Coming In/Out Together: Queer(ing) schools through stories of difference and vulnerability

Lindsay Sarah Marie Cavanaugh


Over the past few decades, Canada has implemented more equitable laws that delineate movement towards greater acceptance of gender and sexual minorities (e.g. Smith, 2008; Rayside, 2008). Despite these shifts, evidence suggests that public schools remain unsafe and non-affirming spaces for many people who identify as LGBTQ*. While efforts have been made to create safe(r) spaces for students who identify as LGBTQ*, primarily through anti-bullying policies, only a minority of Canadian schools have affirmatively recognized sexual and gender diversity in classroom learning. Some scholars assert that without accompanyingcurricular reform, anti-bullying work may promote a singular and dichotomized queer narrative: that to be LGBTQ* equates victimhood or resilience. This study — through a qualitative analysis of interviews with two English teachers, surveys from 30 Grade 10 students, and observations from a workshop with a Grade 10 class — explores the role of storytelling as a means for fostering queer-affirming spaces.


queer-affirming; curricular reform; inclusion; coming out stories

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ISSN 1923-1334 (Online)

University of Victoria