Alberta in the 1990s was marked by active, provincial government contestation of the legal rights of sexual minority citizens. Provincial Premier Ralph Klein defended this position by claiming that "severely normal" Albertans were not in favour of recognizing homosexuality as a protected category in the provincial human rights code. Alberta is the only Canadian province that condones state-sanctioned homophobia. Yet, there have been some important initiatives in Alberta with respect to "queer" youth in schools and, of course, most young people in Alberta have access to a popular culture that extends well beyond provincial boundaries through television, movies, videos, the Internet, books, and magazines, all of which provide a range of representations of "queer" people.Gloria Filax explores how youth identities were and are constructed through dominant and often competing discourses about youth, sexuality, and gender, and how queer youth in the province of Alberta negotiated the contradictions of these discourses. She juxtaposes the voices of queer young people in Alberta with discourses that claim expert knowledge about young people's lives. She also explores what queer youth have to say about their lives in relation to renditions of homosexuality from the Alberta Report, a weekly magazine published in the 1990s that, despite its fiscal marginality, had significant impact on social values in Alberta. Queer Youth in the Province of the "Severely Normal" is important because it presents the voices of queer youth in the context of expert and popular discourses that often overwhelmingly deny the value of their lives. This book will be of interest to readers interested in youth, gender, and sexuality studies.
Gloria Filax is an assistant professor with the Master of Arts, Integrated Studies, at Athabasca University.
Acknowledgments Introduction 1 Gendering: Troubled Theories, Troubling Identities 2 Production and Consumption of Youth Identity 3 Social/Legal Production of Sexual Minorities in Canada 4 Queer Identities and Strange Representations in the Province of the Severely Normal Notes References Index