Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Tara Star Johnson

Committee Chair

Tara Star Johnson

Committee Member 1

Janet Alsup

Committee Member 2

Melanie Shoffner

Committee Member 3

JoAnn Phillion


This dissertation utilizes qualitative research methodology within a queer theoretical framework to investigate the process by which five in-service teachers integrate their private and professional identities to create public identities. Data collection methods included individual interviews, field observations, and artifact analysis. Data analysis focused on the school gender regimes that prescribe the teachers' professional lives; the impact of those gender regimes on the teachers' private identity development, professional identity development, curriculum, pedagogy, and professional relationships; and the identity management strategies each participant utilized in order to integrate his/her respective identities. In addition, data analysis revealed the relative extent to which each teacher had managed to integrate his/her identities to a degree that he/she deemed satisfactory. Various factors that contributed to identity integration resulted in three degrees of integration: each participant utilized hermetic boundaries between his/her private and professional identities, semi-permeable boundaries, or permeable boundaries. Each participant's position along this spectrum of integration is fluid and mutable. Based on these analyses, the findings included the following: (1) School gender regimes affect all participants but present greater challenges for teachers who identify as LGBTQ; (2) All participants, regardless of sexual orientation, utilize identity management strategies to separate or integrate aspects of their private and professional lives; (3) A participant's accumulated years of professional experience and sense of self-confidence exert a greater influence than his/her sexual orientation on his/her degree of identity integration; (4) LGBTQ participants are more likely to develop and cultivate subcultures or communities within the school environment in order to provide themselves and their students with a sense of support and inclusion. ^ The findings of this study suggest the following implications for practice: (1) Queer literacy and queer issues should be integrated into all post-secondary teacher education programs; (2) Teacher educators should be trained in the best practices for educating preservice teachers in queer literacy and queer inclusion; (3) Educators at all levels need to create supportive, compassionate, and inclusive school environments where all teachers and students can express their sexual orientations in professionally appropriate ways without fear of repercussions.