Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Jacobs, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jolyn Blank, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Karen Colucci, Ph.D.


inclusion, elementary, marginalization, teacher preparation


In this arts-based qualitative study, I explore the experiences of LGBTQ youth regarding inclusion during their early schooling. The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of youth participants regarding inclusion during their early school experiences to better assist educators and policy-makers at all levels with information to provide safe and equitable learning environments for LGBTQ youth to succeed. The intent of this study was to uncover the ways schools may marginalize or be inclusive of LGBTQ youth by examining school experiences with a particular focus at the elementary level. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and digital collage making. Each data source was analyzed using poetic inquiry. Findings were shared through the use of participant-voiced poems created using the authentic words of participants. Findings indicate that LGBTQ youth experience harassment/victimization beginning in elementary school, discriminatory policies and practices are marginalizing for LGBTQ youth beginning in elementary school, and the participants experienced support through LGBTQ-related school resources and supportive educators, staff and friends. These findings highlight a need for teacher preparation programs to teach new teachers to be more inclusive of LGBTQ students as well as a need for professional development related to LGBTQ inclusion in schools for current teachers, administrators, and other school personnel.