Perceptions of a Gay-Straight Alliance ban: School counselors and advocacy for students with minority sexual orientations
1 online resource (201 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
ABSTRACT AMY MCCARTHY SIFFORD. Perceptions of a Gay-Straight Alliance ban: School counselors and advocacy for students with minority sexual orientations. (Under the direction of Dr. Pamela S. Lassiter.) The purpose of this study was to examine how school counselors who are working or have worked in a school that banned a Gay-Straight Alliance club perceive the ban and how their perceptions influenced their advocacy for students with minority sexual orientations. Recommendations from participants for other school counselors who have experienced this phenomenon were also examined. Five school counselors participated in this qualitative research study. Participants were interviewed about their thoughts, feelings, and actions and completed a demographic questionnaire. A modified phenomenological data analysis procedure using descriptive and axial coding was conducted to analyze the data. The analysis indicated that the participants perceived the ban as a way for administrators to avoid controversy or collude with the religiously and politically conservative status quo beliefs about minority sexual orientations in their larger communities. The participants engaged in a variety of strategies to resist status quo beliefs, and while they perceive positive changes since the bans, discrimination against students with minority sexual orientations continues and the pace of positive change remains slow. The participants recommended proactive advocacy as a way for other school counselors working in religiously and politically conservative areas to resist reproducing status quo beliefs about minority sexual orientations in the school environment. The findings suggest that school counselors working in conservative settings who identify as advocates and have affirming attitudes about minority sexual orientations are willing to take risks to advocate for this student population. In addition, proactive advocacy for students with minority sexual orientations is necessary prior to attempting supportive services such as a Gay-Straight Alliance in schools in conservative areas. Finally, continued research concentrating on expanding the empirical literature base regarding advocacy for students with minority sexual orientations is needed in order to better prepare school counselors and their administrators to meet their needs.
Lim, JaeAbrams, LyndonWierzalis, EdwardGay, William
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2010.
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