Mapping LGBTQ educators' experiences teaching (in) English internationally: unpacking identity and advocacy

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da Cunha Moura, Gustavo H.
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While research shows the unpreparedness of international schools toward working with LGBTQ educators, they are actively advocating for inclusion as they navigate teaching in countries that sometimes have state-sponsored homophobia. Western teachers are often hired by international schools primarily because of the neoliberal agenda that considers native-English teachers a great asset for their businesses. In international schools, the interest is on efficacy and teaching standards, leaving aside other important aspects of teachers’ identities such as gender and sexuality, which seldom have any place in schools’ curricula. LGBTQ teachers, as seen in this research, often pursue advocacy through educational practices and/or discussions around gender and sexuality in class, which can be the only space provided for students to participate and learn about LGBTQ issues in unfamiliar contexts abroad. Following that premise, this research analyzes the experiences of six LGBTQ educators who teach (in) English internationally. Following an intersectional lens, findings suggest that these educators’ experiences vary tremendously when considering their positions at school, their gender or sexual identities, nationalities, and languages they speak. The English language is key to unpacking these Western LGBTQ teachers’ identities and helps question and problematize instances of power, privilege, and identity where language is central to raising awareness and challenging colonial social norms. The research will inform critical pre-service and in-service teacher education, and decolonial and intersectional approaches to English language teaching.
International schools, LGBTQ teachers, English language, Intersectional, Advocacy