Between 1970 and 1985, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) educators publicly left their classroom closets, formed communities, and began advocating for a place of openness and safety for LGB people in America's schools. They fought for protection and representation in the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, as well as building community and advocacy in major gay and lesbian teacher organizations in New York, Los Angeles, and Northern California. In so doing, LGB teachers went from being a profoundly demonized and silenced population that suffered as symbolically emblematic of the harmful “bad teacher” to being an organized community of professionals deserving of rights, capable of speaking for themselves, and often able to reframe themselves as “good teachers.” This prescient book shows how LGB teachers and their allies broadened the boundaries of professionalism, negotiated for employment protection, and fought against political opponents who wanted them pushed out of America's schools altogether.
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: The Value of Teachers
1 The National Education Association: Teacher Sexuality and Professionalism
2 The American Federation of Teachers: Negotiating National Union Policy
3 The Gay Teachers Association of New York: Community and Relationships
4 California and the Image of LGB Teachers
Conclusion: Recurring Themes
Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography Index
Jason Mayernick is an assistant professor of social foundations and leadership education at the University of North Georgia.
"In this important book, Mayernick gives us new insights into LGB teachers organizing for political change in the 1970s and 1980s. Combining educational history, labor history, and LGB history, the book analyzes how teachers actively fought for equal rights at national, state, and local levels."
~Margaret Nash, professor, University of California, Riverside
"Maynerick shows how LGB educators used unions to make it possible to be an openly gay teacher for the first time in the United States. As LGBT people’s presence in education faces renewed attacks, Not Alone provides strategies and hope from the past for making schools safer for them today."
~Michael Hevel, associate professor of higher education, University of Arkansas