Music therapy academic faculty responsible for teaching the next generation of healthcare practitioners have a responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is one in which the principles of equity and inclusion are upheld and practiced. Without queer perspectives included in the curriculum, promotion and continuation of heteronormative and cisnormative attitudes and beliefs increase. As media, culture, and society reflect increasing awareness of and open-mindedness toward queerness, so does the opportunity for reflection and questioning regarding binary identities and exploration of the need to shift to fluid, spectrum identity categories. This questioning begins with perceiving that contemporary social identities are formed from a limited conception of a normative binary that recognizes only heteronormative and cisnormative sexual orientation and gender identities, which can be extended to other inadequate and unhelpful binaries, for example dis/abled and racial binaries that entrench prejudice. Reviewing current teaching environments and methods allows for consideration of how social constructions limit the capacity of educators to fully include attention to, and critique of, all thoughtless binaries – whether gay/straight, female/male, old/young etc. In this paper we reflect on and reveal predominant heteronormative and cisnormative values in music therapy education, advancing ways to make classroom and practicum settings a safe and exploring space, with the potential to positively impact all students and their current and future clients.
Copyright (c) 2019 Sue Baines, Jane Edwards, Jennyfer Hatch, Jude Pereira
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