33 SES 07 B, Gender Non-Conforming Students
Turkey has secular Kemalist-enlightened heritage, however it has been being governed by Justice and Development Party known for its religiosity and close ties to political islam for 15 years (Ozturk, 2011). Since then, the culture of Turkish society turned into a more oppressive culture, which consists of more muslim and nationalist customs and components of masculinity. Members of Turkish society,are generally intolerant of behaviours that deviate from a traditional gender role standard (Duyan & Duyan, 2005).Governmental entities are ruled by laws, regulations and policies (Lugg, 2003) which ensures equality for the citizens however, the law fails to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals. Compared to other minority groups, LGBT individuals live in worse life conditions, as they are marginalized by governmental institutions by banning LGBT film days, pride parade etc. or some of them are not legally protected, although they are under threat of honour killings. On the other side, while the presence of LGBTQ students remains undesirable and shocking for the government, some civil organizations have taken up the mission to change the negative perception by handing out guidance reports for teachers (Secbir, 2016). Moreover; whereas in literature, especially in the U.S.A, there are several studies on homosexual teachers (Newton & Risch, 1981; Mayo, 2008; Giovanini, 2008; Hooker, 2017), in Turkey no study on LGBTQ member teachers has been conducted.
A study of literature indicates that homosexual teachers refrain from coming out for various reasons. For example, Goodman (2005) stated gay and lesbian school community members will not feel safe to be out about their sexuality until the school system takes a united front against anti-gay jokes and comments. In a study conducted by Ozturk (2011) in Turkey “most participants were not “out” in the home environment or at the work place owing to fear of verbal abuse or violence, while these who came out for one reason or another often faced severe discrimination.” The reason beneath this fear might be prejudice, one of them for instance is pointed out by Newton “...that gay men will seek out younger boys as sex partners”. The second prejudice is that students might rate the lectures of gay male and lesbian lecturers more negatively, however “contrary to predictions, the quality of lecture did not influence the ratings of known gay male and lesbian lecturers, although lecture quality strongly influenced ratings of lecturers whose sexual orientation was unspecified.”
As mentioned by Vann (2012), besides the hardship of the process of homosexual teachers coming out to students and colleagues, it might be favourable for students and teachers. Vann noted that (2012), coming out might provide reduced stress on the homosexual teacher who holds in many emotions, stresses and tensions because of hiding real identity. As the second outcome of this process, it allows a better, stronger connection with students, might support to correct misinformation about homosexuality. Thus nonheterosexual ideas enter the classroom curriculum and students may experience the diversity of real world in their classroom. It might also support reducing the economic, religious, racial, ethnic, political, and sexual polarization (Arslan, 2013).
The main purpose of this research is to explore the experiences of teachers and instructors who identify themselves as gay and lesbian. The main theme emphasized in this research is three subquestions: Do gay and lesbian teachers/instructors come out their sexual orientation in the classroom? What reasons do gay and lesbian teachers/instructors give for disclosing or hiding their sexual orientation in the classroom? How do gay and lesbian instructors foster diversity in the classroom related to sexual orientation?
The data will be collected with an interview form which consists of 15 open-ended questions in compliance with these three subquestions. Based on snowball sampling interviews will be conducted with at least eight teachers or lecturers from various public schools or public and private universities. In compliance with this sample method, the participants will be contacted in our social and professional network or via Kaos GL which is the most known civic organization. In the analysis of data, recorded interviews were transcribed. In this process, texts will be read more than once and similar expressions will be combined and coded according to predetermined themes (Wolcott, 1994). Then, data reduction, data presentation, and data validation techniques will be used as qualitative data analysis approaches. (Miles and Huberman, 1994).
In this research, it is expected that owing to the dominated culture of the society, the gay or lesbian teachers or lecturers would state that they do not disclose their sexual identity on the grounds of the fear of exclusion, getting fired and even being a victim of an honour killing. They might explain how they emotionally suffer from the negative stereotypes of being gay or lesbian. Lastly regardless of whether or not they disclose their identity, it is expected that they might contribute to the classroom diversity related to sexual orientation.
Arslan H. (2013). Multicultural education: Approaches, dimensions and principles. In Multicultural Education: From Theory to Practice,Edited by Hasan Arslan and Georgeta Rata. United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Duyan, V. & Duyan, G. (2005) Turkish social work students’ attitudes toward sexuality Sex Roles, 52:9-10, 697-706. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-005-3736-4 Ewing V. L. ,Stukas Jr. A. A. & Sheehan E. P. (2003) Student prejudice against gay male and lesbian lecturers, The Journal of Social Psychology, 143:5, 569-579, DOI: 10.1080/00224540309598464 Giovanini H. (2008). An analysis of gay/lesbian instructur identity in the clasroom. Masters of Arts, University of North Texas. Goodman, J. M. (2005). Homophobia prevention and intervention in elementary schools: A principal’s responsibility. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Issues in Education, 3(1), 111-116. Hooker S. D. (2017). Hiding or out? Lesbian and gay educators reveal their experiences about their sexual identities in their K-12 schools. Journal of Global Education and Research, 1(1), 35-47. Lugg, C.A. (2003). Sissies, faggots,lezzies, and dykes: Gender, sexual orientation, and a new politics of education?, Educational Administration Quarterly, 39 (1) 95-134. Mayo Jr. J. B. (2008). Gay teachers’ negotiated interactions with their students and straight collegues. The High School Journal, 92 (1), 1-10. Newton, D.E. & S. J. Risch.(1981). Homosexuality and education: A review of the issue. The High School Journal. 64 (5)191-202. Ozdemir M. B. (2011). Sexual orientation discrimination: Exploring the experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual employees in Turkey. Human Relations, 64(8) 1099–1118. Secbir (2016). LGBT Hakları icin egitim stratejileri: Sahadan anlatilar ve gozlemler, prepared by Muge Ayhan. Wolcott, H. F. (1994). Transforming qualitative data: Description, analysis, and interpretation. London: Sage. Vann A. (2012). Locked in the Classroom: Teachers Coming Out to Students. The Review: A Journal of Undergraduate Student Research, 13, 27-34.
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