In this qualitative research project, sixteen lesbian and gay teachers in the Northeast Florida public school system were interviewed about their experiences in their professional settings and how those experiences affected their lives. Although the location is specific, the experiences of the teachers and the findings of the research are applicable to most areas of the United States. An interpretive model was designed to depict the findings of this research based on the experiences of the participants as well as on the related literature.
The educators in this study lived and worked in the constant fear that if their sexual orientation were discovered, they would suffer harassment, rejection, and job termination. They courageously opened their hearts and shared their stories so that others might learn. This research is a vehicle for the lives of this silent population and offers recommendations for change based on the stories and experiences of the informants.