“They think I am a pervert”: a qualitative analysis of lesbian and gay teachers’ experiences with stress at school
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Consensual Qualitative Research was used to develop a framework for understanding the demands faced by lesbian and gay (LG) teachers as a function of the interaction between sexual identity and professional context, including resources used in combatting those demands. Data sources included two interviews each with 11 teachers who each identified as lesbian or gay. Overall, the participants identified a far greater diversity of demands than resources/coping strategies. This speaks to the main finding, which indicates that neither remaining closeted nor being open about sexual orientation protected teachers from a variety of workplace demands explicitly tied to sexual orientation. Findings are discussed within the context of literature on minority stress, the transactional model of stress, and coping strategies. The present study adds to the literature on the types of demands and resources that are unique to LG individuals by highlighting specific interactions between sexual identity management and the workplace. Additionally, the study contributes to the body of work on teacher stress by providing a framework for how elements of identity that do not directly relate to teaching can influence the demands experienced by teachers. Implications for supporting LG teachers and making their school environments less stressful are discussed.