Out of the classroom closet: why only some gay and lesbian teachers are out

Date

2009-08-19T15:32:48Z

Authors

Lecky, Duane Joseph

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Abstract

Canada and British Columbia have legislation in place to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. A growing number of BC school districts have policy protecting gays and lesbians. However, some gay and lesbian teachers still hide their sexual orientation. Organizational theory recognizes that formal rules do not define the organization. In-depth interviews with 13 gay and lesbian teachers indicate that they would rather not maintain their classroom closets; but that they needed to know that they would be safe coming out. The methodology followed the tradition of narrative inquiry by collecting stories. Initial recruitment was through email, print, and word-of-mouth advertising. An on-line form was used to filter prospective participants to include urban, rural, Muslim, Catholic, closeted, and politically active participants. The great silence with respect to gays and lesbians in the workforce, paired with a history of negative messages needs to be offset by the frequent and ubiquitous dissemination of positive messages.

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Keywords

gay, lesbian, homosexuality, gay teacher, coming out, narrative, narrative inquiry, Canada, British Columbia, BC, sexual orientation, discrimination, school policy, Organizational theory, In-depth interviews, qualitative, recruitment techniques, on-line form, anonymous participants, anonymous interview, queer, gay rights

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