A Qualitative Exploration of the Experiences of Individuals Who Have Identified as LGBTQ and Who Have Homeschooled or Unschooled


  • Gina Riley CUNY - Hunter College


Home education, Unschooling, Alternative Education


This grounded theory study focuses on the experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) students who have homeschooled or unschooled. Although some research has been done regarding the experiences of LGBTQ students attending public or private schools, this research is the first of its kind exploring the experiences of LGBTQ students who have homeschooled or unschooled. Eighteen adults, aged 18–47, who had homeschooled or unschooled for at least four years chose to participate in the study. Participants reported four main benefits of being LGBTQ and homeschooled. The benefits included: increased freedom and autonomy, escape from traditional school culture, having time for education and exploration about sexuality and gender, and increased peer support from the queer homeschooling community. The greatest challenge of being LGBTQ and homeschooled, as reported by seven participants, was the lack of resources they felt were available to them growing up. The unschooled community in particular seemed especially open to those students who were exploring their sexuality or who identified as LGBTQ.

Author Biography

Gina Riley, CUNY - Hunter College

Gina Riley, Ph.D. is a Clinical Professor of Adolescent Special Education at City University of New York - Hunter College.



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