A recent study based in California surveyed 800,000 middle and high schools students and found that students who identify as LGBT+ are at higher risk for bullying, depression, and suicidal ideation, as well as lower academic performance (Hansen et al., 2019). This gap in the social experience and academic performance between LGBT+ students and their straight and non-transgender counterparts may be related to the study’s findings that they have access to fewer supports from their teachers and schools (Hansen et al., 2019). Closing the achievement gap for these traditionally marginalized students may therefore be as easy as reducing the disparities in their access to inclusive curriculum, welcoming classroom environments, leadership opportunities, and organizations that provide them with community and support.

For this review I explored the relevant literature on methods other teachers have used to increase LGBT+ inclusivity before attempting strategies in my own rural school. After conducting my research, I created lessons that were LGBT+ inclusive or challenged heteronormativity, and facilitated the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance in my school. My hope is that my observations and experiences will help to identify which strategies are best suited to small, rural schools.

Exit Requirement

Action Research

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (initial licensure)

Committee Chair

Joshua Schulze

Committee Member

Darren Polamalu





Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Gender Equity in Education | Secondary Education | Secondary Education and Teaching

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