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How organisational culture influences teachers' support of openly gay, lesbian and bisexual students

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In this paper, I analyse the relationship between US high schools' organisational cultures and student perceptions of responses to anti-gay language in their school. Using data from 67 interviews with young people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, I compare teachers' responses to anti-gay language in schools that do and schools that do not sponsor or promote pro-gay events. I categorise schools that do promote such events as inclusive schools and schools that do not promote such events as non-inclusive. The analysis shows that both inclusive and non-inclusive schools are likely to have students who only use anti-gay rhetoric out of earshot from teachers and staff (e.g. in the cafeteria or locker room). Second, schools without pro-gay events are less likely to have teachers that respond to anti-gay rhetoric. Third, findings show that interference with anti-gay rhetoric depends on the teacher in both types of academic environments. The paper concludes with a discussion of these findings and implications for future research.
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Keywords: USA; anti-gay language; organisational culture; schools

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA

Publication date: May 4, 2015

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