University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

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.