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Children’s literature: sexual identity, gender and childhood

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Lesnik-Oberstein, K. (2016) Children’s literature: sexual identity, gender and childhood. Breac: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies, 6. ISSN 2372-2231

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Abstract/Summary

On the twenty-third of May 2015, Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. This event reversed a large part, if not all, of Ireland’s reputation for a Catholic-led conservatism concerning sexual and gender identities. I argue in this article that we can see a parallel-in-miniature to this momentous shift in something of a reversal of children’s literature’s views in this respect too, and I will concentrate on exploring what is at stake in the ways that childhood, sexual and gender identities are constructed in some recent children’s literature criticism in the light of these shifts. My interest is to consider: what is the ever-burgeoning interest in the gay, queer, cross-dressing, transsexual or transgender child precisely about? I ask this question on the grounds of not assuming that this interest in these identities arises necessarily simply out of a self-evident, progressive, liberatory impulse, and, alongside this, I also do not assume that ‘identities’ are essential, self-organised traits awaiting revelation and liberation.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:52477
Publisher:University of Notre Dame

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