Historically, issues of sexual orientation and identity have been some of the most contentious areas in U.S. educational policy. Since the mid-1960s, conservatives have been concerned that public schools have either directly or indirectly promoted what they would label “a homosexual lifestyle.” By contrast, it is not until the mid-1990s that queer activists (or individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, intersexual, and/or queer) became consistently and directly involved in political debates shaping policies for public schools.

Queer educators and students who work, learn, live, and play within the walls of U.S. public schools reside at the intersection of a host of contradictory and paradoxical laws and policies. This sheer complexity in law and policy means that there is quite a bit of variation ...

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