Challenging homophobia and heterosexism through storytelling and critical dialogue among Hong Kong Chinese immigrant parents in Toronto.

Published: November 12, 2012


Homophobia and heterosexism are ubiquitous in Canadian society. They contribute to significant health and mental health disparities for lesbian, gay and bisexual youth and their families. Anti-homophobia efforts tend to focus on students and teachers at school. While these efforts are important, they do not reach parents, who play an important role in shaping young people’s attitudes towards gender and sexuality. To eliminate bullying and victimisation associated with homophobia at school and in the community, concerted efforts are urgently needed to mobilise parents to become champions against homophobia and heterosexism. In this paper, we report on our use of storytelling and critical dialogue to engage a group of Hong Kong Chinese immigrant parents in Toronto to interrogate their values and assumptions about homosexuality. In particular, we illustrate how we use storytelling to create a liminal space whereby the narrators and listeners collaborate to create counter-discourses that challenge social domination and exclusion. We then discuss the implications of using a critical dialogical approach to integrate anti-homophobia efforts in community parenting programmes.

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