Resisting embodied failure: Queer and trans adult allies welcoming queer and trans youth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the initial data from a larger project, considered through the lens of failure from the perspective of Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure (2011) as a way of resisting hegemonic narratives about success and how it is culturally defined. As suggested by Halberstam’s use of failure, the limitations or undesirable elements of failure reside in rigid institutional definitions of success. As such, I will examine the failure of adults and institutions in queer and trans youth lives, and how uncreative and limiting rules and roles within schools require queer and trans youth to experience failure. By contrast, queer and trans adults as collaborators and accomplices to youth recognize the failure that has shown up for queer and trans youth in institutions, and redefine failure and success in solidarity with youth. Using an understanding of failure as a particularly queer epistemology and ontology, I look at this reframing of failure as resistance to institutions, such as schools, where young people are often blamed for their failure. This blame contributes to the violence young people experience in schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-1006
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2022


  • Queer failure
  • adult allies
  • queer youth
  • solidarity
  • trans youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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