Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education
Lee Airton

Lee Airton

Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in Education
613-533-6000 ext. 77277

MA, PhD (York)

Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in Education, Graduate Faculty 

Dr. Lee Airton is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queen's University. Lee’s teaching, research and advocacy work focus on enabling individuals and institutions to welcome gender and sexual diversity. Their research program explores the micropolitics of gender and sexual diversity accommodation in K-12 and teacher education, with particular emphasis on the issues facing transgender and/or non-binary people in those settings. Lee’s SSHRC-funded research program with Dr. Kyle Kirkup (University of Ottawa), titled “Gender expression" under construction: How school boards are shaping Ontario's newest human rights category,” investigates how Ontario publicly-funded school boards are interpreting ‘gender expression’ protections in policy. In addition to their research, Lee is currently co-editing an anthology of K-12 gender diversity curriculum with Dr. Susan Woolley (Colgate University), and has authored a popular press book on welcoming gender diversity in everyday life (Gender: Your guide - A gender-friendly primer on what to say, what to know, and what to do in the new gender culture), out in October 2018.

In 2012, Lee founded They Is My Pronoun or TIMP, the only Q+A-based blog about gender-neutral pronoun usage and user support. Through TIMP, Lee offers advice and resources to gender-neutral pronoun users and allies, including youth, teachers, parents and co-workers. They are also the founder of the No Big Deal Campaign, a social media initiative that helps people show support for transgender peoples' right to have their pronouns used in everyday life. Lee is a frequent public speaker and media commentator, and received a 2017 Youth Role Model of the Year Award from the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity in recognition of their advocacy.

More information about Lee’s work can be found at leeairton.com.

Research Interests

  • gender and sexual diversity in K-12 and teacher education (in Ontario, across Canada, and in comparison with other contexts)
  • teacher learning and skill development in relation to social difference and social justice
  • anti-racist, intersectional and coalition-building approaches to gender and sexuality democratization in schools
  • gender-neutral pronoun usage, accommodation and user experiences
  • queer theory, affect theory, neo-materialism and micropolitical approaches to the study of social difference and social justice in education
Selected Publications

Airton, L. (Expected October 2018). Gender: Your guide - A gender-friendly primer on what to say, what to know, and what to do in the new gender culture. Avon, MA: Adams Media (A Division of Simon & Schuster).

Airton, L. (2018). The de/politicization of pronouns: Implications of the No Big Deal Campaign for gender-expansive educational policy and practice. Gender and Education. (Advanced online publication.)

Martino, W., Airton, L., Cumming-Potvin, W., & Kuhl, D. (2018). Mapping transgender policyscapes: A policy analysis of transgender inclusivity and gender diversity in the education system in Ontario. Journal of Education Policy.

Airton, L. (In Press). Welcoming what we cannot imagine: Toward a sensory curriculum in social justice teacher education. In W. S. Gershon (Ed.), Sensuous curriculum. In the series Landscapes of Learning (M. F. He & W. H. Schubert, Eds.). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

Meyer, E., Stafford, A., & Airton, L. (2016). Transgender and gender-creative students in PK-12 schools: What we can learn from their teachersTeachers College Record, 118(8), 1-50.

Airton, L. (2014). Hatred haunting hallways: Teacher education and the badness of homophobia(s). In E. J. Meyer & D. Carlson (Eds.), Gender and sexualities in education: A reader (pp. 387-399). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Airton, L. (2013). Leave ‘those kids’ alone: On the conflation of school homophobia and suffering queersCurriculum Inquiry, 43(5), 532-562.

Airton, L. (2009). From sexuality (gender) to gender (sexuality): The aims of anti-homophobia education. Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, 9(2)129-139.

Airton, L. (2009). Untangling ‘gender diversity’: Genderism and its discontents (i.e., everyone). In S. R. Steinberg (Ed.), Diversity and multiculturalism: A reader (pp. 223-245)New York, NY: Peter Lang.