Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Angela Clark-Taylor, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Gregory W. Hamilton, Ed.D.

Alayne Sullivan, Ph.D.


LGBTQ, coming out, queer teachers, queer educators, perceptions and experiences, secondary schools


Educational Leadership


This research project focused on the perceptions and experiences of queer teachers working within secondary schools. The intent of the study was to understand what factors have influenced various teachers' decisions to "come out" or not within the classroom and how their "outness" varied in different spaces and situations. Through an exploration of experiences, teacher participants discussed in what ways their decision to come out or not has had an impact on teaching, learning, and their ability to build rapport with students within the classroom.

A social constructivist framework guided the qualitative methodological approach for this study. Queer educators participated in a three-interview process in order to share their personal stories, perceptions, and insights about working in secondary schools. This phenomenological approach to researcher and participants to "transform lived experience into a textual expression of its essence" (Seidman, 2013, pg. 18). In other words, the researcher was able to derive meaning from the experiences of queer teachers. The findings show that queer teachers must be constantly vigilant and "on their guard" regarding their sexual orientation when navigating the classroom as queer educators. Also, even if teachers have support and have come out in other parts of their lives, coming out in the classroom requires time and meaningful discussion with students. These demands might interfere with the already challenging time constraints of the classroom. Additionally, the identity of these teachers encompasses more than their queerness; each individual is combined with other factors, it creates a multidimensional. These findings could inform and thereby enhance the support systems that institutions put in place to benefit and assist teachers. Furthermore, the perspectives of these teachers could improve understanding of how classroom dynamics and teacher-student rapport are affected when a queer teacher decides to come out or not.


© 2018 Amy Marie Cecilio

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9780438815513