University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Location of Thesis Examination

Room 1010 FEB

Degree

Master of Education

Program

Education

Supervisor

Wayne Martino

Abstract

This thesis investigates the experiences of five allies and their involvement in Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in secondary schools in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Drawing on both queer theoretical perspectives and Kumashiro’s (2002) framework of anti-oppressive education, I investigate what motivates or influences allies' decisions to become members of GSAs, and I explore their roles as allies in secondary schools. This inquiry portrays how allies play a critical role in facilitating social change in their schools, and how GSAs positively contribute to school communities. By investigating the experiences of allies, I wish to emphasize the importance of authorizing students' perspectives as a powerful opportunity to engage students in transforming educational policy and practice. Moreover, this process of student engagement draws attention to how educators might nurture alliances between straight-identifying and queer pupils in schooling by listening to the voices of students themselves.