Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2024 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award - First Place.

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Open Access Dissertation


The role of a teacher is typically stereotyped as adhering to the status quo and societal norms, but LGBTQ+ educators and their intersecting identities have the power to interrupt the norm and move toward inclusion and advocacy for all, thus allowing the concepts of critical theory and queer theory to intersect. I have titled this merger queertical theory to discuss how LGBTQ+ teachers and their intersecting identities/nuanced perceptions and lived experiences can enact change in the field of education. Little research or information exists regarding how LGBTQ+ educators manage, handle, or even perceive intersectionality in their profession.

This qualitative study documented intersectionality and lived experiences of LGBTQ+ educators and their nuanced perceptions of outness in the field of education via ten semistructured interviews with pre-K–12 student teachers, educators, and educational leaders who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. Data and results of this phenomenological study were analyzed using Nvivo coding and dramaturgical coding. Key themes and objectives revealed participants understood the importance of LGBTQ+ representation, but the increasingly polarized political climate has caused them to participate in acts of professional covering and to utilize ambiguity rather than fully embracing and enacting queertical theory tenets. Participants also reported hopefulness for future LGBTQ+ educators, and cited if teacher preparation programs could ‘Queer the curriculum’ then maybe someday educators could truly be comfortably OUT in education.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

2024 Award

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

David Schmid, Chair, Dissertation Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 178 pages)