To Be or Not to Be (Out): A Narrative for Online Higher Education Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Faculty
While coming out in the classroom has always been an important topic of discussion for l/g/b/t higher education faculty, distance learning communities represent a relatively new area in which coming out can be tricky, to say the least. As teachers, we are often faced with the question of just how much about our personal lives we want to share with our students. For l/g/b/t faculty this question becomes more complicated. Do we announce to our classes that we are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender? Do we disclose only the most ambiguous information? If, we choose to come out to our online classes, how should we do this? If we do not come out, are we doing a disservice to our student who will not be exposed to who we are? More important, what about l/g/b/t students? Of course, these questions can and will be endlessly debated. For the purposes of this narrative, I begin with the basic question, should I come out to my online students? Assuming that l/g/b/t teachers are coming out in their online learning communities, I will discuss the many ways in which this can be a rewarding and empowering experience for everyone involved, as well as ways in which to deal with the inevitable hostility that is so much a part of the l/g/b/t educator's experience.
Keywords: Lesbian, Online, Teaching
Prof. Lillian Christine Taylor
Associate Professor, College Composition, Kaplan University