Unveiling Concealable Stigmatized Identities in Class: The Impact of an Instructor Revealing Her LGBTQ+ Identity to Students in a Large-Enrollment Biology Course

Carly A. Busch, K. Supriya, Katelyn Cooper, Sara E. Brownell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sharing personal information can help instructors build relationships with students, and instructors revealing concealable stigmatized identities (CSIs) may be particularly impactful. One CSI is the LGBTQ+ identity, but there has been no research on the student-perceived impact of an instructor revealing this identity. In this exploratory study conducted at an institution in the U.S. Southwest, an instructor revealed that she identifies as LGBTQ+ to her undergraduate biology course in less than 3 seconds. We surveyed students (n = 475) after 8 weeks to assess whether they remembered this, and if so, how they perceived it affected them. We used regression models to assess whether students with different identities perceived a disproportionate impact of the reveal. Most students perceived the instructor revealing her LGBTQ+ identity positively impacted them; regression results showed LGBTQ+ students and women perceived greater increased sense of belonging and confidence to pursue a science career. Students overwhelmingly agreed that instructors revealing their LGBTQ+ identities to students is appropriate. This study is the first to indicate the perceived impact of an instructor revealing her LGBTQ+ identity to students in the United States and suggests that a brief intervention could positively affect students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)ar37
JournalCBE life sciences education
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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