Development of adult school professionals and their attitudes toward homosexuality and their sexual minority counterparts
Mitchell McCluskey, Marilyn
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to assess the attitudes of heterosexual educators toward homosexuality and sexual minority educators, and ascertain what factors contributed to the heterosexual educators’ attitudes. The study also sought to determine if continuing education was believed to be valuable to learn about sexual orientation. This study was guided by the following research questions: 1) What are the attitudes of heterosexual educators toward sexual minority (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer, or LGBTQ) educators? 2) What factors lead to the attitudes that heterosexual educators hold toward homosexuality and sexual minority educators? 3) What value is placed on continuing professional education for learning about homosexuality and sexual orientation? Twelve self-identified heterosexual educators participated in the study. Nine were elementary teachers, and three taught in middle schools. Seven African American, three Caucasian, one Asian and one biracial educator participated. Two participants were male. The group’s religious affiliations were: eight Baptists, two Non-Denominational, one Methodist, and one Catholic. Data were collected through the use of semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. The data revealed four major themes. To the majority of educators in this study, 1) Homosexuality is immoral and unnatural; 2) Homosexuality is a personal choice; 3) Sexual minorities do not conform to gender role expectations; and 4) Homosexuality has a negative impact on children. Religion, sexual minority acquaintances, and aging were found to have fostered the heterosexual educators’ attitudes toward homosexuality and sexual minority educators. A significant finding is that many teachers exist in a state of cognitive dissonance. Educators in the study frequently held mutually exclusive and conflicting notions, simultaneously. Some educators, while holding negative attitudes toward sexual minorities, acknowledge the rights of sexual minorities. Teachers in this study expressed the belief that Continuing Professional Education would be valuable for addressing the gaps in their knowledge about homosexuality and sexual orientation.