Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Suzanne SooHoo, PhD

Second Advisor

Peter McLaren, PhD

Third Advisor

Kris DePedro, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Kevin Kumashiro, PhD


Queer-teacher lives aren’t easy! They experience isolation and bifurcation of their lives on a daily basis. How much more difficult must life be for these teachers in the theologically heteronormative context of the Catholic school? Yet, these teachers remain educators in these institutions, sensing goodness in what they are doing and in the future of these schools. Inspired by this interesting reality of tension, this study asks two important questions. First, how do queer teachers understand their identities as constructed in a Catholic school? Secondly, it wants to know what action teachers will take when they have come to an answer about their constructed identities. This dissertation incorporates queer studies, liberation theology, and critical pedagogy into a bricolage theory to fully address the intersectional lives of its participants. With a methodological approach informed by the ethics of culturally responsive research, this participatory action research begins from a moment of dialogical praxis towards the hope of social engagement. Crafted as a retreat in which queer educators share their stories of working in these institutions, this unique research incorporates the participants into the analysis process as essential actors in understanding the meaning of their own lives. The study reveals the perceptions of queer teachers about the ways that schools make meaning of their role in the educational environment as well as how they make meaning of their lives. Three major themes, “doing queer,” “being queer,” and “enforcing queer” show that these teachers are part of a complex reality in which their identities and performances in Catholic schools are dictated by the pull and push of fear enforced x through many channels in the Catholic school. These themes also show that teachers are actively making new meaning about themselves and acting in ways that seek to dismantle oppression in their institutions. The study also reveals a vibrant spirituality which emerges from the daily experience of being queer in a Catholic school. Geared towards social justice, this spirituality invites us to reimagine that work for social justice may mean pushing into oppression through a paschal victimhood which transforms institutions fundamentally from within.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.