School Experiences and Educational Opportunities for LGBTQ Students

  • Jennifer PearsonEmail author
  • Lindsey Wilkinson
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


This chapter provides an overview of empirical research on the educational experiences and opportunities of LGBTQ students in U.S. K–12 and postsecondary institutions, situating this research within theoretical frameworks that emphasize heteronormativity, gendered sexual socialization, and minority stress. We begin with a historical overview of research on LGBTQ students in U.S. schools and discuss conceptualization and measurement issues inherent in studying sexual orientation and gender identity. After reviewing the educational experiences and outcomes of LGBTQ students and the consequences of heteronormative school contexts, we discuss policies, programs, and supportive school environments associated with greater well-being and academic success among LGBTQ youth. Throughout the chapter, we emphasize the unique experiences of gender minority students, relative to sexual minority students, as well as the complex interplay of sexuality and gender identity. We conclude with a discussion of remaining barriers to equal educational opportunity for LGBTQ students and provide suggestions for future research.


LGBTQ students in K–16 Historical work on LGBTQ Variation in LGBTQ experiences Gender identity 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wichita State UniversityWichitaUSA
  2. 2.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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