Queering Agricultural Education Research: Challenges and Strategies for Advancing Inclusion
Keywords:lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, LGBTQ, inclusion, diversity, agricultural education, 4-H, FFA
For more than 30 years, the field of agricultural education has grappled with complex questions of how to recruit, support, retain, and teach diverse youth. Yet the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community is rarely included in published agricultural education research. This philosophical paper addresses the immediate need for understanding more about LGBTQ youth in agricultural education, while identifying opportunities and specific strategies to shift the culture of agricultural education research towards inclusion. Queer theory is leveraged to reveal a nascent body of literature related to sexuality in 4-H and school-based agricultural education. LGBTQ youth in agricultural education face significant challenges: educators ill prepared to meet their needs, a lack of policies to inform decision making, active homophobia from teachers and peers, among others. Agricultural education researchers face methodological and disciplinary barriers to conducting LGBTQ research. Authors employ unique tacticsto conduct and disseminate their work. Understanding these strategies and analyzing the conditions that necessitate their use contributes to the disciplinary knowledge of how to conduct inclusive research – not just for LGBTQ youth – but for the profession writ large.