Date of Award

Spring April 2014

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Antonia Darder

Second Advisor

Shane P. Martin

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Siker


A growing number of gay and lesbian children attend Catholic schools throughout the United States; and an untold number of gay and lesbian children in Catholic schools are experiencing harassment, violence, and prejudice because of their sexual orientation or gender non-conformity. Whether due to their size, strong sense of community, or making special considerations for vulnerable students, Catholic schools seem to be the best equipped to address these issues, but all of the research points to such schools enacting policies of silence and suppression. This study specifically explores why Catholic teachings on sexuality and social justice have may have been unable to compel Catholic schools to do more to understand and support gay and lesbian children. In addition to looking at traditional Catholic teaching, this project also engages non-traditional approaches to scholarship and theology, with an eye towards creating a new theoretical framework that can serve as the basis of a new pedagogical space within Catholic schools in which gay and lesbian children can affirm both their sexual identity and their Catholic identity.