The Gendered and Heterosexist Evolution of the Teacher Exemplar in the United States: Equity Implications for LGBTQ and Gender Nonconforming Teachers

Michele Kahn, Paul C. Gorski


Challenges confront lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender public school teachers or those who are perceived as such or who desire to be open about their sexual orientations or gender identities or expression. Teachers who do not conform to gender and sexual orientation norms currently are and historically have been the subject of persecution, urban myths, and general hysteria—part of bigger efforts to normalize heterosexuality and cisgender-ness through the development of a distinctive “exemplar” related to who teachers should be. We examine the related historical  and legal context of gender and sexuality in schools and then offer suggestions regarding how to redress the lingering impacts of gender- and heteronormativity.


teachers, gender, sexual orientation, heterosexism, LGBT

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