Project Overview

Out for safe space: Shifting educational discourse on supporting LGBTQ students in schools

Faculty Sponsor

Susan Woolley (


Educational Studies
LGBTQ Studies


Notions of safe space for gender and sexual diversity in K-12 schools have transformed over time as LGBTQ students have changed their strategies of recognition and visibility and as school personnel have shifted from identifying and labeling spaces as safe to marking people as safe allies. My research traces discourses of safe space, allies, and supporting LGBTQ students in the interactions and material life of K-12 education as well as in the educational research literature. For this project, we will look at how discourses of safe space and allies for LGBTQ youth in schools have changed in the literature over the past three decades. We will also analyze how such discourses manifest in material artifacts and student and teacher dialogues, informed by my own empirical research over the past ten years, which includes a three-year ethnographic study in a California urban public high school and a more recent qualitative study with New York teachers, administrators, and education policy makers about LGBTQ students in K-12 public education. For this project, during Summer 2021 I need your help conducting library research for the literature review and coding qualitative data from my empirical studies in MAXQDA.

Student Qualifications

experience conducting library research and literature reviews; familiarity searching Educational Studies databases and journals; experience with social scientific research methodologies; familiar with or willingness to learn MAXQDA

Number of Student Researchers

1 student

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2021 and close on 03/22/2021

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (