Exploring the interplay of masculinities and homophobia in the high school climate

Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Adam, Barry (Sociology & Anthropology)


Education, Sociology of.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This thesis reports a qualitative analysis of heterosexual males' perception of school climate for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) peers. Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with males 16-18 who have attended a public or Catholic secondary school. Findings indicate that gay youth often occupy lower status positions in the school's social hierarchy. Heterosexual males did not typically want to associate with or be friends with gay peers for fear of being perceived as gay and being "hit on". Verbal harassment against LGB youth was common and was reportedly not dealt with by teachers. Homosexuality was not addressed in the classroom. Perceptions around the phrase "that's so gay" are explored. Dissenting views on homosexuality and popularity are also presented. Findings are discussed in relation to Connell's theory of masculinity with emphasis on the performance of heterosexual masculinities. Recommendations include challenging hegemonic masculinity in schools through curriculum and other avenues.