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Philip McAdoo

Philip McAdoo

Washington, District of Columbia

LGBTQ Activist |Director of Equity, Justice and Community at Sidwell Friends School. Philip provides strategic leadership for Sidwell Friends' multicultural and diversity efforts.

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About the author

Dr. Philip McAdoo is an educator, LGBTQ activist and former actor, Broadway performer, and singer.  He appeared in the Broadway productions of The Lion King and Rent, appeared in readings of The Book of Mormon and Wicked, and worked in television and film. He was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show honoring Sidney Poitier for his work with inner city youth and mentor initiatives. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in communications studies, holds an MA in transformative leadership from The California Institute of Integral Studies, and is a doctoral candidate at The University of Pennsylvania in the Graduate School of Education.

As a LGBTQ activist, Philip was invited to join politician and civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis speaking in support of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act to introduce legislation to Congress that would lower some of the barriers faced by same-sex couples who want to adopt children from foster care. Philip and his family have been featured in The Huffington Post, ABC News, and on the cover of magazines and articles advocating for the rights of LGBTQ individuals and families.

As an educator, Philip has also worked closely with diversity leaders such as New York Times bestselling author Stedman Graham on diversity initiatives to empower young people in independent schools. As Director of Diversity, he has launched a diversity speaker series, coordinated global education trips, and advocated for access to education for diverse groups of students. He has created comprehensive academic and summer programs for black and Hispanic youth and fostered community and parent relationships for diversity in independent schools. 

Philip’s unique approach to arts in education has created successful programs featuring Tony Award-winning actress and star of Disney’s Frozen Idina Menzel, Tony/Grammy Award-winning artist Heather Headley, and Emmy/Golden Globe-nominated actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson of ABC’s Modern Family.

“Philip McAdoo’s diversity leadership was impressive to witness. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this much-needed dialogue around LGBTQ issues and diversity.” –Jesse Tyler Ferguson

An openly gay educator, Philip has worked tirelessly to combat homophobia in his personal and professional life by fiercely advocating not only for himself and his family, but for the rights of LGBT youth, families, and educators as well. He is a Doctoral Candidate at The University of Pennsylvania completing his dissertation titled, Out and Visible: A Study of Openly Gay and Lesbian Teachers in Independent Schools. He hopes to use his research to construct a theory of gay and lesbian teacher identity development as a model for advocacy for LGBTQ teachers and students.

Philip lives in Atlanta with his partner, Sean, their son, Zaden, and their dog, Cecil.
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Success! Out and Visible sold 50 pre-orders by Nov. 30, 2017, was pitched to 32 publishers, and will be published by Mascot Books.
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Philip McAdoo speacializes in character development particularly from the perspective of diversity and inclusion, having conducted numerous workshops and professional development on diversity as well as LGBTQ advocacy

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Educator Philip McAdoo talks to school leaders, teachers, and parents about building LGBTQ initiatives and supportive educational learning environments.

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Out and Visible

Narratives of Openly Gay and Lesbian Teachers in Independent Schools

How LGBTQ educators can feel safe bringing their complete selves to work.

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals have always had a presence in education. Despite established heterosexual norms associated with learning, LGBT teachers are taking an increasingly visible stance in school settings.

In a report on the state of independent schools regarding LGBT issues, Jennings’s (2004) findings were “startling,” concluding that “anti-LGBT language remains rampant” on independent school campuses (p. 104). Thus, nondiscrimination efforts, while commendable, appear far from producing institutional contexts that exemplify the same gains for LGBT teachers and educators that have been achieved by the LGBT community in society at large. 

Analysis from the scholarly field of LGBTQ studies informed the conceptual framework of this study of the experience of gay and lesbian teachers in independent school settings. 

Pre-existing theories point to the integration of identity, sexual orientation, and acceptance to combat the multiple strands of sexuality, such as heterosexual norms, fear, shame, and advocacy (Birden, 2005; Epstein, 1994; Jackson, 2007). The work and theories of two researchers were instrumental in the design of this study and in the focus of the research questions—namely, Troiden (1989) and Jackson (2007). 

Their work provides clear guidelines for researchers who want to influence the lives of LGBT people. 

In Out and Visible, Philip McAdoo presents findings and recommendations based on narratives of more than 40 men and women about why they teach or specifically of, coming out. 

This book is unique because there has been a lot of work done to support LGBTQ students, but little is done to support LGBTQ teachers and administrators.     

The intent is for readers to use it as a resource for self help and community as well as advocating for their students. LGBTQ youth, teachers, and anyone who struggles with identity.

This book is for LGBTQ educators, youth and their allies. They are questioning, they are concerned, they are scared, they are leaders, they are teachers and they are alone. They believe in access to quality education and that LGBTQ educators needs safe spaces. It is about the experiences of LGBTQ teachers and what leads them to teach and education. To find a sense of community, safety, and support.







  • Rationale and Significance
  • Research Question


  • Overview of LGBT People and Social Acceptance
  • The Struggles of LGBT Teachers
  • Redefining Gender Norms in Education
  • The Challenges of Heterosexism and Homophobia
  • The Process of Coming Out for Gays and Lesbians
  • Defining Teacher Identity
  • The Impact of Sexual Orientation on Teacher Identity
  • Sexual Orientation and Identity Development Models
  • The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation
  • Protection of Teachers’ Sexuality in Classrooms and Courts
  • Teachers’ Sexual Orientation in Independent Schools
  • Conceptual Framework
  • Significance of This Study


  • Participant Selection and Selection Criteria
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Researcher Role and Biases


  • Featured Participants and Their Stories
  • Theme #1: Sexual Orientation Informing Teacher Identity in an Independent School Setting
  • Theme #2: Coming Out and Discovering a Gay or Lesbian Identity
  • Theme #3: Perceptions on Being Openly Gay or Lesbian in an Independent School
  • Theme #4: Stepping into a Teacher Identity
  • Theme #5: The Intersection of Gender, Race and Sexual Orientation on Teacher
  • Theme #6: Describing an Independent School Culture.
  • Cultural Messages on Sexual Orientation


  • Discussion of Key Findings
  • Implications for Research
  • Implications for Practice
  • Conclusion








1. Troubling Education: Queer Activism and Anti-Oppressive Pedagogy by Kevin Kumashiro

Published by Routledge (June 23, 2002)

Few books have addressed research for teachers to turn to as a resource for classroom practice but here Kumashiro draws on interviews with gay activists as a starting point for discussion of models of reading and challenging oppression.

2. One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium: LGBT Educators Speak Out About What's Gotten Better . . . and What Hasn't by Kevin Jennings

Published by Beacon Press (August 25, 2015)

Twenty completely new stories of negotiating the triumphs and challenges of being an LGBT educator in the twenty-first century. 

For more than twenty years, the One Teacher in Ten series has served as an invaluable source of strength and inspiration for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender educators. This all-new edition brings together stories from across America—and around the world—resulting in a rich tapestry of varied experiences. 

From a teacher who feels he must remain closeted in the comparative safety of New York City public schools to teachers who are out in places as far afield as South Africa and China, the teachers and school administrators in One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium prove that LGBT educators are as diverse and complex as humanity itself. Voices largely absent from the first two editions—including transgender people, people of color, teachers working in rural districts, and educators from outside the United States—feature prominently in this new collection, providing a fuller and deeper understanding of the triumphs and challenges of being an LGBT teacher today.

3. Difference, Diversity, and Distinctiveness in Education and Learning (Review of Research in Education) 1st Edition by Laurence Parker

Published by SAGE Publications, Inc; 1 edition (May 15, 2007)

Turning the question of "what works" in education on its head, Difference, Diversity, and Distinctiveness in Education and Learning, a volume of Review of Research in Education, digs into recent salient research that examines learning contexts within critical literacy, scientific literacy, and teacher education. 

General trends and shifts that have taken place in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LBGT) youth in education research

4. Queering Straight Teachers: Discourse and Identity in Education (Complicated Conversation) by Nelson M. Rodriguez

Published by Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers (April 30, 2007)

Much of the focus of anti-homophobic/anti-heterosexist educational theory, curriculum, and pedagogy has examined the impact of homophobia and heterosexism on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) students and teachers. Such a focus has provided numerous theoretical and pedagogical insights, and has informed important changes in educational policy. Queering Straight Teachers: Discourse and Identity in Education remains deeply committed to the social justice project of improving the lives of GLBT students and teachers. However, in contrast with much of the previous scholarship, Queering Straight Teachers shifts the focus from an analysis of the GLBT «Other» to a critical examination of what it might mean, in theory and in practice, to queer straight teachers, and the implications this has for challenging institutionalized heteronormativity in education. This book will be useful in courses on educational foundations, curriculum studies, multicultural education, queer theory, gay and lesbian studies, and critical theory.

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Things are good now. High school was really rough for me. One thing I still feel a lot of anger about was there were no openly gay people in my life. I didn’t know gay people could be smart or respected or contribute to the community in exciting ways or have happy lives or be loved.


There’s not anybody in my life who doesn’t know that I’m gay. If you ask me “What’s one thing about you, what would jump to mind?” it would be the word “gay.” That is such a strong part of my identity. In addition, before woman, before teacher, before everything else, you know, that list of twenty identifiers? “Lesbian” would be at the top of the list.


I was lucky. I never got the messages that most Southern kids did. I never got the message that it was bad. I never heard it preached from my pulpit. All I knew was that God loved me, and that was a beautiful message for any Southern boy, any Southern gay boy, that God loves you. That’s the only message I heard.


They see me because I’m more than just the teacher. They see me in chapel. Once a week they see me, I lead the prayers. I offer them communion. I offer them the Grace of God, the hands of a gay man.

  • Kris Perry
    on Aug. 8, 2017, 8:12 p.m.

    Wishing you all the best for this important project. Teachers are a critical player in the lives of students, building a stronger community of LGBTQ teachers will do so much to support students.
    Kris Perry and Sandy Stier

  • Chris Fleischner
    on Aug. 9, 2017, 1:26 p.m.

    Thanks for writing this book and providing valuable tools and insights to the independent school community!

  • Mike Crosby
    on Aug. 9, 2017, 3:23 p.m.

    Thanks, Philip! Looking forward to reading :-). -Mike

  • Marissa Colston
    on Aug. 21, 2017, 1:40 p.m.

    Looking forward to this! I remember when you interviewed me at the start of this project. :) Marissa

  • Mandi Bell
    on Sept. 11, 2017, 1:08 p.m.

    I'm excited to read your book! Congratulations!

  • Shannon Brown
    on Sept. 22, 2017, 2:29 p.m.

    I look forward to reading your book. I've always been interested in your story and look forward to one day connecting as two adults and no longer just a student.

  • Zach Lindsey
    on Nov. 13, 2017, 6:27 p.m.

    Congratulations!! Looking forward to reading.