Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Rod P. Githens

First Committee Member

Linda Skrla

Second Committee Member

Ronald Hallett


LGBTQ individuals have many risk factors and have difficulty navigating going through school because of all the social issues. This study is an autoethnography that looks into the perceived protective factors of a gay male educator. I was challenged to change my dissertation to share my story of being a teacher and dealing with many different risk factors. My committee introduced me to autoethnography and shortly after, I was speaking with a student when the topic of the “It Gets Better” campaign came up. The student said to me, “Prove it.” My dissertation has been a living document with many changes. However, this is my truth of having to navigate being an educator in a small town and being gay. While risk factors are always present for LGBTQ individuals, the focus here is on the positive. The underlying explorations involve going back into the closet for my job, reflections, support systems, and how/why my life is perceived to be better.



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