Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Dana L. Grisham; Donna Barnes; Karen Cadiero-Kaplan; Margaret Gallego


Gays & Lesbians, K-12 educators, identity, interpretive methodology, LGBTQ+, literacy belief and practices, Lived experience, pedagogy, support structures


The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of gay and lesbian K-12 educators who consider themselves out within the classrooms in which they teach. With gay and lesbian issues receiving increased visibility within the K-12 setting, researchers have begun to examine the experiences of gay and lesbian K-12 educators (Harbeck, 1992; Letts IV & Sears, 1999; Jennings, 1994; Kissen, 1996; Parker, 2001; Sanlo, 1999) within this context. Yet few research studies have specifically examined gay and lesbian educators who consider themselves out in the classroom in which they teach. Five gay male teachers and five lesbian teachers who consider themselves out in the classrooms in which they teach participated in this research. At the time of the study, seven were teaching at the high school level, one at the middle school level, and two within the elementary level. Using an interpretive methodology, three main research questions framed this study; What are the lived experiences of out gay and lesbian K-12 educators? What are the interconnections between being out, pedagogical beliefs and practices? What factors support gay and lesbian educators to remain out within their classroom environments? The research results identify the qualities that define out gay and lesbian educators, explores the connections between identity and literacy belief and practices, and concludes with a discussion of the support structures gay and lesbian educators deem essential in their ability to remain out within their classroom.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access