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Tenure, Civil Rights Laws, Inclusive Contracts, and Fear: Legal Protection and the Lives of Self-Identified Lesbian, Gay Male, and Bisexual Public School Teachers.

Juul, Thomas Patrick

Abstract: This paper presents findings of a study that examined the results of tenure and legal protection on lesbian, gay male, and bisexual public school teachers. Specifically, it describes the effect of tenure, state laws, inclusive contracts, and local ordinances on the openness and public identities of gay teachers. A total of 904 out of 1,400 lesbian, homosexual male, and bisexual teachers completed a survey. Of these, 611 were contacted through lesbian and gay teacher organizations and 289 acquaintances were contacted through the members of these organizations. Findings indicate that tenure had a strong negative influence on issues related to job satisfaction. Tenure did not appear to provide protection or an avenue to openness about the respondents' sexual preference. The data raised two further questions: (1) Why did tenure fail to provide the expected increase in teacher openness about their sexual identities? and (2) Why were respondents largely uninformed about their civil rights? To answer these questions, 11 respondents, none of whom were explicitly "out" in their schools, were contacted for follow-up interviews. They reported that they were not open about their sexual identities because of the fear of professional, social, and physical reprisals. In conclusion, homophobia drives many qualified and talented teachers away from teaching. Those who stay must constantly attend to the prospect of exposure with all its consequences. The wider implication is that any teacher, straight or gay, who holds and expresses unpopular views may experience fear and isolation. Fourteen tables and an appendix containing 27 interview narratives are included. (LMI)

Title: Tenure, Civil Rights Laws, Inclusive Contracts, and Fear: Legal Protection and the Lives of Self-Identified Lesbian, Gay Male, and Bisexual Public School Teachers.
Author: Juul, Thomas Patrick
Note: 54p.; Paper prepared for the Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Educational Research Association (25th, New York, NY, October 26-28, 1994).
Publication Year: Nov 1994
Document Type: Conference Paper (150); Research Report (143)
Target Audience: Teachers and Practitioners and Counselors
ERIC Identifier: ED377565
Clearinghouse Identifier: EA026360
This document is available from the ERIC Document Reproduction Service.

Descriptors: Civil Rights; * Civil Rights Legislation; Elementary Secondary Education; Equal Protection; * Homophobia; * Homosexuality; * Job Satisfaction; Public Schools; Quality of Working Life; Sex Discrimination; * Teacher Welfare; Tenured Faculty

Identifiers: *Homosexual Teachers

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