From Contagious to Resilient and Beyond: A Periodization of Four Decades of Educational Research on LGBTQ Issues

Sarah Schneider Kavanagh


This article presents a periodization of educational research on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues between 1970 and 2010. Developed through a frame analysis of 105 educational research reports, the periodization maps ideological and chronological patterns in the conceptual frames of research on LGBTQ issues. Five paradigmatic frames for understanding LGBTQ issues in education are discussed: (a) homosexuality as a social contagion; (b) homosexuality as a private identity; (c) LGB youth as “at-risk”; (d) LGBTQ youth as victims; and (f) LGBTQ youth as resilient. The author calls for an expansion beyond individual-level analyses into investigations of educational practice.


gay/lesbian studies; gender studies; LGBT; frame analysis; Queer theory

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