No Homo, Bro: Sexuality And Its Perception in the High School Environment

Jacob Cole

Abstract


Sexuality is a facet of diversity garnering significant attention in recent years. Events such as the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality and the massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, less than one year later have raised questions and concerns within the field of education; mainly, how can educators as a group and society as a whole better provide for LGBTQ+ students? This study looks at sexuality and its perception in the high school environment, considering both how does the perception of sexuality affect students throughout their high school experience and what can emerging teachers do to make their classrooms more accepting and welcoming for LGBTQ+ students. Interviews were conducted with 12 college students, both LGBTQ+ and straight, asking them to reflect on their high school experience and how sexuality and its perception played into that experience. These students were selected through snowball sampling with the goal of interviewing students with different backgrounds and upbringings. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using grounded theory. The analysis and presentation of the material is built on common themes found in the interviews, using frameworks of gender and queer theory to break down binaries and consider identity on a spectrum. Results suggest that while sexuality is not a topic that is talked about frequently, its implications run deep and affect students’ perceptions of themselves and others on a subconscious level. Additionally, results point to the effects of location and religion on perception of sexuality and how these outside factors influence students’ views of themselves and others. This first-hand data will be useful in future classrooms to help create an accepting, welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students while also recognizing that their sexuality is not their one defining characteristic.


Keywords


Sexuality; Perception; High School

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