5. Gender & Queer Studies

A collection of phrases are hand-written on a page. Bold colourful letters in the middle read ‚ÄúChasing a high, yet still somebodies mommy.‚ÄĚ Also included are the phrases: ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre not all monsters,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúsome of us just need a little push in the right direction,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúmy story aint over,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúfuture ‚Äď nice house, dog, kids each have their own room and their home with me,‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúneed my babies back, need steady housing.‚ÄĚ
Life can unravel before your very eyes
Artist: Tammy

One of the authors of this book keeps a cardboard box in her office with black marker lettering that declares it the ‚ÄúBig Box-O-Gender Normativity.‚ÄĚ In this box is a random assortment of objects that represent the mundane moments in everyday life where one is asked to declare their gender identity. The contents of this box routinely grow bigger, as colleagues and students contribute items they encounter along their way. One such item is a sign that hotel guests hang on the door to indicate they do not require room service and would prefer to have some privacy. On one side there is an image of a tie and on the other side is an image of a pearl necklace. Both sides have the same message, requesting privacy, but with different images arguably to identify the person requesting privacy as either a man or a woman, depending on which image of clothing is hung face-up.

There are literally countless times throughout our daily lives where we are asked to identify ourselves ‚Äď as man or woman, masculine or feminine, straight or queer, tie or pearls ‚Äď for reasons that often are not clear. The expectation that we define ourselves for others is so pervasive that we may not even take note of when or how frequently it occurs. The enactment and representation of gender and sexuality impact all aspects of our lives, and this is perhaps nowhere more clear than in the home. Ideas about gender and sexual orientation exist in the home and they reach beyond, to shape experiences of homelessness as well.

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Understanding Homelessness in Canada Copyright © 2022 by Kristy Buccieri, James Davy, Cyndi Gilmer, and Nicole Whitmore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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