UBC Graduate Research

Disrupting heteronormativity in schools Chamberlain, James; Kothlow, Alysha


The purpose of this research study was to examine the successes, challenges and actions of teacher leaders and administrators as they worked to disrupt heteronormativity. Our goal was to become more aware of how administrators and teacher leaders can create positive and equitable school experiences for all, irrespective of sexuality and gender identity. Specifically, the proposed research sought to answer the following questions: How is educational leadership discussed in literature with regards to the disruption of heteronormativity in schools? In what ways have recently retired educators led to disrupt heteronormativity in public schools? What factors contributed to the success/breakdown of these intended disruptions? What recommendations can be made to administrators and teacher leaders to help them disrupt heteronormativity in their schools? This study also sought to make recommendations to educators based on the findings from interviewees. Five interviews were conducted with teacher leaders and administrators who had recently retired from the profession. The researchers analyzed interview transcriptions for emergent themes and for themes prevalent in literature, such as fear and silence, policing of administrators, policing of heteronormativity by administrators, and opportunities for heteronormative disruptions. The study found that fear and silence on LGBTQ issues in schools remain prevalent in British Columbia. This study also documents strategies administrators and teacher leaders can use to break the silence on LBGTQ issues and lead for systemic change. A complete list of recommendations for educators to build more accepting schools for LGBTQ students, staff and families is included at the end of the paper.

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