heterosexist, cissexist, patriarchal narrative and reclaim inclusive meanings of “womxnhood.” 2. The author uses “hxstories” as a decolonizing practice to reject oppressive systems of power used to silence and direct her narrative. Through this process, the author reclaims agency as a storyteller.

References Andone, D. (2020, April 17). Protests are popping up across the US over stayat-home restrictions. CNN. www.cnn.com/2020/04/16/us/protests-corona virus-stay-home-orders/index.html Anzaldúa, G. (1987). Borderlands/la frontera: The new mestiza. Spinsters/Aunt Lute. Anzaldúa, G. (2002). This bridge we call home. Routledge. Anzaldúa, G. (2015). Light in the dark: Rewriting identity, spirituality and reality. Duke University Press. Callafell, B. M. (2012). Monstrous femininity: Constructions of women of color in the academy. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 36(2), 111–130. https:// doi.org/10.1177/0196859912443382 Carcaño, J. (n.d.). National transgender HIV testing day. North Carolina HIV Training Education Center. www.med.unc.edu/nchivtraining/clincian-resources/ blog/national-transgender-hiv-testing-day-blog-post/ Givens, T. (2021). Radical empathy: Finding a path to bridging racial divides. Policy Press. Grant, P. R., & Smith, H. J. (2021). Activism in the time of COVID-19. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 24(2), 297–305. https://doi.org/10.1177/ 1368430220985208 Hill, M. L., & Barat, F. (2020). We still here: Pandemic, policing, protest, and possibility. Haymarket Books. Saunders, P. (Director) Tajari, R. (Director) (2016). Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for justice [Film]. National Asian American Telecommunications Association. Stewart, D-L. (2020). Twisted at the roots: The intransigence of inequality in U.S. higher education. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 52(2), 13–16. https://doi.org10.1080/00091383.2020.1732753 Wines, M. (2020, May 29). ‘Looting’ comment from Trump dates back to racial unrest of the 1960s. The New York Times. www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/ us/looting-starts-shooting-starts.html

12 Queer, Trans, and Brown in Higher Education The Outsiders Within? Bri C. Sérráno and Sergio A. Gonzalez

As queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) in higher education, oftentimes we find ourselves connected to the institutions we attend and work for, while simultaneously experiencing oppression within these same environments. For instance, Garvey et al. (2019) shared that queer and trans Latinx people can experience challenges to disclosing their identities due to cultural values, gender dichotomies, and the need for community support. Further, Gonzalez (2021) described “how limited academic literature is when it comes to scholarship regarding queer people of color and [specifically] queer [and trans] Latinx students in higher education” (p. 2). Given the shortage of empirical research depicting the lived experiences of QTPOC individuals in higher education, and specifically queer and trans Latinx people (Duran, 2019; Gonzalez, 2021; Orozco et al., 2021), this chapter will focus on our social and interpersonal experiences as doctoral Latinx queer and trans students. Bri is a doctoral candidate and a full-time professional. Sergio is a full-time doctoral candidate. This chapter discusses and explores how we navigate relationships and dynamics due to our gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Namely, we engaged in a collaborative autoethnography that included collaboration at every point of the writing process, including developing the framework, editing, processing the experience, and providing commentary for one another (Lassiter, 2005). Collaborative autoethnography is also described as “the study of self, writing about individual experiences of life within the context of family, work, schooling, and society with others” (Chang et  al., 2016, p. 11). Through this methodological approach, we examined our relationships with classmates, faculty, staff members, and students. In doing so, we echo Chang’s (2008) assertion when they stated that the “Self is a subject to look into and a lens to look through to gain an understanding of a societal culture” (p. 49). In this case, we explore the culture of our academic institutions, leveraging the self as a lens. We mobilize the insider/outsider discourse to look at the fluidity of relationship dynamics of being “outsiders within” (Collins, 1999, p. 11) with consideration to power, privilege, and access to informal and formal spaces. Through the use of Bell’s (1980) analysis of interest convergence as a framework and Fierros and Delgado Bernal (2016) pláticas as Chicana/Latina feminist methodology, we share who we are and how DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-12

132  Bri C. Sérráno and Sergio A. Gonzalez we exist within postsecondary contexts. Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to explore, highlight, and validate the lived experiences of Latinx queer and trans people in higher education settings. We examine the following questions: 1. What does the term “community” mean for LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners given the nature of the insider/outsider paradox? 2. How do LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners navigate relationships with participants, students, and colleagues who do and do not identify similarly? For our collaborative autoethnography, we started by critically reflecting and responding to these questions individually in written form. Next, we met over a recorded virtual platform (i.e., Zoom) and shared our individual responses with one another. Once we shared, we engaged in a plática about what came up for each person and what resonated with us. After our plática, we transcribed and coded the recorded session along with each other’s written responses to the questions. This process allowed us to find emergent themes in our data and, more importantly, build community as we validated our lived experiences and exercised agency through our voices.

Who We Are: Positionality Bri I am a queer, nonbinary, transgender masc-of-center scholar that is a firstgeneration college student and white-collar professional. I am ethnically Mexican and racially mestizo. I  come from a lineage of strong immigrants from Mexico. My research focuses on higher education transgender policy through a Critical Trans Politics (Spade, 2015) framework outside of the cisgender “lesbian” and “gay” narrative. Over the last five years, I have experienced shifting social dynamics in relationships due to my gender expression and gender identity becoming more masculine, as compared to previously being read as androgynous and/or feminine. In the last two years, I have been welcomed to join cisgender men of color spaces with Black and brown colleagues who have designated me as being “one of the guys.” Co-workers that are cisgender women still feel comfortable enough to disclose their own lived experiences with me due to still being seen as “safe” enough. Although, due to normative assumptions about masculine people of color, as an administrator on campus, I am stereotyped as “aggressive” and as a masculine, brown person. At times, I am noticeably also seen as more “competent” and agreeable than my more feminine expressive coworkers. As a student affairs practitioner who runs an LGBTQ+ center and one of few “out” trans faculty on campus, I often feel exploited by other leaders at the institution. I am also consistently met with confusion and/or bewilderment by staff, administrators, and faculty on campus that do not know how to address me or how to interact with me. The

Queer, Trans, and Brown in Higher Education 133 experience of medically and socially transitioning over the past five years has provided me insight into gender and social dynamics that I previously did not understand.

Sergio I write from the core of who I  am: joto, Latinx, feminist, hijo de a firstgeneration madre and Mexican immigrant padre, jotería scholar, and activist (Orozco et  al., 2021). As Lorde (2007) stated, “I  HAVE COME [sic] to believe over and over again that what is more important to me must be spoken, made verbal, and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood” (p. 40). For this reason, my connection to my gender identity and expression, or jotería, derives from my experiences navigating the ivory tower and trying to understand where I can exist within that space. As a scholar/ activist, I  focus on co-creating counternarratives of queer Latinx/a/o individuals within higher education.

Navigating Higher Education As “outsiders” of a social group, norm, and/or expectation of conformity, we experience multiple layers of oppression in our existence. We will discuss how the concept of interest convergence (Bell, 1980) comes into play when we are invited into conversations by certain institutional stakeholders. Interest convergence designates that Black people achieving civil rights occurred only as a result of white people benefitting from the outcome. Bell (1980) described interest convergence as it relates to desegregation, given that it was seen to benefit the privileged white people, therefore creating support. In this chapter, we operationalize interest convergence when describing our existence, respect, and interactions that occur when it is to the benefit of cisgender, heterosexual people in the academy, or our institution in aggregate form.

Bri I currently oversee and direct a center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students at a Hispanic-serving and minority-serving designated institution in the California State University (CSU) system in South Los Angeles. I also am an adjunct faculty in an Ethnic and Women’s Studies department at another CSU institution. As someone assigned female, but self-identified as a transgender, nonbinary masculine person, I have had to navigate insider/ outsider perspectives for years, especially when experiencing changes in my gender expression and identity publicly. Negotiating my own identity in academic spaces can be a delicate dance at times being read as a lesbian, at times as a cisgender man, and at times with complete confusion by people who interact with me. Although my existence perplexes people in different facets of my life, I experience the most negative stigmatization psychologically as an

134  Bri C. Sérráno and Sergio A. Gonzalez administrator and student in higher education, since I do not fit into a neat box that people want my gender to conform to. Social nuances such as the way I am greeted by cisgender heterosexual men, queer people, and cisgender women vary from a handshake, elbow bump, hug, and nod that looks and feels different from years ago. As previously described in my positionality, as an insider, I have the ability to serve as a chameleon of sorts within groups of cisgender men. For example, I have been accepted by colleagues as “one of the guys” and notice the openness cisgender, heterosexual men share with me about their own thoughts and experiences that I did not have prior to socially or medically transitioning. Though I  experience this in many ways as validation, I  also am noticeably more respected for my opinion and expertise. I can also relate to cisgender women since I  have experienced some of the same instances of misogyny, sexism, and sexual harassment as they have. Despite still having secondary sex traits as female and empathetic ability to connect with cisgender women, I feel that I am still considered safe, although with not as many interests in common as before. As an outsider, my positionality situated me as the token “trans” person on campus while also directing the LGBTQ+ center. My professional role is often seen as my personal role. Though that may be true, as one of few “out” transgender people on campus, my advocacy in support of transgender students on campus often becomes questioned if I am only situating my own “agenda” as a transgender person, versus my professional experiences and recommendations. Similarly, as someone assigned female and socialized to engage empathetically as a woman, I can have the expectation of people professionally seeking me to come across in meetings or committees as soft, intrinsically caretaking, and prioritizing others’ feelings. I do not fit into a neat box of gender norms and/or expressions, which at times can create tensions with others if I do not communicate or exist in the way I am supposed to.

Sergio As a full-time doctoral candidate, I currently hold many positions as I navigate and survive academia. I  work as a research associate part-time for a center that does work in connection to minority-serving institutions around the country. The center is located on the east coast in the state of New Jersey, at Rutgers University to be exact, and is designated as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution (AANAPISI) and Hispanic-serving institution (HSI). Because of my social location being on the west coast (California), I am able to work remotely. Although I have been embraced in this place and space as a first-generation doctoral student, joto, Latinx, femme, and cisgender man, to name a few, it has also brought to my attention how this has not been the case for me always. Reflecting on my previous roles within higher education, I have always had to navigate this notion of being an insider/outsider simultaneously. This has led me to question what

Queer, Trans, and Brown in Higher Education 135 kind of positions to apply to professionally, as my safety has certainly been questioned. Although I acknowledge the privileges I carry being masculine-presenting, being cisgender, and identifying as a man, I also hold interlocking oppressions being a joto and femme. When I center the kaleidoscope that makes up the intersections of my identity within academia, for example, I am reminded of how I have been socialized to pick and choose which parts of me are acceptable in these spaces. I am reminded of the many times I have had to decide whether I was going to show up and present as Latinx or joto because showing up as both was considered “too much” or “extra.” As I critically reflect on my existence within the walls of higher education, I have grown to embrace and love being Latinx and joto as merging parts of my whole. This becomes evident in my scholarship, conference presentations, and the service I engage with overall. One cannot exist without the other, and although there are many more aspects of my identity makeup, Latinx and joto have always been at the forefront as driving forces on my life’s journey, both in and out of academia.

Pláticas Throughout the process of co-creating this manuscript, we decided to use pláticas as our methodological approach. Within our kinship (friendship), in many ways, pláticamos about everything. This includes sharing ethical chisme, familial stories, stories of pain, advice to one another as we navigate the doctoral process, and so forth. Whether it is through text messages or virtual spaces such as Zoom, we communicate through conversations that always lead to a form of healing and kinship. In a simple way, pláticas can be defined as informal conversations and/or ways of communicating, sharing of stories that often center and validate people and their lived experiences (Fierros & Delgado Bernal, 2016). The pláticas we engage in “inform the method through which [we] learn, teach, and experience reality and vice versa” (Fierros & Delgado Bernal, 2016, p. 108). It is important to note that Fierros and Delgado Bernal (2016) centered the five principles of pláticas as a Chicana/Latina feminist methodology, method, and epistemology, depending on how it is employed. For us, as a method, our pláticas provided a space to co-create, dive into the meaning-making process of our lived experiences, and ultimately provided the potential to nurture a space for healing (Fierros & Delgado Bernal, 2016). Additionally, we understand that our existence cannot fully materialize through a Chicana/Latina feminist (CLF) epistemology; therefore, we depart from CLF pláticas and disrupt heteronormative ways of knowing and being through “queer and trans pláticas” (Gonzalez et al., in press).

QT (Queer and Trans) Pláticas In the following section, we highlight some (but not all) emergent themes that came about from our pláticas. These themes include (1) exploitation, (2)

136  Bri C. Sérráno and Sergio A. Gonzalez mental olympics and code-switching, (3) prioritization of whom, (4) authentically existing, and (5) genuine curiosity and building community.

Exploitation The feeling of being tapped by a university president to be on a campus-wide committee set to address their campus climate is complicated. Although I (Bri) have served on an “advisory” board before, my selection by the president for a presidential advisory board was coded in exploitation. People often discuss the idea of wanting to be “at the table” where decisions are made. Yet the burden of carrying transgender and nonbinary people’s stories, experiences, and administrative violence often comes at my personal expense (Spade, 2015). There was an instance where I  met with a staff member that oversaw the “male” success initiative on campus and he told me about a student emailing him because the program used terms like “brother” to refer to one another and “men” constantly. The student shared that they use “they/them” pronouns and did not feel affirmed or recognized with the gendered language, given their nonbinary identity. The first question the staff member asked me after sharing the conversation with the student via email was, “How do we stay relevant?” I immediately was taken aback that I had this immediate ask of labor on my part as a trans person, LGBTQ+ center director, and social justice advocate. I  took his question as benefitting capitalistic intents with how to serve students to look better versus actually being invested in affirming students’ existence.

Mental Olympics and Code-Switching Another theme of our plática involved combining what seems to be mental gymnastics while code-switching to literally survive in academia. I (Bri) described the need to code-switch with regard to being conscious about what I wear, my tone in meetings, and what restroom I use when certain people are physically near the facility. This includes the fact that I oversee an LGBTQ+ center and have had people think that my advocacy as a professional is creating my own “agenda” because I am an “out” transgender and queer person. Administrators are less likely to take me seriously when discussing the need for gender equity on campus if I do not immediately center students (as compared to discussing transgender faculty and staff issues). I shared the following during our plática: I think about the long-term outcome as a practitioner. Am I going to get what I want? Am I going to get what could best serve the students? And sometimes people don’t want to hear what I have to say. I need to navigate consciously and consistently what would best situate students in discourse with administrators. Although my role is in student affairs,

Queer, Trans, and Brown in Higher Education 137 I am the only LGBTQ+-serving practitioner for all students, faculty, and staff on a campus—over 19,000 people. I (Sergio) also share that my experience of code-switching involves multiple internal questions about how I exist authentically. I shared the following during our plática: And code-switching, and like, okay, well do I  turn this part of me off? Do I  turn this part of myself on? Am I  gayer here? Am I  more heteronormatively-presenting here? Do I not say anything? The moment I start to become myself, what’s that going to mean in this space? Walking into male, Latino-dominated spaces, I sit with these questions and grapple with what I  can share and how my safety will be impacted by my actions. This frame of thinking exhibits the mental olympics and seemingly exhaustive exercises I endure on a regular basis in order to negotiate who I will be in a space, what will be shared, and how to manage my identity. I resonate with Bri’s sentiment about code-switching. I shared the following during our plática: “Things that stood out to me as you were giving your response was the whole code-switching, and how I think it has become so normalized that we forget that we’re doing it because it’s like an auto reflex.” What comes to mind for me (Sergio) is how the perpetuation and/or normalization of the patriarchy comes into existence through the constant use of code-switching.

Prioritization of Whom? I (Bri) need to subconsciously consider how I  show up to meetings, programs, and events and provide services. I actively consider, “who am I prioritizing at this moment?” This includes instances when I  wear something perceived to be masculine, the depth of my voice when I speak, when I use a restroom and avoid eye contact, and when I correct people (or do not) about my pronouns in the workplace. Though these instances can be violent and discomforting for me, there have been times where I prioritize the feelings of Black and brown cisgender people so I do not come off as “aggressive,” or try to be “polite” so as to not have people become defensive about their privilege. I also recently started a new position and am thinking about how I experience being in-person during the pandemic at work and how I am perceived. I know that there are bridges that need to be built and consideration as to how my existence contributes to that if I  do or do not code-switch. These contextual circumstances become complicated and nuanced in how I engage socially and professionally with coworkers because I  direct the LGBTQ+ center on campus. These are the type of questions that I ask myself: Does my role cause me to need to be more patient with coworkers? Do I need to prioritize their feelings over mine? Do my anxiety disorder and masculinity need to be “tamed” for cisgender and/or heterosexual people in order for me to reach the outcomes

138  Bri C. Sérráno and Sergio A. Gonzalez that I want for education and learning? Do I ever get to “turn off” my educator hat while at work if I am experiencing violence and harm? The easy answer to this is no. The harder questions are, what am I  sacrificing if I  prioritize myself? And, what are the professional repercussions if I  prioritize myself? For example, when I  have had colleagues stare at me after I  correct their use of my pronouns, do I prioritize my existence and validation, or do I prioritize their comfort? Similarly, when I  hear deans make transphobic jokes in committee meetings, my labor is required since other colleagues do not address this, and I put myself in a vulnerable position professionally as an atwill employee. I need to constantly consider the relational and political implications of addressing transphobia. In response to who is being prioritized, I (Sergio) often think about who and what is prioritized within institutions of higher education. I question the purpose of the trending topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and who it really is prioritizing. An example of this can be seen in DEI initiatives across institutions where, unfortunately, many Black, Indigenous, and people of color are positioned to lead these charges and are ultimately exploited in the process, as the labor falls on them to educate their campus community. Questions that come to mind include the following: Are institutions ready to uphold the values in their DEI statements? Do they understand the impact of applying DEI work within oppressive structures? And how are institutions holding themselves accountable to executing authentic DEI work?

Authentically Existing As mentioned previously, I (Bri) (sub)consciously am mindful about how I experience literally existing in society. I will say that I do not like why the Covid-19 pandemic happened, how it has impacted millions of people, or how it has endured. However, I do find comfort in being able to work from home, as a result. I like being able to express my gender without people staring at me, questioning my presence, or walking on eggshells so as to not misgender me. Although I may be the first “out” transgender person that people have met, since only 26 percent of adults in the United States know someone who is trans (Minkin  & Brown, 2021), it is still incredibly uncomfortable when people walk on eggshells around me. I often notice when people feel uneasy around me. As I shared with Sergio during our plática: So they get really nervous and it causes people to get caught up in their words and then they misgender me, and then my coworkers are like, actually it’s this. And then the person gets even more nervous because I walked by them. I literally cannot exist without people being uncomfortable around me. When this happens, I remind myself that I am amazing and deserve to live my full authentic self. Students that I serve have provided so much affirmation for who

Queer, Trans, and Brown in Higher Education 139 I am and immediately know how to refer to me, do not hesitate, and I think it is due to shared trauma, joy, and authentic affirmation of one another. When it comes to authentically existing, I (Sergio) have often seen myself as an outsider because of how I have been socially conditioned in academic spaces. I  have been told many times, “Your work is very niche, and what you stand for and what you do is awesome but I don’t know if it’ll be something that’s mainstream or something that people will pick up.” In February of 2021, I  published a research brief titled Jotería Identity and Consciousness: Pláticas of Co-Creation with Undergraduate Queer Latinx Students. My institution received hate mail in opposition of this exploratory research, where terms such as “inadequate” and “fallacious methodology” were used to demean the voices of my co-creators and myself. The department met with me to provide “support” by microagressing me and questioning the validity of this research and where it was published. Though I did not feel fully supported by my department, fortunately, my advisor and dissertation committee reached out immediately to meet and process what had just happened. My response to these comments has gone from a space and place where I thought I wanted to fit into mainstream academic settings, to a space and place where I am demanding, and not asking, to exist. As shared during our plática: So, in essence, we’ve been trendsetters [in the queer and trans work we do] in terms of, we’re doing this shit because we’re looking for respect, representation, and just to coexist in and be in this space [higher education], front and center as well.

Genuine Care and Finding Community The pandemic has upended and suspended the ability to create a community in ways that were possible pre-pandemic. We have been privileged and able to stay connected to other queer and trans Latinx scholars through the QTLatinx Collective led by Dr. Antonío Duran. As a collective group with shared experiences, we can exist without questioning social circumstances, seek to support one another through the traumas of academia, and uplift each other through celebrations and learning experiences. The QTLatinx Collective has established a space for expressing the genuine care and concern that is so often forgotten in the capitalistic, white supremacist academic culture. As we processed our plática, though there were many moments of pain, trauma, and questioning of the validity of the academy overall, we also saw sparks of love, joy, self-love, validation, and microaffirmations. As described by Solórzano and Huber (2020): We seek to name and theorize such moments [microaffirmations] in this chapter—those everyday forms of affirmation and validation that [Queer and trans] People of Color engage in a variety of public and private settings. Those nods, smiles, embraces, use of language, and other actions

140  Bri C. Sérráno and Sergio A. Gonzalez that express acknowledgment, respect, and self-worth—what we call racial micro affirmations. (p. 85) The plática that Bri and I embarked on created many ripples that interconnected beautiful moments of affirmation for one another. Being vulnerable about our mental health and sharing how we navigate academia with generalized anxiety disorder and ADHD, brought comfort and beauty to our collective struggle. Though it was not our intention to create microaffirmations for one another, they organically came to exist, creating a space and place to heal from the trauma and pain academia has bestowed upon us for so many years.

Reflections Throughout our plática, many topics, questions, and emotions became visible. We found ourselves in very vulnerable positions as we disclosed our fears, our hopes, ways of surviving, etc. We found commonality as outsiders to academia because of being too queer, too trans, and not fitting our research into the white supremacist standards of academia. We experienced being insiders in different ways, mostly in ways that helped create change at our institutions. However, we often also experience outsiderness when our institutions used us for their own self-interests: to check boxes, stay “up to date,” or be “relevant.” Usually, as scholars and practitioners, we are tasked with providing recommendations for future research and practice. Instead we want to offer you, the reader, some critical questions to consider and critically reflect on as you engage your own insider/outsider paradox: What do we mean when you say “community”? What does community look like? Who does this community serve or not serve? Who can we actively be in community with? Further, where does community exist? Who are you in community with and who do you inadvertently exclude? Who do you see as valid and what are the implications?

References Bell, D. A. (1980). Brown v. Board of education and the interest-convergence dilemma. Harvard Law Review, 93(3), 518–533. https://doi.org/10.2307/ 1340546 Chang, H. (2008). Autoethnography as method. Left Coast Press. Chang, H., Ngunjiri, F., & Hernandez, K. A. C. (2016). Collaborative autoethnography. Routledge. Collins, P. H. (1999). Reflections on the outsider within. Journal of Career Development, 26(1), 85–88. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F089484539902600107 Duran, A. (2019). Queer and of color: A  systematic literature review on queer students of color in higher education scholarship. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 12(4), 390–400. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/ dhe0000084

Queer, Trans, and Brown in Higher Education 141 Fierros, C. O.,  & Delgado Bernal, D. (2016). Vamos a platicar: The contours of pláticas as Chicana/Latina feminist methodology. Chicana/Latina Studies, 15(2), 98–121. Garvey, J. C., Mobley, S. D., Summerville, K. S., & Moore, G. T. (2019). Queer and trans* students of color: Navigating identity disclosure and college contexts. The Journal of Higher Education, 90(1), 150–178. https://doi.org/ https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2018.1449081 Gonzalez, Á. D. J., Orozco, R. C., & Gonzalez, S. A. (in press). Joteando y mariconadas: Theorizing queer pláticas for queer and/or trans Latinx/a/o research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Gonzalez, S. A. (2021). Jotería identity and consciousness: Pláticas of co-creation with undergraduate queer Latinx students at PWIs. Rutgers Samuel Dewitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice, Rutgers University. https:// proctor.gse.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/Joteria%20Brief_0.pdf Lassiter, L. E. (2005). The Chicago guide to collaborative ethnography. University of Chicago Press. Lorde, A. (2007). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Crossing Press. Minkin, R.,  & Brown, A. (2021, July  27). Rising shares of U.S. adults know someone who is transgender or goes by gender-neutral pronouns. Pew Research Center. www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/07/27/rising-shares-of-u-sadults-know-someone-who-is-transgender-or-goes-by-gender-neutral-pronouns/ Orozco, R. C., Gonzalez, S. A., & Duran, A. (2021). Centering queer Latinx/ a/o experiences and knowledge: Guidelines for using jotería studies in higher education qualitative research. Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity, 7(1), 118–148. https://doi.org/10.15763/issn.2642-2387. 2021.7.1.117-148 Solórzano, D. G., & Huber, L. P. (2020). Racial microaggressions: Using critical race theory to respond to everyday racism. Teachers College Press. Spade, D. (2015). Normal life: Administrative violence, critical trans politics, and the limits of law. Duke University Press.

13 Today’s Grad Students, Tomorrow’s Faculty LGBTQIA+ Graduate Student Experiences Navigating the Insider/Outsider Paradox in Engineering Brandon Bakka, Madeleine Jennings, and Jerry A. Yang LGBTQIA+1 doctoral students occupy a uniquely contested place in the higher education system. As students, researchers, employees, teaching assistants, educators, potential activists for social justice, and more, LGBTQIA+ graduate students shoulder a significant burden of intellectual labor placed upon them by the academic institution. Additionally, those aspiring toward academic careers learn disciplinary cultural norms, values, and practices through their advisors, peers, and institutional faculty (Austin  & McDaniels, 2006). This socialization is particularly important to a graduate student’s future career, especially if they are interested in pursuing academia. However, for LGBTQIA+ engineering graduate students, socialization presents a juxtaposition in which they are forced to confront incidents of erasure and discrimination via the politics of depoliticization throughout the scientific community while maintaining their authentic identities—existing as outsiders within academia. In particular, the field of engineering is undergirded by a deep-seated detachment from any political and sociological considerations. This detachment, combined with a pervasive racist, sexist, and heteronormative ideology, gives rise to uniquely oppressive cultural phenomena, such as depoliticization, techno-social dualism, and meritocracy (Cech, 2013; Faulkner, 2007). These phenomena seek to decouple scientific work from social, ethical, and humanist values, thereby sterilizing it from its inherent and embedded human component. The systematic extraction of the inherent humanity within engineering and our collective responsibility to it produce an ideological void in which white supremacist, cishetero-patriarchial, and other toxic cultures brew. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community immersed within this toxic culture struggle with both mental and physical health as they encounter workplace cultures that explicitly and violently condemn them (Bilimoria  & Stewart, 2009; Cech, 2013; Cech  & Waidzunas, 2011, 2021; Yoder  & Mattheis, 2016). The academy is not immune to assimilating into the oppressive ideological structures that demarcate engineering from other disciplines, impacting students and faculty alike. DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-13

Today’s Grad Students, Tomorrow’s Faculty 143 Navigating within this environment as LGBTQIA+ produces a sharp, constant tension between wanting to be one of the few activist-oriented LGBTQIA+ engineering role models and the pressure to conform to the academic cultural norms in STEM. This tension is only exacerbated as one advances through the academy. As one gains the institutional power that could be used to create change, they are increasingly alienated by their LGBTQIA+ identity. This is the insider/outsider paradox, first described by Patricia Hill Collins (1986). Faculty and student affairs officials must understand these cultural factors and foster programming, spaces, and interactions between student groups to enable student resistance and identity development. In this chapter, we recount our own lived experiences as LGBTQIA+ engineering graduate students as a means to highlight the oppressive nature of the neoliberal, capitalist, and exploitative foundations of the academy. Our chapter highlights the many ways in which external and internal cultural factors affect the meaning-making processes for LGBTQIA+ doctoral students, particularly those in engineering fields aspiring toward faculty positions. This chapter features our counternarratives as LGBTQIA+-identified engineering and engineering education doctoral students. Together, we reflect on our experiences as undergraduates and graduate students in engineering and theorize how our continued involvement in the academy has manifested. Through our collaborative, autoethnographic narrative inquiry, we explored how we have navigated engineering and how our stories were shaped by the institutional resources that were intended to serve us. Notably, our counternarratives highlight ontological and epistemological differences in how we, as LGBTQIA+ graduate students, have adapted to and continue to individually negotiate with hegemonic structures in our fields (Butler, 1988; Sedgwick, 1990). Prior to our counternarratives, we want to acknowledge the theoretical roots of this book’s insider/outsider paradox framework. It is derived explicitly from Black Womanist thought, specifically from the work of Patricia Hill Collins. Black Womanist and queer of color critique (QoCC) scholars and activists such as Angela Smith (2012), bell hooks (1987), and Roderick Ferguson (2003) understood the social categorizations of gender, sexuality, ability, class, and race to be both socially fabricated by hegemonic whiteness and materially felt by communities who do not benefit from whiteness. Thus, whiteness is constructed by defining precisely what it is not, meaning that the reproduction of whiteness cannot happen without the categorization and exploitation of those who are oppositional to it. Thus, we acknowledge our subjectivities here as researchers who benefit from whiteness, through either being white ourselves or (subversively or otherwise) aligning ourselves with institutions that reproduce whiteness.

Jerry To be successful in engineering and achieve your career goal [of being an engineering professor], you have to first and foremost be technically competent.

144  Brandon Bakka et al. Such was the advice that my highly esteemed engineering professor gave me in my third year of undergrad. At the time, I was at a crossroads in my academic life. I knew I wanted to go to grad school, but I wasn’t sure in what field. I had devoted years of my life to engineering and loved the semiconductor industry, but I was also passionate about education research and improving the state of undergraduate engineering education. What to do? It seemed that my time having a foot in both fields was coming to an end. As an able-bodied, cisgender, out, gay, Asian-American, male graduate student in engineering navigating the academy, my insider/outsider position forced me to compartmentalize my work, but it also enabled me to enact multiple modes of queer resistance in engineering and education spaces. Across the various spaces I  inhabit, the identities that make me an insider and/or an outsider are fluid and constantly change, resisting definition or categorization. I came into college wanting to do engineering. I  wasn’t the type to take things apart or work with my hands as a kid, but math had always been my strong suit, and I  had really enjoyed the electricity and magnetism physics lab I took in high school, so I decided that the marriage of two similar fields wouldn’t be too bad. And for the most part, engineering treated me well; after struggling along with everyone else in the first-year weed-out classes, I found my academic footing. I did very well in my engineering classes. I got a research internship in the semiconductor field, where I fell in love with semiconductor physics research. During my sophomore year, I began to TA for courses I’d done well in. For a strongly antisocial introvert, doing well in engineering classes and TAing for courses achieved multiple goals: it furthered my persistent interest in teaching; it connected me with peers and professors, fostering invaluable friendship networks within the academic space; and, arguably most importantly, it established my insider status as an engineer to myself as well as my colleagues. I realized that establishing myself as a technically competent insider in engineering early on was crucial for a future career in engineering academia. Along with my own internalized homophobia at the time, I made a conscious choice to return to the closet when I entered engineering. I didn’t want my sexuality to impact my engineering work, for people to think less of my work than my straight colleagues’, and for individuals to invalidate my work because of who I was. To me, the solution was easy: Compartmentalize my identities into neat little boxes that I opened only at specific places and times with particular people. In fact, engineering lent itself perfectly to that mindset, as the technical and depoliticized nature of the work made it easy to disengage from the social and personal issues that faced me in my non-engineering life (Cech, 2013). As I specialized in semiconductors and began applying to graduate programs, my engineering academic and research advisors reinforced my compartmentalization by placing heavy emphasis on technical knowledge and skills as the foundation of my success.

Today’s Grad Students, Tomorrow’s Faculty 145 Despite my efforts to compartmentalize my sexuality, that little gay piece inside of me that loved cock still wanted to be nurtured in my undergraduate years. Since I didn’t feel quite at home in either the engineering or queer social circles I found myself in, I took courses in a wide range of fields, including LGBTQIA+ studies. These courses were often quite transformational and even cathartic, as they forced me to reckon with my internalized homophobia. For the first time, I  encountered queer people, spaces, and ways of thinking. I explored new modes of expression, understandings of the world, and languages of communication in ways that I  had only understood viscerally as a closeted gay man. These courses resonated with me so deeply because I saw that there was a rigor and an epistemology behind LGBTQIA+/queer thought, which I was also able to apply in my own life to think critically about the world and learn about myself. Removed from static, rigid, engineering ways of thinking, I reinvented myself within a new political and epistemological framework, coming to recognize critical theories and personal narrative as unique sources for rich, deep internal study. After careful reflection on my experiences and the desire to produce scholarly work in my undergraduate years to jumpstart my academic career, I decided to write a thesis on LGBTQIA+ engineering students, student agency, and queer resistance, resulting in two journal articles and a conference paper (Yang, Boklage, et al., 2021; Yang, 2021a, 2021b). My novel contribution to literature established me as an insider within the also academically rigorous engineering education space. More importantly, they led me into thinking about queer resistance and how queer resistance practices function in academia. I continued this DEI-focused work in graduate school by continuing to mentor students who adopted my thesis project in my old research group, joining an engineering education design lab, and pursuing a master’s degree in education. Straddling the two disciplines, and the two labs, I couldn’t help but be constantly reminded of where the disciplinary boundaries for each space were. If I were giving a lab research update to my engineering advisor, I would not think to mention that I am also working on two engineering education conference papers, partly because it felt irrelevant and out of place and because I would prefer to not have him meddling in my engineering education work. Vice versa, it felt odd to discuss semiconductor fabrication technologies with my engineering education advisor because the everyday minutiae of my technical research was irrelevant to my work with her. Through the utilization of discreet engineeringstyle rationales, I maintained my insider status in both fields of study, without disturbing the peace, by further compartmentalizing my work and multiple responsibilities for each lab space. The fields were so different that one could give me a mental break from the other since none of my work ever really bled over to the other, and I didn’t see them intersecting in the near future. At the intersection of both engineering and engineering education, my insider/outsider positionality led me to partition much of my academic work

146  Brandon Bakka et al. into dualities: engineering versus non-engineering, technical versus nontechnical, and detached versus deeply personal. In engineering, my division of interests is a navigational technique to survive—to preserve my engineering technical career while pursuing my other academic interests. Though it isn’t for everyone, this form of somewhat conformist existence-as-resistance has served me well to advance my technical career. It has even provided gateways and access to actively promote change within the ivory tower of engineering academia. In engineering education, my queer/marginalized engineering students work leads to a more transformational resistance where I theorize about marginalized students’ agency and its implications for stakeholders in engineering education (Solórzano  & Bernal, 2001). Compartmentalization was the solution to my insider/outsider paradox, in the sense that I  worked within the disciplinary norms of each environment to chart two separate roads to academic success and queer resistance in grad school—two different academic trajectories, two different paths of resistance, two parallel lines that, for now, do not intersect.

Brandon Growing up, I  always wanted to be a scientist. I  was so curious about the world around me, and the more I  learned, the more I  was in awe of how complex everything is beneath the surface. Most of all I loved how objective this knowledge was. Although the meaning of even the greatest works of art was always debatable, I thought science pursued a much larger universal truth. Everything followed a precise, objective logic and could be explained if you studied it enough. I  believed that with enough hard work and dedication, anyone could be a successful scientist. Soon enough, I went off to a small, engineering-focused university excited to be making my dream a reality. Despite being able to thrive academically, I failed to connect with most of my peers as I began to come to terms with my queer identity. I occupied the liminal space as both an insider (denoted by my whiteness and masculine presentation among the other white, male engineering students) and an outsider (as a queer person surrounded by hypermasculine, homophobic, and sexist peers) (Cech & Waidzunas, 2011; Miller et al., 2021). I spent my whole first year trapped in this space, as I not only went to class with these peers but lived with them in an all-male dormitory. Because I looked like them, the men in my dorm assumed I was like them, meaning they did not censor their homophobia, sexism, or racism around me. I couldn’t escape this paradox of being “one of the boys,” and no matter how hard I tried to perform the masculinity that was expected of me, I never could rectify that with my queerness. Living in this environment took its toll on me, and I became deeply depressed. This time in my residence hall was my first real experience feeling othered, and I began to worry that despite my academic skills, I could never succeed because of who I was. Living with engineering students opened my eyes to the true culture of engineering. Throughout my undergraduate years in engineering, I  saw

Today’s Grad Students, Tomorrow’s Faculty 147 firsthand how white, male engineers dehumanized marginalized people, erased their contributions, questioned their qualifications, and violently pushed them out of engineering altogether (Cech  & Waidzunas, 2011; McGee, 2020). STEM claims to be purely meritocratic, rewarding good work ethics before any other characteristic. Yet engineering blinds itself with this “objective” logic and completely fails to see the inherent biases within the meritocracy that reifies structures of white supremacy, homophobia, and more. I now realize the “objectivity” I once loved is actually a powerful tool of oppression designed to push out anyone who is not a white, heterosexual, cisgender man. As a white, male-presenting queer Ph.D. student, I occupy a strange place in the social dynamic of engineering. In many settings, I  can disguise my queerness so that I ostensibly fit the strict, white, rigid mold of an “engineer.” Ironically, my ability to become the quintessential engineer does not bring me comfort or security. Internally, I know that my queerness will always mark me as an “other.” Whether I choose to conceal my queerness or embrace it, I  am an outsider in engineering. I  do recognize that, even considering my queer identity, I have an immense amount of white, male privilege that has enabled my past and current successes. However, my progression through the engineering academic pipeline reveals that the oppression I witnessed and experienced does not disappear—it only changes form. My unique and precarious position as a very privileged, yet still marginalized, graduate engineering student positions me as an outsider embedded within. There are many ways in which my insider/outsider status manifests. As Collins (1986) discussed, being an outsider within has informed my critical perspective of the racism, sexism, and heteronormativity in the STEM community. Seeing these manifestations, it often infuriates me how students and faculty alike seem to go out of their way to ignore and devalue any social or political issues in most STEM spaces (Cech & Waidzunas, 2011). For some of us, just existing in STEM is an act of social defiance, and to deny us space for that is to deny us part of our identity. The oppression and erasure that I experienced in STEM ultimately drove me to find a place where I would be valued for my experiences and my identities. I found solace in social science and education, where I currently conduct research on the queer engineering student experience, run faculty trainings, and promote student activism in the engineering college. I found meaning and acceptance by academically engaging with my queer identity in my research. However, I still faced pushback from faculty in the engineering department, including my ex-Ph.D. advisor. In engineering, social sciences are seen as inferior, pseudo-scientific, and as a waste of time and energy when there is “real” science to do. I was under immense pressure to put in more time in “real” engineering research by spending more time in the lab to collect more data and publish. My mentors in engineering continuously told me, both implicitly and explicitly, that I would never succeed in STEM or become a faculty member if I devoted time to equity work.

148  Brandon Bakka et al. Constant disapproval from my engineering advisor about my education research and activism eroded what little faith and joy I  had from studying science. Even worse, I  began to believe that my equity work would never be respected, which had a detrimental impact on my self-worth and mental health. I had to leave my first research group over differences with my advisor, and I was left in limbo. I made the choice to leave this lab because of its chilly climate (Cech & Waidzunas, 2011), but doing so greatly damaged my confidence as a researcher. I was convinced that I was a failure. I wasn’t dedicated enough to engineering. I wasn’t hard working enough. I believed that there was some fundamental flaw with me that meant I would never succeed. Leaving my engineering lab influenced every aspect of my life, catapulting me into a dark haze for months. During this time, I seriously considered leaving my academic program altogether, partially in protest for the way I  had been treated and partially out of shame for my perceived failure. I struggled to find a new lab because I had lost faith in myself as a researcher and didn’t think I could trust another advisor. It seemed that the most celebrated faculty were often those with the worst track records as exploitative managers. I felt there was nowhere in STEM where my identities and values wouldn’t be squashed and my labor wouldn’t be exploited. I questioned if I could truly make positive impacts as a faculty member or if I would just end up complicit in the same oppressive systems that harmed me. Right when I was about to leave my program, I found a new advisor who supported me as I was and saw genuine value in the activist work that I was doing. He was the first person in engineering to even tell me that I could succeed in STEM while devoting time to equity work. He had done it himself, saw the need for things to change, and supported all work to do so. I am incredibly thankful for this newfound support, but I also know advisors like him can be rare. My story here is not unique. In fact, the anguish that I  experienced as a result of being queer in engineering was no accident. The dominant class designs systems of oppression to inflict pain in order to coerce obedience (Foucault, 1977). One of the major reasons that STEM has made such little progress in recruiting and retaining marginalized students is that it punishes those that try to make actual change or disrupt the status quo in any way by either forcing them to conform or pushing them out of the system entirely. Worst of all, society then tells these students that this rejection is the result of a personal failing, of not being smart enough to succeed in engineering in the first place. Despite all of my negative experiences, it would be incorrect to say that I haven’t experienced the benefits of being an insider. As a graduate student, my thoughts and opinions carry much more weight with faculty than they did when I was an undergraduate. Being white and male-bodied only adds weight to this privilege. As an undergraduate, I don’t think I ever could have managed to secure a full hour of departmental meetings for a training, and I would never have imagined that I  could talk so directly with faculty as I  do now. I have been able to lead a panel at a national conference, and was even selected

Today’s Grad Students, Tomorrow’s Faculty 149 to author part of the book you are reading right now. I truly cannot imagine being given those platforms as an undergraduate, even if my skill levels and qualifications were the exact same as they are now. Getting to do these things has helped me to persevere in engineering. Even though progress will be slow, I can actually see the potential for change. I have met many others who are also outsiders in one way or another, and I know we are all in this fight together. I know as I advance in my career I will face the same (if not more) pressure as an outsider within the system of academia (Bilimoria  & Stewart, 2009; Cech  & Waidzunas, 2021). However, I  refuse to let this system break me or my spirit, and I am far too stubborn to give up without a good fight, no matter how daunting it seems.

Madeleine I spent most of my childhood in a rural Texas town that taught me quite early on what it looked like to be a model Christian girl. We were supposed to be smart, quiet, obedient, pretty, humble, and pure of heart, mind, and body when worshiping God as well as the men in our lives. Early on, my pastors, teachers, and other adults in power set the expectation that girls are to marry a nice white boy after college and somehow simultaneously keep house, have his babies, and maintain a career (but make a bit less money than him, so as not to emasculate him). These hyper-heteronormative, patriarchal, and frankly, white supremacist expectations that I grew up learning never quite sunk in the way that they did for other white girls around me. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I realized why I instinctively felt like I was out of place in this space. I was queer, and this realization marked the start of a hermeneutic journey that I’m still going through. When I left home for college to study engineering (which was, I might add, already a taboo for a girl, according to folks in my hometown), I  began to make queer friends and experiment with my sexuality and gender presentation. I went to Pride events and proudly held the hand of my first girlfriend in public. I was diagnosed with a mental disability and began learning how to accommodate it. I came out to my family and started living my life on my own terms. However, I  began to realize that I  was out everywhere except for the engineering spaces I  was immersed in. The culture of these spaces reminded me too much of the town that I had grown up in—steeped in the same queer-phobic, white supremacist respectability politics that I spent my free time trying to unlearn and escape. Most troubling was the insistence to binary thinking, exemplified by assigning value to things as good/bad, masculine/feminine, right/wrong. Looking back, I  recognize this paradigm as positivism. I have a lot to say about critiques of this paradigm, particularly in how it manifests in STEM (Bowler, 1990; Micklos & Carlson, 2000; Neejer, 2015). However, I will save them for another venue in the interest of space. Despite the toxic culture of engineering, I was deeply interested in the engineering curriculum, which helped me land a research gig in ferrous metallurgy

150  Brandon Bakka et al. that blossomed into a three-year internship at a local steel mill. I adored the research that I was doing and was positive that I had found my calling. My coworkers, on the other hand, were mostly white, hyper-masculine, conservative men. In other words, this internship was more of what I grew up with (Cech  & Waidzunas, 2011). Despite being interested in the work and performing above what was expected of me, I again found myself in opposition to the dominant culture in my work space. My mental health suffered, and I found myself negotiating my own morals and values in order to fit in. This dissonance was too much for me to compartmentalize, so I decided to come out to my coworkers as a way to mitigate the mental stress of keeping my sexuality and politics closeted. Surreptitiously, I had just gotten engaged to my partner a few months prior to this conversation. Since I had been tentatively offered a job and I felt secure in my position at the mill, I came out to my supervisor during the exit interview by mentioning that I was engaged. He was very happy for me, but confused that I hadn’t brought it up earlier. I began crying as I told him that I hadn’t mentioned it because I was in a queer relationship and I was afraid I would be fired for it. He assured me that this wouldn’t happen and that he supported me. I left that interview feeling safe as I went back to school to finish up the final year of my engineering degree. Despite assurances to the contrary, I was informed a few weeks later that my position had been terminated due to “a shortage of funds in the department.” Later, I found out that my position had, in fact, not been terminated and that a white man had been hired in my place. I was obviously not welcome at the mill, be it because of my queerness, my femininity, my disability, my politics, or anything else that othered me. The stability and acceptance that I thought I had created for myself within engineering had been destroyed. I was devastated and disillusioned with engineering, and I wanted out. However, I was so far into my program that starting a new major would effectively be starting over as a second-year undergraduate. So, instead of leaving engineering, I decided (with the guidance and mentorship of two LGBT-allied faculty) to go to graduate school for engineering education to study the experiences of other queer people in engineering. I had a place to go, and now I (mostly) feel at home in engineering education. However, my lived experiences during a particularly transitory semester taught me that claiming queerness also meant sacrificing (some) feelings of safety and security in this academic space. Being a palatable (i.e., white or white-adjacent, cisgender, non-disabled, ideologically liberal, monogamous) lesbian, gay, or bisexual in higher education is tolerated, and in some cases, even enthusiastically supported. Thus, my shift from the repressive atmosphere of engineering to the comparatively welcoming environment of higher education allowed me to grow into myself and consider my subjectivities more closely and critically. As I began to unearth the complexities of my own sexuality within the tolerant environment of higher education through my introspective study of queer theory, I found that I was compelled to also interrogate my complicated relationship to gender and “womanhood.” Simultaneous to this gender interrogation, I was also dealing

Today’s Grad Students, Tomorrow’s Faculty 151 with endometriosis—a chronic and extremely painful condition where endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus and responds to hormonal shifts in the same way that healthy endometrial tissue does. When left untreated (which it generally is), these erroneous endometrial lesions can proliferate throughout and implant inside other internal organs, cementing them together with scar tissue over time. In February 2021, at age 24 and after over a decade of acute struggles with brutal menstrual cycles that brought about dysphoria, severe depression, and nearly ubiquitous physical agony, I had a total hysterectomy. The providential culmination of my academic engagement with queer theory in graduate school and the gender crisis catalyzed by my endometriosis and subsequent hysterectomy forced me to consider the prolific physical, mental, and spiritual relationalities of gender and sexuality as I  experienced the bodily dismemberment and removal of my “womanhood.” My (now) inability to menstruate and bear children brought into question the embodied nature of gender and femininity and materialized the importance of spirituality as a modality for gender expression and finding inner peace. This experience was pivotal for me in innumerable ways. Most importantly, I realized my own gender fluidity and transness; thus, my understanding of queerness transcended the cognitive academic or embodied realms that I knew via research and sex. Queerness became more than the non-normative and subversive practices of researching the queer experience and having queer sexual desires. It became a spiritual practice, in which radical self-care and love for myself and others was expressed through my research, nurturing my queer relationships, engaging in acts of pleasure, and embracing my queered, disabled body. Queerness, for me, became the practice of nurturing the spiritual link between the mind and body through subversive politics, sexuality, and gender expression. Having been trained in the rigid, compartmentalized, positivist ontological and epistemological assumptions that undergird the engineering mindset, radically accepting my queerness as my own form of revolutionary spiritual, political, and sexual praxis was liberating. I  began my own work unpacking the embeddedness of settler colonialism and white supremacy embedded within the engineering discipline and the positivist paradigm that I had so heedlessly internalized, both in my training as an engineer as well as in my small-town Texas upbringing. Lurking ominously behind these deeply personal and profound realizations, however, was the subtle yet pressing insistence to provide intellectual labor in my graduate studies at the expense of my mind, body, and spirit. To be clear, the faculty in my program were completely understanding and accommodating of my situation, which I am thankful for. But a deeper, more troubling issue that I could not articulate until later was the underlying threat that the academy lorded over my material well-being. Specifically, the material resources that I needed in order to heal, such as medical insurance and the stipend that provided my food and shelter, were contingent upon my continued enrollment in graduate school, which comes with a demand for production. In other words, the subversive, queer, spiritual realizations that healed trauma from my childhood and from engineering spaces

152  Brandon Bakka et al. were paradoxically sponsored by the neoliberal academy at the expense of my physical and mental health. In a profound display of irony, the existence of this narrative demonstrates this very paradox, as it serves both as modalities of subversion and healing while simultaneously extracting and commodifying my trauma for my own and others’ benefit. As it turns out, queerness in the ways that I have come to understand and live it are simultaneously upholding and subverting the exploitative demands of neoliberal institutions such as the academy. The simultaneous nature of queerness as oppressive/oppressed is, in my opinion, both similar and intrinsically related to how the insider/outsider paradox operates. Academic queerness can deal with the theoretical and embodied experiences of subversive sexualities and genders to cispatriarchial, heteronormative structures and ideologies. For example, researchers who interrogate the rationale and purpose of non-reproductive sex for pleasure or examine how gender fluidity manifests for queer subjects in the academy are but two empirical, embodied ways out of countless others for academics to theorize about institutions of power and how to subvert them. In my experience, however, this form of academic queerness can also limit one’s access to queered spiritual epiphanies, as exemplified by the pressure I felt to continue engaging with my research surrounding queerness in engineering while healing from my hysterectomy. Paradoxically, academic queerness is both hegemonic and liberatory in nature, simultaneously engaging with and reproducing structures of oppression via its embeddedness in the academy while also leveraging those same structures to disseminate subversive theory and praxis. Thus, my self-aware, queerly-embodied engagement with the academy positions me as an outsider within, as I  am aware of my insider status via my own role in perpetuating structures of oppression against myself and other queers while simultaneously engaging in research and theorizations that challenge the existence of institutions of oppression (i.e., the homophobic engineering institution), thus forcing me to the outside. In other words, being a queered outsider within the academy forces a constant negotiation between my own personal understanding of queerness and how I fit into that understanding. My hysterectomy and gender crisis exemplified this dialectic relationship by placing my body, mind, and spirit in opposition to the dominant structure of the academy. My queer spirit demanded time and space to explore, my queer mind demanded time to think and process, and my queer body demanded that I  take time and resources to care for it. The academy, however, coerced my time, attention, and energy by threatening my material security, thereby constituting the boundaries of what types of “subversive” queerness were acceptable. I now understand that my queer realizations were subject to negotiation with the academy because they were not inherently “productive.” As a result, I had/have to constantly negotiate my insider status within the academy by subduing aspects of my subjectivity that simultaneously constituted me as an outsider to this particular institution. As a Ph.D. student in engineering education that hopes to be a faculty member someday, I  find myself realizing

Today’s Grad Students, Tomorrow’s Faculty 153 that I have both positioned myself and been positioned as an outsider within the engineering education community regarding my epistemology, personal politics, and research goals, all of which are informed by my lived experiences as a queered subject. For example, as a function of my particular assemblages of identity, subjectivity, and lived experiences, I  do not claim positivism as an intellectual paradigm that works in solidarity with my understanding of queerness, even within a discipline that primarily operates through a positivist paradigm. Yet I find that I have to meaningfully and intentionally engage with positivism and its various manifestations within the neoliberal academy and the field of engineering in order to survive in this space. I imagine that I will continue to grapple with my role as a queer “subversive” academic throughout the rest of my graduate experience, as well as into my prospective future role as a queer academic.

Conclusion As LGBTQIA+ graduate students in engineering-related fields pursuing careers in academia, we represent the next generation of academics in engineering higher education. Our experiences, self-theorizations, and negotiations both within and outside of the academy constitute our individual and unique experiences with the insider/outsider paradox as it pertains to the academy. With our entire careers still ahead of us, our perspectives highlighted here become time capsules for the future, capturing a snippet of our (and higher education’s) current zeitgeist as reflected through the lens of young, developing academics. As demonstrated by our individual narratives, each of us have taken unique approaches to navigating the insider/outsider paradox, from leaving engineering altogether, to shifting engineering labs and research interests, to compartmentalizing our work, and more. However, our narratives share some commonalities. It is evident that our respective negotiations with institutions of power and oppression have been shaped by our pathways through engineering and graduate school, our encounters with the paradox in its myriad forms, and our perspectives about our core identities. The common catalyst for our experiences with the paradox of the outsider within (Collins, 1986) is our queerness, especially as it simultaneously colludes and conflicts with institutions of power. Thus, our relationships with the insider/outsider paradox have significantly impacted our career trajectories and our current work. It is also important to highlight how our narratives diverge from each other. Graduate students are far from a monolith, and no two graduate student experiences are identical. Jerry’s experiences in engineering significantly differ from Madeleine’s and Brandon’s simply for the fact that Jerry has never thought about leaving engineering. In addition, Jerry identifies as a cisgay Asian-American man, in contrast to Madeleine and Brandon, who are both white and queer. Madeleine’s gender fluidity and disabilities have catalyzed uniquely different experiences and theorizations in their daily life that are not

154  Brandon Bakka et al. encountered by Brandon or Jerry. These differences in identities lead to particular differences in politics and forms of expression that characterized how we present ourselves in our narratives. We also acknowledge that all of us hold at least one privileged identity within the academy, and we cannot speak on the behalf of, for example, Black women engineering graduate students. The complex intersections of our identities, worldviews, and lived experiences as queer engineering graduate students inside and outside of the academy remain to be explored in our future work. Despite the challenges associated with navigating the paradox of the outsider within, we would not be here without it. It has given all of us new modes of thought, different perspectives on the world, and a unique intellectual breadth that spans disciplinary norms and epistemologies. It has given us access to liminal spaces and communities that we would not have otherwise had access to. It has catalyzed migrations within, between, out of, and into different spaces, communities, and identities. Finally, it has brought each of us to each other. Though our existence as LGBTQIA+ graduate students in engineering has come at the price of much of our mental, emotional, and academic lives, these experiences fundamentally shape who we are and our worldviews, especially in how we approach our social justice research and activism within higher education. As we navigate the various systems of our disciplines, academia, and our identities, we know that our experiences with the insider/outsider paradox will continue throughout our academic careers. However, we look to the future to improve the state of higher education and queer it in our image— one where we feel comfortable existing in and expressing our authentic selves in, whether through our interpersonal interactions with others or through the written word of narrative inquiry. Our subjectivities are what make us unique, and when we intersect them with our experiences, knowledges, and creativities afforded to us by the insider/outsider paradox, we wield the power to think radically, do things differently, and envision a new world in which all our identities are uplifted and embraced in the academic spaces we inhabit. We look forward to doing the work and accomplishing the task set before us. After all, we are today’s graduate students, tomorrow’s professors.

Note 1. LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual/aromantic, with “+” representing all other marginalized sexual or gender identities. We use this umbrella term to refer to all individuals with a queer sexual or gender identity.

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14 Conclusion Working the Cracks Within the System T.J. Jourian and Jesus Cisneros

The power of a free mind consists of trusting your mind to ask the questions that need to be asked and your own capacity to figure out the strategies you need to get those questions answered. Over time, this requires building communities that make this kind of intellectual and political work possible. (Collins, 2012, p. 112)

In our call for proposals for Queerness as Doing in Higher Education: Narrating the Insider/Outsider Paradox as LGBTQ+ Scholars and Practitioners, we prompted contributors to ask themselves “the questions that need to be asked” (Collins, 2012, p. 112). Some of those questions included: • How do LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners navigate relationships with research participants, students, and colleagues who do and do not identify similarly? • How do social, political, and legal shifts change how LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners report experiencing the insider/outsider paradox? • How do national and global movements and crises shift and impact the insider/outsider paradox (e.g., Black Lives Matter, Covid-19)? • How do LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners make meaning of how institutions are complicit in oppressive actions, necropolitics, and anti-Blackness? • How do LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners negotiate matters of assimilation and institutionalization as they relate to advocating within higher education? • How do professional status and job security impact issues related to the insider/outsider paradox? • What does the term “community” mean for LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners, given the nature of insider/outsider paradox? And we received thoughtful reflections and boundary-pushing responses to those and many other questions that the contributors themselves deemed DOI: 10.4324/9781003255284-14

158  T.J. Jourian and Jesus Cisneros necessary to ask. Is there merit to outsiderness? Or insiderness? What are the benefits (and for whom) of being an insider and an outsider? What are the losses? This text, both volumes included, has become a vehicle of multiple dialogues happening among and between its chapters, with contributors engaging in various forms of autoethnographies and practices of reflexivity. These engagements call on others to relate (with the authors or themselves) through dialogic exchanges, inviting other LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners to also narrate their own navigations of the insider/outsider paradox. The central question that ought to be asked, perhaps over and over, is what does it mean to exist as queer and trans subjects within non-queer and non-trans institutions in relationship to other queer and trans subjects? But what about the non-LGBTQ+ reader? We borrow from a dialogue between the brilliant bell hooks and Cornel West (2017) in their book Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life and consider its applicability here: I think the invitation offered to the non-Black reader is to join us in this expression of our familiarity and via that joining, come to understand that when Black people come together to celebrate and rejoice in Black critical thinking, we do so not to exclude or to separate, but to participate more fully in world community. However, we must first be able to dialogue with one another, to give one another subject-to-subject recognition that is an act of resistance that is part of the decolonizing, anti-racist process. (p. 5) So, too, we dialogue within and across LGBTQ+ communities to first recognize ourselves and recognize each other and to enact resistances from inside and outside of institutions and communities. Though we make no claims that these texts intentionally came about to be “part of the decolonizing, antiracist process” (hooks & West, 2017, p. 5), we dare to claim that the work of decolonization and anti-racism and the work of queering and trans*forming are intertwined and build each other up—or at least they should be. How does one strand of resistance achieve liberation without all the other strands weaving themselves together into a complex and colorful tapestry, replete with unweavings and clumsy stitches along the way? In this concluding chapter, we bring these seemingly separate chapters to weave some themes together, clumsily perhaps, to ask more questions and raise more tensions, and perhaps even to repair and reconstitute parts of ourselves lost to the tug and pull of the paradox. We take those themes to offer possibilities through implications for the theorizing and practicing (and perhaps unweaving) of the insider/outsider paradox and hope you, the reader, bring a few strings along to stitch with us.

Stitching Strings Together The contributors of this volume interrogated what it means to exist and perform queerness within traditionally heterogendered institutions, or colleges

Conclusion 159 and universities that, despite the desire to create programs supporting LGBTQ+ students, uphold and promote a heterogendered discourse through institutional structures and foundation (Preston  & Hoffman, 2015). Most contributors employed autoethnographic methods and narrative approaches (Ellis et  al., 2011) to describe and systematically analyze personal experience and reflect on, understand, and cope with their situated knowledge as LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners. Such approaches situated contributors’ experiences through stories as both the subjects and the objects of analysis— thus rendering them as insiders to the stories and as outsiders in the process of analysis. Their experiences highlighted the ontological and epistemological differences in how they have adapted to and individually negotiated hegemonic structures in higher education. Kristopher A. Oliveira, for example, named three discursive tools of oppression that actively work to reproduce traditionally heterogendered institutions in higher education: microinvalidations, censorship, and identity siloes. As the role of queer and trans resource center professionals is socially and institutionally located inside, outside, in-between, and disjointed from the very communities that they represent and serve, identifying and resisting these discursive tools of oppression are connected to an individual’s role as an insider and outsider in various communities. Contributors often described experiences being excluded from meaningful decision-making bodies, tokenized, and blocked in their work by institutional logics that often (un)intentionally denied the humanity of LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff, and administrators. For this reason, the insider/outsider paradox often felt like a personal, political, and professional internal conflict. Making meaning of the insider/outsider paradox required learning to personally redefine what it meant to be an insider and an outsider. Roman Christiaens and Chelsea E. Noble similarly reflected on the ways formal spaces, such as queer and trans resource centers, often reproduce a framework of homonormative whiteness (Self, 2015). Situating queer and trans resource center professionals as carrying a responsibility to analyze, interrogate, and disrupt this homonormative whiteness framework, Christiaens and Noble offered insights into the necessity of self-reflexivity for fellow white queer and trans professionals in order to push queer and trans resource centers toward anti-racist practice and racial justice. Several contributors denoted the blanket acceptance of white supremacy as a natural feature of campus life that individuals were expected to become increasingly better at managing, as opposed to challenging. The insider/outsider paradox, hence, required acknowledging differentiated access to power and privilege based on positionality and working from the inside to help those on the outside. Bianca Tonantzin Zamora explored the opportunities and challenges of intersectional activism for professionals who exist within the insider/outsider paradox and engage in community and higher education advocacy. She utilized poetry and personal narrative to help her gain the trust of community organizers and serve as a bridge to the institution. In the words of Patricia Hill Collins (2012), “Speaking truth to power in ways that undermine and

160  T.J. Jourian and Jesus Cisneros challenge that power can often best be done as an insider” (p. xiii). Bianca Tonantzin Zamora acknowledged how her identities and lived experiences positioned her to cultivate knowledge of intersectional systems and inform her strategies when in activist spaces in and out of higher education. Gabriel Pulido similarly described using poetry and stories, but to establish agency regardless of insider/outsider positioning. He conceptualized switching as the mental, spiritual, and sometimes physical context-informed decisions that queer and trans people make while negotiating their societal positioning, as a form of survival. These and other contributors expressed how they were constantly reminded of the unspoken rules for being acceptably different in order to maintain insider/outsider status. A  question some considered was whether to leave their institution and focus instead on community organizations, where several felt less pressure to be acceptable.

T.J. Jourian: An Institutionally Liberated Scholar There is a different way in which these texts land on me these days. The last time I was an insider to postsecondary institutions was August 2019. More than leaving the academy, I left a state (Michigan) that constrained my particular brand of brown queer transness and took on a journey of homefinding in the unceded lands of the Lenni Lenape, specifically in an area known today as Philadelphia. As I have accidentally participated in the Great Resignation, and whereas I entered the journey of co-editing this book as an assistant professor, I end it as an institutionally liberated scholar. So, how, if at all, do implications arise for me from this work? The answer to “if at all” depends on whether I connect with any or the collective of the authors and even my co-editors in this moment, and that’s an unequivocal “yes.” In so far as we care about our impact among and on our queer and trans communities, the work of resisting and/or trans*forming cisheteronormative, anti-Black, and colonial institutions, and the undoing of a myriad of horizontal oppressions we perpetuate onto each other, then yes, implications arise. My scholarship continues to wrestle with gender, race, and sexuality within higher education institutions. As a former “outsider within,” there are structures I am viscerally familiar with and can speak to some extent to their possibilities and limitations. Now as just an outsider, I am transfixed by the chapter authors moving with the intention and care to create a scholarship that heals rather than (further) harms. Earlier today, I was reminded of how much I loved creating and telling stories as a child, a practice I get to do through research and writing. Rather than creating, how am I co-creating these stories today in how I tell them? What are the steps I am taking to build trust with those whose stories

Conclusion 161 I am most invested in hearing from? How am I learning from the relationality of trans identities (Catalano, 2017; Jourian, 2017a; Nicolazzo, 2017), the relational nature of research (Patel, 2016), and the “processoriented rather than end-oriented” (Spade, 2015, p.  189) nature of critical trans politics “to resist normative analytical practices that distill complex data and people into simplistic models and understandings” (Jourian, 2017b, p. 415)? As I  continue developing as a researcher, a scholar, a writer, and a storyteller, these are some of the questions I  am committing myself to always ask from the onset and throughout. For me, queering and trans*ing scholarship has been and will be about asking questions, primary among them being, “Do we have to do this the way it’s always been done?” What here needs to be and can be done differently? Spoiler alert—probably most things (Jourian & Nicolazzo, 2017). By queering and trans*ing taken-for-granted methods and methodologies, I  hope to be driving theorizing and narrations with an eye toward soul- and life-saving interventions, to dream up and help actualize possibilities beyond binaries and institutions, and to disrupt. That’s what my queerness and transness will be doing.

Andrea D. Domingue and Daniel J. Foster similarly offered insights to support queer and trans professionals as they navigate tensions between their personal politics, roles, and the communities they serve. They described scenarios when others have failed to recognize them as more than their professions and ignored their needs to process how they navigate enacting mandated policies and practices and following processes that do not align with their personal politics. They labeled this as the insider/outsider paradox for LGBTQ+ mid-level professionals and identified a need to create systems of support for professionals to navigate it, as navigating the insider/outsider paradox was complex, messy, and often harmful to actual communities and personal wellbeing. Contributors consistently shared the desire to be strategic change agents, rather than co-opted institutional instruments betraying their deepest commitments. Emily Fairchild examined the difference between student and institutional culture, as she reflected on how she relates to each on her campus as a faculty member. Specifically, she described how she navigates the insider/outsider paradox by strategically situating herself as insider to students and faculty to different ends. She explored how these positionings are choices of emphasis within contexts where her relation to each group affects her relation to the other. The insider/outsider paradox, for several participants, meant navigating multiple contradictory spaces, logics, and rhetorics simultaneously. Kaity Prieto and Victoria Barbosa Olivo similarly described negotiating their professional identities as bi+ women in academia as a result of occupying

162  T.J. Jourian and Jesus Cisneros multiple identities. Like other contributors, they acknowledged a need to continuously question what ethical sexuality research looks like and how doing such work impacts their own queer identities. Contemplating a similar question, finn j. schneider and Carly Duran-Marrero explored the fluidity and contingency of their insider/outsider status as queer and trans scholars engaging in research alongside queer and trans students. They offered opportunities for subverting oppressive and diminishing power formations in higher education research with queer and trans students. Similarly, Meg C. Jones and colleagues wrestled with the complex ways their diverse campus roles (and the corresponding access to power within higher education systems) shape their research. They concluded that claiming insider/outsider status is far too simplistic to describe the nuanced ways researchers are in relationship with queerness and queer participants. Within specific academic fields, Brandon Bakka, Madeleine Jennings, and Jerry A. Yang identified the challenge of maintaining authentic LGBTQ+ identities within the field of engineering and engineering education—existing as outsiders. The constant tension between wanting to be an LGBTQ+ role model and the pressure to conform to the academic cultural norms in engineering created the insider/outsider paradox, leading to narratives of erasure and discrimination. Bri C. Sérráno and Sergio A. Gonzalez offered a similar sentiment, but with consideration to power, privilege, and access to informal and formal education spaces and centering the perspectives of Latinx queer and trans people. Other contributors similarly described the ways in which they sometimes felt they had become of the institution as a result of deepening their engagement in working to change the institution.

Jesus Cisneros: Reconfiguring the Insider/ Outsider Paradox Renn (2010) noted that studies on LGBTQ+ higher education professionals’ experiences “remind readers of a time when even at progressive institutions being out was a risky political and personal act, which is still the case at many institutions” (p. 134). Though written over a decade ago, these words still ring true. Reflecting on my own journey embracing the visibility of my embodied insider/outsider status, I often think about the time when disclosing my outsiderness as a queer professional felt too risky. Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2020 that the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, I seldomly disclosed my queerness on campus. When I did, I deployed my queerness privately as a tactic for empowering individuals via visibility and representation. Tacit queerness in the professional context served as a form of self-preservation and

Conclusion 163 self-protection from the animus against LGBTQ+ people embodied by U.S. culture and law. Yet I  often wondered whether being read as an insider, though tacitly understood (Decena, 2011), was causing more harm than good (and to whom?). Similarly, I wondered if intentionally positioning myself as an outsider was worth surrendering the benefits I reaped from presumed, unquestioned heterosexuality. The contributors’ chapters reminded me of this time in my life, as well as the following question: What is lost and what is gained within an insider/outsider status? As I reflect on my own reconfiguration of the insider/outsider paradox, I am reminded of the importance of space and context. I teach at a Hispanic-serving institution on the U.S.-Mexico border, where over 80  percent of the student body shares my racial and ethnic identity as a Mexican-American immigrant. I  look like and am from the local community that my institution serves. Doing queerness, as a personal and political act, through research and practice challenges notions of homogeneity within the Hispanic community and visibilizes conventions of intersectionality within lived experience. Similarly, such outsiderness challenges presumptions about who can be LGBTQ+ and what that means in different contexts. Formerly, in positioning myself as solely an insider in the eyes of the institution, I sacrificed visibility and authenticity. Existing in a way that prioritized only my racial, ethnic, and immigrant identities, given my geographic location, may have provided me short-term, conditional safety, but it mostly felt like erasure and repression. Similarly, insiderness did not necessarily grant me more privilege—I remained impacted by structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains of power (Collins, 1990) that affected my every-day life. Instead, insiderness merely kept me tacitly understood (Decena, 2011), as conditioned by my race, ethnicity, class, gender, and immigration status. The contributors’ chapters reminded me that queerness as a fabric of campus is an asset that challenges the acceptability of the way things have always been. “Queerness is the thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing” (Muñoz, 2009, p. 1). Queerness provides a possibility for futurity that invigorates our queerest potential. My engagement with the contributors’ chapters challenged me to further interrogate the utility of the insider/outsider paradox for practice. For example, what is my responsibility for doing queerness on campus? And, what factors contribute to others’ ability to express and perform queerness on campus with me? Certain conditions, such as tenure status and job security, have certainly served as catalysts for the reconfiguration of my insider/outsider perspective, so I wonder what environmental factors may also impact the insider/outsider paradox in practice for my peers.

164  T.J. Jourian and Jesus Cisneros Lastly, looking at higher education as an enterprise, Travis H. Olson, Emily J. Abrams, and Brandon R. G. Smith embraced the tension inherent in higher education’s facilitation of meaningful personal development and complicity in furthering inequality. They proposed cultivating a more situated and wellrounded knowledge of higher education that allows students, faculty, and staff who identify as insiders/outsiders to advocate for justice, while still caring for themselves and communities. Importantly, they argued that abandoning higher education as hopelessly broken ultimately slams the doors of opportunity in the faces of those who have yet to equitably benefit from it. Instead, they proposed a situated appreciation of institutions as both potentially liberatory and oppressive and capable of change. Because systems of oppression are maintained and sustained within institutions, leading to traditionally heterogendered spaces, such situated understandings give power to the insider/outsider status, as it provides a necessary alternative perspective for institutional reorientation. As Patricia Hill Collins (2012) stated, “Challenging power structures from the inside, working the cracks within the system, however, requires learning to speak multiple languages of power convincingly” (p. xiii). Such situated knowledge afforded by their insider/outsider status enabled contributors to leverage their power in certain instances for the purpose of advancing queer and trans*formational work.

Implications for/through the Insider/Outsider Paradox It is perhaps cliché to point out that we are at a critical juncture in higher education and student affairs, perhaps one of the most—if not the most— critical in “our” field’s history (has it ever really been “ours”?). The societal and institutional ramifications of and responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as protests across the country following George Floyd’s murder, unveiled more than many among us could bear in silence any longer. Many a rosycolored spectacle was removed, and what has become known as the Great Resignation commenced (Parker  & Menasce Horowitz, 2022). Departures from the field were not exactly rare before—with 50–60 percent of student affairs practitioners leaving within five years (Marshall et al., 2016)—but the dismay, resignation, and anger have rarely been this palpable. As the chapters in this book highlight, many higher education scholars and practitioners, today, are increasingly asking whether vocational calling is worth poor pay, high stress, and managing the gap between institutions’ espoused values and leaders’ actions. What does that mean for the field, and what does it mean for insider/outsider straddlers? Are we better equipped to weather the storm, or was this one storm too many? Have some of us internalized the paradox so far within that we cannot separate it from who we are and what we do? Have we made peace with it, celebrated it, or stayed in continuous struggle with it? And how are we engaging with the paradox, especially in certain states, given the

Conclusion 165 record-breaking numbers of anti-trans and homophobic bills strewn across Turtle Island, further entrenching colonized notions of gender and sexuality in this country’s very being? How are we attending to healing and collective liberation in the face of constant attacks from a multitude of institutions, including ones where we work and study? If there is anything that these chapters offer in unison—perhaps subliminally at times—as a central implication for/through the insider/outsider paradox, it is to continue questioning the very need of its existence. The paradox only exists in so far as there are insiders and outsiders, sometimes with blurry lines drawn and other times with clear delineations of who belongs where. But if we are to use the paradox itself to leverage it, to undo its very fabric, and to work those cracks within the system, we must be willing to put in the concerted effort required to find those cracks and then resist any urge to mend them. Mending cracks within institutions, whether through practice or scholarship, makes it that much harder to transform oppressive institutions entirely, as it would resemble restitching a shirt that does not fit. Either we make ourselves smaller to make us fit (i.e., unqueer and untrans ourselves) or we find that the unstitchings/cracks reappear. Instead, what would it mean to pull at that thread and undo the shirt and use the fabric to sew up a fabulous blouse meant for us? In the meantime, while the paradox exists, we would do well to heed Patricia Hill Collins’ (2012) advice and learn “to speak multiple languages of power convincingly” (p. xiii). This is a skill well suited for LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners, and possibly best of all to LGBTQ+ scholar-practitioners who are already in a multilingual space. For those of us who also already speak multiple languages of power because of our race, disability status, class, religion, nationality, and other positionalities, is this yet another burden that we are to take on or an opportunity to flex our linguistic muscles?

What Is Queerness (as) Doing? In the introduction to this volume, we discussed our conceptualization of queerness as doing as a politic and signifier of resistance to dominant power structures (Burford & Allen, 2019; Cohen, 1997; Duran et al., 2020; Somerville, 2014). Through their contributions, chapter authors have narrated their own doing of queerness within institutional walls through the various roles they occupy. Rather than stay in the normative of describing what we believe to be the implications of this volume for you, dear reader, we offered what they are to us in vignettes placed randomly (queerly if you will) in this chapter. Do not fret. We will leave you with even more questions to ask yourselves what is needed to come to your own implications.

Questions for the Reader And so, we come to you, dear reader. We offer these questions as “the questions that need to be asked” (Collins, 2012, p. 112), to reflect on the

166  T.J. Jourian and Jesus Cisneros implications of this text on you and your work, whatever form and shape that might take. • What has this volume forced you to wrestle with in the way you enact and think about your practice and your scholarship? How might you read others’ practice and scholarship differently now than you did yesterday? • What are the social, legal, political, and economic realities swirling the worlds of those you work with, be they students, staff (and ask yourself which staff), faculty, and/or research participants/interlocutors? How does your work with them alleviate those realities, and how does it contribute to their deleterious impacts? • Do you consider yourself an insider, an outsider, an outsider within? To whom and what? And when and why? And to what purpose? • What is your queerness doing? And what is being done upon it? • Who is part of your community?

Conclusion This volume on Queerness as Doing hopes to have built upon what Queerness as Being created—a forum through which to elevate the stories of LGBTQ+ scholars and practitioners in higher education institutions, who may be everywhere and nowhere within them simultaneously. Moving through and beyond identity, the narratives within this volume demonstrate the difficulties and possibilities that exist when we work the cracks, queer and trans them to the best of our abilities, and seek solace and collaboration when we cannot. We hope that these volumes have sparked some form of inspiration or spark of how their readers can be and do queer.

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Conclusion 167 Duran, A., Blockett, R., & Nicolazzo, Z. (2020). An interdisciplinary return to queer and trans* studies in higher education: Implications for research and practice. In M. B. Paulsen & L. W. Perna (Eds.), Higher education: Handbook on theory and research (Vol. 35, pp. 1–64). Springer. Ellis, C., Adams, T. E., & Bochner, A. P. (2011). Autoethnography: An overview. Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung, 36(4), 273–290. www. jstor.org/stable/23032294?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents hooks, b.,  & West, C. (2017). Breaking bread: Insurgent Black intellectual life. Routledge. Jourian, T. J. (2017a). Trans*forming college masculinities: Carving out trans*masculine pathways through the threshold of dominance. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 30(3), 245–265. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/09518398.2016.1257752 Jourian, T. J. (2017b). Trans*ing constructs: Towards a critical trans* methodo­ logy. Dutch Journal of Gender Studies, 20(4), 415–434. https://doi.org/ 10.5117/TVGN2017.4.JOUR Jourian, T. J., & Nicolazzo, Z. (2017). Bringing our communities to the research table: The liberatory potential of collaborative methodological practices. Educational Action Research, 25(4), 594–609. https://doi.org/10.1080/096507 92.2016.1203343 Marshall, S. M., Gardner, M. M., Hughes, C.,  & Lowery, U. (2016). Attrition from student affairs: Perspectives from those who exited the profession. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 53(2), 146–159. https://doi.org/10. 1080/19496591.2016.1147359 Muñoz, J. E. (2009). Cruising utopia: The then and there of queer futurity. NYU Press. Nicolazzo, Z. (2017). Trans* in college: Transgender students’ strategies for navigating campus life and the institutional politics of inclusion. Stylus. Parker, K.,  & Menasce Horowitz, J. (2022). Majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 cite low pay, no opportunities for advancement, feeling disrespected. Pew Research Center. www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/09/majority-ofworkers-who-quit-a-job-in-2021-cite-low-pay-no-opportunities-for-advancementfeeling-disrespected/ Patel, L. (2016). Decolonizing educational research: From ownership to answerability. Routledge. Preston, M. J.,  & Hoffman, G. D. (2015). Traditionally heterogendered institutions: Discourses surrounding LGBTQ college students. Journal for LGBT Youth, 12(1), 64–86. https://doi.org/10.1080/19361653.2014.935550 Renn, K. A. (2010). LGBT and queer research in higher education: The state and status of the field. Educational Researcher, 39(2), 132–141. https://doi.org/1 0.3102%2F0013189X10362579 Self, J. M. (2015). Queering center: A  critical discourse analysis of university LGBT center theoretical foundations. Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, 4(2), 1–39. https://doi.org/10.31274/jctp-180810-48 Spade, D. (2015). Normal life: Administrative violence, critical trans politics, and the limits of the law (2nd ed.). Duke University Press. Somerville, S. B. (2014). Queer. In B. Burgett & G. Hendler (Eds.), Keywords for American cultural studies (2nd ed., Web-version). New York University Press. http://keywords.nyupress.org/american-cultural-studies/essay/queer/


ableism 7, 21, 122, 129 Abrams, Emily J. 10, 76, 164 activism: intersectional 10, 108, 118, 125 – 126, 129, 159; logic of 91, 125; student 65, 125, 147 advisors 142, 144, 148 American College Personnel Association (ACPA) 19 anti-racism 103 – 104, 158 anxiety Anzaldúa 119 Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution (AANAPISI) 134 Asian-American identity 144, 153 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) 19 assumption 15, 46, 67 authentically existing 136, 138 – 139 autoethnography 10, 86, 131 – 132 awareness 1, 20, 44, 91, 105 Bakka, Brandon 11, 146, 162 Barat, Frank 126 Barbosa Olivo, Victoria 9, 161 Bazarsky, Debbie (et al 2020) 85, 94 Bell, Derrick A. 131, 133 Bernal, Dolores Delgado 131, 135 binegativity 16, 18, 20 – 21 bisexuality research 15 – 16, 22 Black feminist thought 1 Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) 101 Black Lives Matter 122, 126 – 127 Black Womanist thought 143 California State University (CSU) 133 Campus Pride Index 110 Cárdenas, Micha 60

Chambliss, Daniel 112 Chang, Heewon 131 Chhabra, Gagan 3 Christiaens, Roman 10, 99, 101 – 102, 159 CIRP Freshman Survey 109 cisgender: men 4 – 5, 7, 64, 67, 98, 132, 134, 144; women 28, 66, 77, 120, 134 cisheteronormativity 4, 93 Cisneros, Jesus 2, 162 cissexism 8, 97, 122, 129 Civil Rights Act 1964 2, 162 classism 1, 8, 29, 123, 129 Collins, Patricia Hill 1, 6, 81, 143, 159, 164 – 165 collusion 1, 8, 19 colonialism 73, 80, 123, 151 color: queer people of 53, 131; students of 6 – 7, 67, 93, 103 – 104; trans people of 53, 102, 131, 139; women of 66, 123 community: campus 69 – 70, 87, 89, 91, 93, 119, 121, 159; engagement 38; ethnic 5, 51, 105, 163; members of 15 – 16, 21, 38; othering 53; queer 108, 122; safety within 46 conflict: as being in 76, 80 – 81; student conduct and 63, 66 Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals 90 COVID-19 73, 79, 85, 126, 138, 164 Critical Trans Politics 132, 161 dangerous waters 97, 102 disability 7 – 8, 77, 149 – 150, 165 disabled 7, 10, 19, 77 – 78, 151 discrimination 2 – 3, 11, 77, 162

Index  169 diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) 119 – 120, 138, 145 Domingue, Andrea D. 9, 66, 69, 161 duoethnography 25 – 26, 30, 34 Duran-Marrero, Carly 9, 39, 41 – 48, 162 Duran, Antonio 5, 93, 139 empathy 41, 43, 111, 127, 129 engineering: internship 144, 150; toxic culture of 142, 149 erasure 11, 16, 53, 142, 163 ethical sexuality research 9, 16, 162 ethnic identity 20, 22, 163 ethnic minorities 38, 132, 163 ethnicity 17, 19 – 20, 163 experimentalism 109 exploitation 135 – 136, 143 FaceTime 54 faculty: LGBTQ+ 8, 127; member 7, 10, 37, 110, 147, 152, 161; student 89, 93 – 94, 112, 127, 137, 164 Fairchild, Emily 10, 161 femininity 41, 150 – 151 feminist theory 118 Ferguson, Roderick 143 Fierros, Cindy O. 131, 135 Floyd, George 102, 164 Forester, Rachael 9, 28 – 29, 31 – 33 Forsythe, Desiree 9, 27 – 28, 31 Foster, Daniel J. 9, 67, 69, 161 Friedensen, Rachel E. 9, 32 – 33 Garvey, Jason C. 22, 131 gender: assumption 74, 109, 132; diverse 113, 115; identity 41, 59, 131 – 133, 162; sexualities and 67, 106, 152; studies 108, 113, 115 genuine curiosity and finding community 139 Gonzalez, Sergio A. 10, 131, 133 – 134, 137 – 139, 162 Gordon, Cierajevae 54 heteronormativity 80, 93, 109, 147 heterosexism 4, 8, 66, 97, 122 – 123 higher education: navigating 36, 63, 84, 133, 142; as oppressive 3, 10, 14 – 15, 25, 65, 77, 148 Hill, Marc Lamont 126 Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) 20, 133 – 134, 163

Hoffman, Garrett Drew 85, 89, 93 homonormative whiteness 10, 97 – 98, 102 – 106, 159 homophobia 16, 21, 145 – 147 hooks, bell 37, 111, 143, 158 Hudson, Kimberly D. 98 – 99, 101 identity: individual 27, 109; queer/ trans college students, experiences of 21 – 22, 36, 77; researcher 21; single-identity 20, 92 immigrant 4, 124, 128, 132 – 133, 163 insider: creating 10, 108, 110; with faculty 108, 145; faculty member 109; power of 67, 103 insider/outsider: interaction 108 insider/outsider paradox: activism 119 – 121; concept of doing queerness 1, 5, 9 – 11; graduate students of engineering 142, 146, 153; implications 164; professional navigation 63, 66, 68 – 70, 161; re/defining 2 – 4, 162; reflections/ lessons learned 25, 129, 157 – 159; research dialogue/methodology 36 – 38; sexuality research, higher education 14, 16, 25 – 26 insiderness 3, 108, 111 – 113, 115, 158, 163 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 94 intersectionality 67, 121, 163 Jed Foundation 90 Jennings, Madeleine 11, 149, 153, 162 Johnson, Marsha P 127 – 128 Jones, Meg C. 9 Jones, Susan R. 93 jotería (as identity and consciousness) 133, 139 Jourian, T.J. 4, 16, 160 Kimball, Ezekiel W. (Zeke) 9, 25 – 26, 29 – 30, 34 Kochiyama, Yuri 125 Latinx: queer/trans people 11, 131, 133 – 134, 162; students 20, 131, 139 Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office 97 LGBTQ+: advisory board 110, 136; community 5, 105; resource centers (RCs) 10, 97 – 99, 104 – 106; scholars 1 – 5, 8, 132, 157, 165

170 Index LGBTQIA+: doctoral students 11, 142 – 143; graduate students (engineering) 142 – 143, 145, 153 – 154; meaning-making process 11, 26, 37, 135, 143 liberation, gendered 103, 123 – 124 Lorde, Audre 65 – 66, 133 Malatino, Hil 57 marginalization 6, 15, 20, 25, 43, 120, 122 masculinity 41, 44, 67, 137, 146 mental health 89 – 90, 119, 140, 148, 150, 152 mental olympics and code switching 136 – 137 mentoring 112 – 113 Mexican-American immigrant 132 – 133, 163 microaggressions (experience of) 20, 65, 98, 119, 129 Miller, Ryan A. 7, 9 MIoSG (minoritized identities of sexuality and/or gender) 25 – 27, 32 morals and values 150 Muñoz, José Esteban 35n2 Naloxone (medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose) 80 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) 19 neoliberalism 15, 80 New College of Florida (predominately queer school) 108 – 110, 113 – 114 Noble, Chelsea E. 10, 99 – 100, 104, 159 Norris, Joe 26 Office of Black Excellence (OBE) 91 – 93 Oliveira, Kristopher A. 10, 90, 159 Olson, Travis H. 10, 75 – 76, 164 oppression: discursive tools of 85 – 87, 94, 159; systemic 77, 80, 125 – 126 outsider: sister outsider 66 – 67; with students 108 outsider within: concept of 1, 14, 74, 154, 166; pressures of 98, 116, 147, 149, 152 – 153; status 75 – 76, 80 participatory action research (PAR) 36 patriarchy 53, 57, 60, 137

peers 22, 40, 108, 111, 142, 146, 163 plática/pláticas (as who we are) 131 poems 51, 54 – 55; Bandishment 58; Loteria 57; My Name 55; Switching 56; Ursula 54 – 55 poetry 50 – 51, 121, 129, 160 policed, feeling of being 118 – 120 positionality 2, 14, 34, 66, 90, 105, 132 positivism 149, 153 poverty (growing up in) 15, 22 Preston, Marilyn J. 85, 89, 93 Pride events 121 – 122, 126, 149 Pride Living Learning Community 109 Prieto, Kaity 9, 161 prioritization of whom 136 – 137 privilege: degrees of 2; educational 116; power and 28 – 29, 99, 131, 162; white male 147 Pulido, Gabriel 9, 54 – 55, 160 QT (queer/trans): resource centers 84 – 85, 90 – 91; students 85, 94 QTPOC (queer and trans people of color) 102 – 103, 131 QTSOC (queer and trans students of color) 98, 102 – 103, 106 queer: academic spaces 20, 153; administrators 9, 63, 65; identity 16, 20, 28, 67, 77, 146 – 147; Latina 10; narratives 17, 37, 64, 66, 86, 99, 106; researchers 7, 18, 38, 40, 49; studies 110, 128; white lesbian 10 queerness: as being 5 – 7; as doing (performance) 6, 11, 157, 165 – 166; outward presentation 15 racial justice 10, 75, 98, 104 – 106, 159 racism: consequences of 119 – 120, 122, 129, 146; gender-based 21, 43, 75, 80, 93 reflections 140 reflexivity 30, 66, 158 Renn, Kristin A. 162 resistance: queer 144 – 146; student 143 resource centers see LGBTQ+; QT Rustin, Bayard 127 safety: physical 15, 18, 46, 68, 135, 137; sacrificing 150 Sawyer, Richard D. 26

Index  171 schneider, finn j. 9, 39 – 47, 162 scientific community 11, 142 self-care 151 self-discovery 97, 121 self-love 119, 139 self-protection 163 self-reflexivity 98, 159 self-valuation 1 self, authentic 21, 31, 138 Self, Jen M. 98 – 99, 101 Sérráno, Bri C. 10, 131 – 133, 138, 140, 162 sexism 21, 66, 77, 122, 129, 134, 146 sexual orientation 2, 68, 131, 162 sexual violence 36, 38, 42, 80 sexuality: anxiety over 21, 144 – 145, 150; gender and 6, 29, 37, 77, 84, 97, 110, 151, 165; research 9, 14, 16 – 17, 19, 21 – 22, 162; studies 77 situated knowledge 74, 78, 159, 164 Smith, Angela 143 Smith, Brandon R.G. 10, 164 social: identity/identities 26, 32, 34, 66, 74, 77; sciences 147 social justice: advocates 65, 99, 109, 136, 142, 154; reflections on 25 – 26, 57; strategies 87, 89, 95 sociopolitical position 1, 98 – 99, 103 Spectrum Center (University of Michigan) 97 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) 25 – 26, 32 – 34, 147 student: bisexual 14 – 16, 21; conduct 63, 66 – 67, 70; development 44, 74; graduate, experiences of 142

subjectivity 39, 46, 152 – 153 Supreme Court 2 – 3, 127, 162 survival 15, 19, 51, 58, 121, 160 switching up, positions 50 systemic racism 73, 101 – 102 systems of oppression, interlocking 4, 22, 119 Takacs, Christopher 112 Title VII 2, 162 traditionally heterogendered institutions (THIs) 85, 93 – 94 trans oppression 8 Trump, Donald J. 126 undocumented 99, 122, 124 – 125 University of Michigan 97 – 99 University of Minnesota 37 University of St. Thomas 37 Vaccaro, Annemarie 9, 27 – 28, 30 Venable, C. J. (et al 2019) 19 West, Cornel 158 whiteness: homonormative 97 – 98; identity of 19, 43, 77 – 78, 102 – 103, 146 woman of color 20, 37, 41 – 42, 66 womanhood 105, 150 – 151 xenophobia 8, 43, 122, 129 Yang, Jerry A. 11, 143, 153 – 154, 162 Zamora, Bianca Tonantzin 10, 118, 125, 159 – 160