The Last Closet: The Real Lives of Lesbian and Gay Teachers

Overview

This book tells the story of lesbian and gay teachers as they struggle for dignity in the face of homophobia. It describes the struggles of educators caught between their desire for authenticity and their need for safety - a need that forces most of them to hide a significant part of their identity.

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Overview

This book tells the story of lesbian and gay teachers as they struggle for dignity in the face of homophobia. It describes the struggles of educators caught between their desire for authenticity and their need for safety - a need that forces most of them to hide a significant part of their identity.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kissen interviewed 105 lesbian, gay and bisexual teachers, counselors, librarians and administrators in public and private schools from Oregon to Massachusetts, encompassing preschool to senior high. As her survey reveals, gay educators are still widely harassed, pressured to resign or fired outright solely because of their sexual orientation. Her respondents voice their desire to be open and authentic with students and colleagues, but many or most remain closeted, often even constructing an imaginary hetero existence to preserve their safety. Kissen, who is heterosexual and an associate professor at the University of Southern Maine's College of Education, began her research after her lesbian daughter became a high school English teacher. She found the interviewees to be conscientious, competent professionals, many of whom counteract isolation through support groups and networks of friends, or by joining the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network, the first national gay teachers organization. A unique resource for teachers, parents and administrators who want to challenge homophobic stereotypes and improve the lives of gay and lesbian educators. (June) FYI: June is Gay Pride Month.
Booknews
Lesbian and gay teachers, counselors, librarians, and administrators tell their stories of struggle in the face of homophobia. Offers descriptions of daily life in the classroom and common problems and issues, and suggests survival strategies for lesbian and gay educators and advice for heterosexual parents, teachers, and administrators. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Whitney Scott
Kissen helps break down the door of the last closet in America, that of professional educators, who may lose their livings simply because they are gay or lesbian. The stories she relays come from more than 100 educators, librarians, counselors, and administrators who struggle daily in homophobic environments. From the stories--sorted into five sections thematically entitled "The Center of Myself," "Hiding," "Horror Stories," "Reaching Out," and "From Survival to Empowerment" --we learn why acknowledging a gay identity can mean reevaluating the entire profession of education and why many leave it after such reassessment. Some stay, often to provide alternatives to traditional gender-related expectations. Many who stay are driven to overcompensate, working much harder than their straight counterparts to survive in their profession, like the women who struggled to be "the best" in the male bastions of business.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780435070052
  • Publisher: Methuen Publishing, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 6/17/1996
  • Pages: 198
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Rita M. Kissen is an associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Southern Maine. She is a founding member and past president of the Portland, Maine, chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG). She lives on Peaks Island, Maine, with her husband, Norman Rasulis.
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