Authors: Cleo Timney, Sarah Wright, and Cora Sargeant
Publication: Journal of Homosexuality
Like all young people (YP), those who are gender and sexuality diverse (GSD) spend their youth exploring and discovering their identities; but unlike their peers, they must consider whether, how, and when to disclose their GSD identity to others in a dynamic process of visibility management (VM). At school, GSD YP actively test social reactions, interpret attitudes, and assess safety, ultimately seeking belonging as their authentic selves. Our systematic review explored findings from 16 qualitative studies capturing GSD YPs experiences of managing visibility in schools internationally. Data were thematically synthesized, and seven themes were constructed. The process of visibility management is fluid, a negotiation with social norms that GSD YP’s very existence transgresses. YP search for, and through activism actively shape, accepting environments in which they can safely be their authentic selves. GSD YP are actively asking school staff for help in creating open communities where all YP can find a place to belong, to fight to be visible. We offer some suggestions for how we might begin.
(2023) “If You’re Not Yourself, Who are You Going to be?” an Exploration of Gender and Sexuality Diverse Pupils Experiences of Visibility Management in School: A Systematic Literature Review (2023). Journal of Homosexuality, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2023.2246616& Sargeant, C.