Institutionalized Sexual Prejudice: A narrative analysis of LGBQ teacher experiences

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Gray, Amy
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of the experiences of LGBQ public elementary teachers in Ontario as described by the personal narratives of 13 respondents. In general, these teachers often remain closeted at work because elementary schools tend to be oppressive environments for any person who violates heteronormative expectations (Duke, 2007; Hooker, 2010). To date, little is known about this demographic group, and this study was designed as an exploratory investigation within a narrative inquiry framework. Three main research questions guided this thesis: (1) what are the experiences and opinions around coming out in the classroom among LGBQ elementary school teachers in Ontario, (2) How does being an LGBQ teacher influence one’s pedagogical approaches, and (3) In what ways are LGBQ teachers resilient in the face of prejudice-related adversity. Teachers reported feeling oppression and fear of job loss, engaging in risk-benefit analyses before letting their LGBQ identities influence their teaching, and finding satisfaction in being a positive LGBQ role model to students.

LGB, prejudice, discrimination, resilience, queer pedagogy, public school system, social justice