The stories in The Teacher's Closet: Lesbian and Gay Educators in Georgia's Public Middle Schools reveal the intricate and multifaceted process of identity management that lesbian and gay Georgia middle school teachers regularly engage in, with the intention of carefully negotiating the conservative, heterosexist, and at times homophobic culture of education. Disclosure for a homosexual teacher is not a one-time event. As the stories reveal, managing one's sexual identity is an ongoing process. A feeling of uneasiness surrounding acceptance from others is also a regular occurrence in the homosexual community. To understand why lesbian and gay teachers feel the need to conceal and protect their homosexual identities, it is necessary to understand the social and political climate that forces them to surrender their real identity. In our heterosexist society where homosexuals are often portrayed as different, even sinful, it is not surprising that many homosexual teachers refrain from disclosing their sexual identity to their students, especially in the conservative state of Georgia. The Teacher's Closet is relevant to courses that include diversity in teacher education and teach inclusion and equality in education.
Heather A. Cooper is a veteran educator in the state of Georgia. She earned her PhD from Lesley University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) in educational studies with a specialization in adult learning and development. Heather is currently a high school teacher in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.
Preface - Acknowledgements - Introduction - The Invisible Minority - Sandy's Closet - Becca's Closet - Daisy's Closet - Holly's Closet - Jackie's Closet - Frank's Closet - Byron's Closet - Lisa's Closet - Marsha's Closet - Marie's Closet - Walking in Truth - Final Thoughts - Index.
"The voices of these 10 middle school teachers provide the reader with a direct and intimate look inside the lives of lesbian and gay teachers who do not share their sexual identity with their students. Through their voices, we see how societal pressures and the lack of legal protection for these teachers impoverishes the educational experiences of their students. As educators, policymakers, parents, and citizens, this book calls on us to implement changes to correct this shortcoming."
-Terrence Keeney, Professor of Education at Lesley University "Thoroughly researched and thoughtfully presented, this book takes a critical look into the professional and personal lives of gay teachers and how their experiences impact their careers, their teaching, and their relationships with their students, administrators, friends, and family members. Although focused on teachers in the state of Georgia, their stories transcend region and culture to present the implications of dual identity for teachers everywhere. This book is a powerful read and one that could benefit educators from all perspectives and at all levels for its highly informed, compassionate, and groundbreaking view of the struggles and triumphs of teachers balancing their desire for authenticity with their dedication to education."
-Kathryn Owen Hix, Faculty Fellow at Greenville Technical College