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Abstract

Issues of diversity and social justice are slowly making their way into educational leadership programs, though scholars have argued that social justice is a responsibility of aspiring school leaders and educators. However, issues directly related to sexual orientation have been treated lightly and we question why this is the case. Given the changing social climate and attitudes towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community, aspiring educational leaders should be prepared to address the issues in their schools. In this article, we provide an overview of some topics that may be addressed in an educational leadership preparation program and provide an example of what some of the reactions to these topics may look like. Here, we analyze reflections from 15 graduate students enrolled in a course focused on social justice during the final year of a principal preparation program. Three common themes emerged from the reflections: 1) limited experiences with LGBTQ people shapes or limits one’s beliefs and perceptions about LGBTQ people, 2) principal preparation students were able to accurately identify how expected (masculine) gender norms and heteronormative assumptions drive bullying and name-calling of students who fall outside these gender roles, and 3) a large number of principal preparation students expressed the belief that being gay is a choice and that this belief was related to their stance on LGBTQ issues. Discussion centers on the implications of these findings for addressing LGBTQ issues in educational leadership programs and how reflections are useful in understanding the student’s developmental stage in order to approach this topic most effectively