University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

“I am what I am…”: An Overview of the Experiences of Openly Gay and Lesbian Teachers in a Period of Declining Homohysteria

Bullingham, Rachael, Bingle, B. and Shire, J. (2019) “I am what I am…”: An Overview of the Experiences of Openly Gay and Lesbian Teachers in a Period of Declining Homohysteria. In: UCU LGBT+ Research Conference: I Want To Be Me: Contextualising Self-Identities, 17th May 2019, University of Manchester. (Unpublished)


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This presentation will highlight the initial findings of a small-scale pilot project examining the experiences of 13 self-selecting gay and lesbian teachers working in Primary and Secondary schools in England. The project aimed to give voice to individuals’ lived experience as education practitioners identifying as “out” in the workplace, in order to counteract negative perceptions of hostility to disclosures of sexual orientation by teachers. As Edwards et al. (2014) acknowledge, there is still a gap in research of teachers working in schools since the removal of Section 28, an act rushed through the UK parliament in 1988 during a period of high homohysteria (Anderson, 2011; Moran, 2001). The repeal of the Act in 2003 led to a cultural shift, with homophobia steadily in decline according to GSS data (Anderson, 2011). This project seeks to identify how teachers navigate both homophobia and heteronormativity within an educational context; in addition, it explores perceptions of impact on learners in the classroom as a result of a school culture of openness. The presentation details the initial findings from the interviews carried out, providing a comparative account between the experiences of those who teach in the Primary and Secondary phases of contemporary UK education.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: sexual orientation, gender identity, primary education, LGBT teachers, secondary education
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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Depositing User: Rachael Bullingham
Date Deposited: 22 May 2019 12:24
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2021 10:40

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