Opening up, finding support : students' and teachers' LGBQ disclosures

Adults and youth in high schools make decisions about coming out as an LGBQ person or ally based on the complex relationships among school culture, policy protections, and individual gendered embodiment. Research has yet to put teachers and students into conversation about LGBQ sexuality and disclosure. This paper explores how disclosing an LGBQ or allied identity can help create a community of support among teachers and students. Using stories collected by The Beyond Bullying Project, a national storytelling project, I examine ways students and teachers choose to disclose, how disclosure fosters a sense of support, and what undermines its supportive possibilities. I argue that feelings of support resulting from disclosure in the classroom contribute to the health, learning, and social empowerment of all students and teachers.