Inadvertently queer school leadership amongst lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) school leaders

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Lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) school leaders may understand these sexual identities as essentialist categories and present lived experiences resistant to the identity category-troubling tenets of queer theory, whose application in queer empirical research can nonetheless provide important insights into leaders' identity, practices and power. In this article, I focus on reconciling this conceptual tension to produce an empirical account of inadvertently queer school leadership in England. The article uses queer theory to re-interpret findings from a study of five LGB school leaders to show that despite perceiving sexual identity in an essentialist way, these LGB school leaders sexually embody inadvertently queer school leadership. They trouble gender norms and conceptualizations of 'leader' through non-normative sexual embodiment; suggest queer identities for others; and challenge heteronormativity's institutional foundations and other processes of normalization. © The Author(s) 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-399
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Essentialism
  • inadvertently queer school leadership
  • leaders' identities
  • leaders' practices
  • lesbian gay bisexual (LGB) school leaders
  • queer empirical research
  • queer theory
  • sexual embodiment


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