Dislocating student-teachers identities in a colombian teacher education program. A queer perspective on trans and gender-fluid individuals

Within the context of English Language Teaching (ELT) education, it is argued that “classrooms are inhabited by gender stories” (Castañeda-Peña, 2021a, p. 41). These stories, however, are intersected by evident ontological colonialism nested in the idea that English language teachers and learners are at the periphery of hegemonic power structures on the geographical, body-political, social, and language levels (Ubaque-Aguirre, 2021, under revision). Some studies have drawn some attention to the importance of teachers’ being prepared to challenge heteronormativity (Brochin, 2019) since “English language teaching [continues to be] oriented towards that goal of identifying decontextualized forms of being in the field of teaching” (Castañeda-Peña, 2018). Such a decontextualization may explain why gender-based epistemologies and ontologies have been either erased or subordinated to the exotic domain.

However, there seems to be an evident interest in dislocating established knowledge concerning gender in the ELT field. In the local milieu, different authors (see Mojica & Castañeda-Peña, 2017; Ubaque-Casallas & Castañeda-Peña, 2021) have documented valuable emerging border-knowledge(s) that provide fresh ground to think of gender and its intersection with language pedagogies. Since border thinking is here understood as “the epistemology of the exteriority; that is, of the outside created from the inside” (Mignolo & Tlostanova, 2006, p. 206), I believe much more needs to be said about language pedagogies as these are situated and enacted from the borders of gender. Concerning this, Trujillo (2015) invites to think of queer pedagogies as these are not to be understood as unique pedagogies for the LGTBIQ+ community. Instead, they are an option to “de-patriarch, deracialize, and de-heterosexualize education [they are] an invitation not to think straight, to think from another place [from the border]” (p. 1538).

In the same vein, Banegas, Jacovkis, and Romiti (2020) have stated that since “teacher education plays a central role in instilling gender values in student teachers as there is a pressing need to prepare teachers as agents of change for diversity, inclusion, and social justice.” (p. 2). Therefore, I hold the view that since no language pedagogy is neutral (Ubaque-Casallas, 2021), nor should be any approach towards ELT. Language pedagogies can become a subversive and provocative bet, for “those considered different from and inferior to ‘modern’ individuals [to] exert their agency to resist and challenge the hegemonic discourses of modernity/coloniality” (López-Gopar, 2016, p. 10). Being this said, this proposal offers to examine, from the voices of gender-dissident student-teachers’, how English language educators at an initial teacher education program at Universidad Distrital Francisco Jose de Caldas (UDFJC) engage in practices that make invisible bodies and identities that do not conform to the binary norm. Moreover, this proposal is also interested in documenting how English student-teachers position themselves when being disrupted by discourses and pedagogical practices around gender/sex concerning their own identities