Trans/forming Educational Leadership: Retrospectives of Transgender Persons as Public Intellectuals in School Contexts
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Purpose: This study examines educational experiences of trans* persons in order to apply those experiences as pedagogical tools to assist educational leaders with inclusive school leadership.
Research Methods: In this interpretive qualitative case study, eight participants were divided in two groups; the groups were not intentionally exclusive, but they did not overlap in key characteristics. Four participants identified as trans*, and four identified as teacher leaders. Initially, each participant was interviewed individually. Trans* participants described times in school when they took on the role of public intellectual around gender identity issues, and teacher leaders described their prior knowledge of trans* issues. Second, trans* participants discussed their desired outcome for a face-to-face discussion with teacher leaders. Finally, trans* participants and teacher leaders met together to share experiences and to assist educational leaders in being allies to trans* students. Domain analysis was used to analyze the text of interviews, group meetings, and participant journal responses. Techniques of Arts Based Educational Research were used to create poetry based on the data collected during the investigation.
Findings: Data demonstrated semantic relationships in the following areas: the adult trans* person reflecting back on school as refutation of traditional structures; the adult trans* person reflecting back on school as acknowledgement of difference; the adult trans* person reflecting back on school as refusal of simplistic and derogatory images of themselves; the response of school leaders to trans* stories as refutation of traditional structures; the response of school leaders to trans* stories as acknowledgement of difference; the response of school leaders to trans* stories as refusal of simplistic and derogatory images of themselves.
Implications: Interpretation of interviews, meetings, journals, and poems revealed that trans* adults can serve as resources/partners for advocacy in schools; school leaders can act as learners in public pedagogy situations; public pedagogy can create a strategic alliance across difference among trans* public intellectuals and teacher leaders; and there are several practical applications to school settings of the outcomes of the conversations between trans* participants and school leaders.