Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration

Major Professor

Brian Beabout, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Christopher Broadhurst, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Richard Speaker, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Ann O'Hanlon, Ph.D.


Even though living openly is associated with better health, gay teachers are in an ambiguous position legally and socially when it comes to finding safe and successful ways to living openly while at work in K-8 schools. The purpose of this grounded theory study is to describe approaches gay teachers have found and employed to living openly in K-8 schools. From the interview data collected from eleven gay teachers, an identity development model was produced, which the researcher entitled The Gay Teacher's Workplace Visibility Process Model. No existing identity development models focus solely on the approaches gay teachers take to living openly in the K-8 school. The Gay Teacher's Workplace Visibility Process Model consists of four stages: becoming visible to administrators and other teachers, becoming visible to students, becoming visible to students' parent, and identity maintenance. It is hoped that this study will ultimately prompt more gay teachers to live openly as the model is intended to serve as a guide for future or current gay K-8 teachers who wish to live openly at work. This study also has implications for administrators and teachers, the first people gay teachers come out to. Administrators and other teachers can support gay teachers in becoming fully visible at work safely and successfully through their actions and words, which could potentially lead to more accepting school environments for everyone through the fostering of a culture of inclusivity.


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