Out or in...? Which is it?: The Question of Coming Out in the Heteronormative and Homophobic World of Education


  • Barbara A. Johnson Kutztown University


lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, LGBT, LGBTQ, queer theory, identity, sexuality, heteronormative, heterosexism, homophobia, LGBT educators, art education


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) educators and students face a frightening world inside our school buildings. LGBT educators constantly face the potential for the life-threatening consequences of coming out in the classroom or the negative emotional and physical effects of remaining closeted. LGBT students and teachers report regular assaults and abuses due to their marginalized status in school. This paper examines the tensions which circulate around the issue of coming out for the LGBT school community. Furthermore, the topic of queer theory is explored along with the opportunities provided by such theory for the deconstruction of the existing heterosexist framework in our schools. The question of how this relates to the art educator is considered in the context of the unique opportunities afforded in the art room for today’s youth to consider issues of identity, differences, and community.