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J Homosex. 1993;24(3-4):95-105.

The construction of identities as a means of survival: case of gay and lesbian teachers.


The article, at its most general level, questions the requirement for "coming out" in public, which the author sees as the central demand of gay liberation ideology upon its adherents. Using research on teachers, the article shows that the political demand that teachers come out professionally ignores the central professional and political concerns of several teachers and their need for professional survival. In this study, teachers were found to have varying lifestyles. Coming out fitted the lifestyle only of those teachers who took on the role of crusaders for gay liberation. This role was often a secondary concern for women, who were more strongly identified as feminists than lesbians, and for men for whom homosexuality was not a major aspect of their lifestyle. The author suggests that more attention should be given to the homophobic conditions under which such teachers work than to the requirement that they all come out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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