Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Susan L. Groenke

Committee Members

Judson C. Laughter, Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon, Colleen P. Gilrane


Research from GLSEN has shown that rural, Southern schools are some of the most dangerous places to be for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning students. These students hear more disparaging language, face more bullying, have less resources for information, and are less likely to see positive representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people in their school’s curriculum. Based on this research, I wanted to understand the perceptions of secondary English teachers in a small, Southern rural school district of using LGBTQ young adult literature (YAL) in the classroom.

Drawing on parts of Paulo Freire’s dialogic method of research, I interviewed four secondary English teachers who were employed by the same small rural school system. My findings confirmed previous research by Thein (2013) and Stallworth, Gibbons, and Fauber (2006) that stated teachers did not teach LGBTQ texts because of fear of administration and others. The discussion includes implications for the noninclusion of LGBTQ YAL in perpetuating a system of oppressive, tacit homophobia and recommendations for how teacher educators can use these texts in their classrooms as well as how administrators can support teachers.

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