This article examines how lesbian, gay and bisexual teachers in rural schools negotiate their sexual identities within the workplace. Although there has been progress towards LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) inclusion for teachers in urban and suburban schools, this article shows that their rural counterparts often experience their school communities differently. A questionnaire gathered data from school teachers in the United Kingdom identifying as LGBT. Whilst a small number of transgender, gender queer and non-binary teachers completed the questionnaire, it is important to note that these teachers taught only in urban environments. In rural schools, respondents identified only as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). Therefore, LGB is used when referring to the rural respondents in this study and LGBT is used when referring generally to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The experiences of teachers working in rural schools were compared with those working in urban or suburban school settings. Results showed that LGB teachers in rural communities lack the opportunity to speak their identity into existence at school, and often find their personal and professional identities incompatible, leading to low self-worth, depression and anxiety. The article shows that in rural school communities, traditional and conservative rural norms and values are compelling and are often protected at the expense of creating safe and inclusive workplaces for LGB teachers.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited