Creating Inclusive Schools for Lgbtiq Youth, Staff, and Families

Equitable Educational Leadership and Research Practice

Authored by: Michael P. O'Malley

Handbook of Research on Educational Leadership for Equity and Diversity

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415657457
eBook ISBN: 9780203076934
Adobe ISBN: 9781135128432


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This chapter sets out to untangle a complicated and interlocking series of culturally produced discursive structures, arguably linked to the oppressive dynamics of racism that the theologian Jim Wallis (2005) calls “the original sin” of the United States as a society founded in part on genocide and enslavement, that allow heterosexism in P-12 schools to masquerade as a manifestation of the way the world is and needs to be. Specifically, the chapter is organized into four sections that offer educational leaders and researchers (a) a language for understanding LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, and Questioning) as a signifier of difference rather than a fixed identity or population; (b) queer theory as a conceptual resource for rethinking cultural dynamics through which heterosexuality becomes privileged in schools and society; (c) evidence-based strategies for creating educational equity for LGBTIQ youth, staff, and families in P-12 schools; and (d) implications for future educational research. Taken as a whole, these sections argue the compelling need for both queer and non-queer school leaders and educational researchers to act deliberatively in the work of equitable leadership for LGBTIQ persons in schools. Suggesting research-based strategies for equitable educational leadership practice is particularly complex in that doing so could inadvertently reinscribe fixed, and therefore problematic, notions of leadership, identity, structure, power, or research. Reading the extant research literature in this area through the lens of queer theory offers a reflective pathway toward informed advocacy and action while simultaneously resisting the constraining allure of permanent, settled, and stable categories.

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