To Be or Not To Be Out in the Classroom: Exploring Communication Privacy Management Strategies of Lesbian, Gay, and Queer College Teachers

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Communication Studies


Lesbian, gay, and queer (LGQ) teachers often deal with the tension between disclosing and concealing their sexual orientations in the college classroom. This article presents the results of a qualitative interview study with 29 self-identified LGQ college teachers about their choices to disclose or conceal their sexual identities. Using Communication Privacy Management (CPM) as a theoretical framework, interview transcripts were thematically analyzed for privacy rule criteria and disclosure/concealment strategies. This study contributes to previous understanding of CPM by magnifying five strategies for disclosing or concealing sexual identity: selection, reciprocity, ambiguity, deflection, and avoidance. These findings are discussed in greater detail, and implications for CPM theory and teacher sexual identity disclosure in the classroom are further explored.

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Communication Education