07 SES 11 B, ‘Negotiating Heteronormative School Contexts’ - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Issues in Education
In Sweden, much has been done to strengthen and protect the rights of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) citizens. The situation in schools, however, is more complex particularly in respect of the (in)visibility of LGB pupils/teachers as well as an overwhelmingly heteronormative school culture. This study examines the perspectives of a cohort of LGB teachers regarding their experiences of “coming out” while working in Swedish schools. Data was gathered with the support and cooperation of a teachers’ LGBT network and research participants were encouraged to write one page of text either detailing their experience of “coming out” or outlining their reluctance to do so. Analysis of this data reveals three distinct themes: the contrasting mindsets within the school community regarding LGB issues, different approaches of LGB teachers of being “outed” and the “lived experience” of LGB teachers in Swedish schools. The voices presented in this presentation suggest a need for these teachers to take action/precautions to comply with the norm. For heterosexuals, sexuality is continuously manifest without any need for such actions. Although the environment for Swedish LGB people is generally positive, data suggests more work needs to be done in schools.
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