"I had to lead a hidden life in some way": Identities of LGBT elementary school teachers

Open Access
Kootsikas, Allison K.
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
April 25, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Dr Kimberly Powell, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • Dr Kimberly Powell, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Stephanie Cayot Serriere, Committee Member
  • Jeanine M Staples, Committee Member
  • Margaret Ann Lorah, Committee Member
  • LGBT teachers
  • LGBT elementary school teachers
  • positioning theory
  • performativity
  • identity
This study focused on identities of six LGBT elementary school teachers in Southern City, USA, a metropolitan area in the southeastern United States. Specifically, it focused on how these teachers perceive themselves in schools that represents societal norms of gender and heterosexuality. This study examined how LGBT elementary school teachers presented themselves to students and parents, as well as other school faculty, administrators, and staff and the implications that were incurred due to their choices. A series of three interviews were completed with the study participants. These interviews discussed their life history, details of their experiences, and reflection on their practices. The data analysis was framed in performativity and positioning theory in order to examine the participants positioned themselves in relation to storied contexts and also to examine how they were able to shift their identities in various contexts. Narratives were crafted from the participants’ interviews in order to place the findings in context of their lived experiences. The four main themes that emerged from the interview data were those of the shifting identities based on context, the use of language to position the self in relation to context and to manage identities, private versus public identity management, and the subversive nature of religion in the schools.