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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Understanding the decision-making process behind LGBTQ+ teachers in the UK openly expressing their gender and sexual identity in the workplace.

Lee, Amanda (2024) Understanding the decision-making process behind LGBTQ+ teachers in the UK openly expressing their gender and sexual identity in the workplace.

Item Type: Article


Section 28 (Local Government Act 1988) was repealed in 2003 and the Equalities Act 2010, made it illegal to discriminate against someone due to transgender or sexual orientation, yet until 2020, there was no official guidance for all schools on how to integrate the teaching of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer plus other sex and gender identities (LGBTQ+) issues (Department for Education (DFE), 2017a; DFE, 2017b). Many practicing teachers will have been educated and developed their pedagogy and practice at a time when discussions of LGBTQ+ issues in schools were either illegal (pre-2003) or with no official guidance of support (post-2003). There is very little research on the experiences of LGBTQ+ teachers, particularly in the United Kingdom (UK), as most literature focuses on the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth. This research provides insight into the experiences of LGBTQ+ teachers who are either open or not about their identity and explore how they made their decision and what they feel could be done to improve LGBTQ+ representation in education.

Through an online survey, teachers throughout the UK were asked a series of quantitative questions with follow-up qualitative questions about their experience in schools, covering issues such as if they are out, and to what extent, reflecting upon the reasons for this. Teachers were also asked if their school had an inclusion policy and the perceived impact of this.

Teachers who are more likely to be open about their sexual orientation tend to have 10+ years teaching experience, be homosexual as opposed to asexual or bisexual and or work in schools which have an embedded inclusion and diversity policy. Teachers who are less open are more likely to be earlier in their careers, be bisexual or queer and do not have a supportive ethos underscored by policy in their school, with the themes of fear and institutional heteronormativity acting as the main barriers. In terms of gender identity, being anything other than cis-gendered was the main barrier with a lack of understanding regarding gender and heteronormativity also contributing to this.

This research recommends mandatory LGBTQ+ training for all staff working in education, to improve knowledge about LGBTQ+ issues, especially about gender and non-binary genders and sexualities. It also recommends the creation of inclusion and diversity policy in schools to cover LGBTQ+ discrimination and champion inclusive practices. This should be supported by the creation of an inclusion and diversity officer to act as a visible point of contact and to drive the inclusion and diversity policy being embedded into the ethos of the school.

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Depositing User: Amanda Lee


Item ID: 17806
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ORCID for Amanda Lee: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2024 11:53
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 12:00