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 of Gender and Sexuality Studies in Education at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. In 2012, they founded They Is My Pronoun, a Q+A-based blog about gender-neutral pronoun usage and user support with over 30,000 unique visitors in 2017 alone. Dr. Airton also the founder of the No Big Deal Campaign, a national social media initiative that helps people show support for transgender peoples' right to have their pronouns used. In recognition of their advocacy work, Dr. Airton received a 2017 Youth Role Model of the Year Award from the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Dr. Airton's first book, Gender – Your Guide: A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say and What to Do in the New Gender Culture (Adams Media, An Imprint of Simon & Schuster) offers practical steps for welcoming gender diversity in all areas of everyday life. With Dr. Susan Woolley, they are also the editor of Teaching About Gender Diversity: Teacher-Tested Lesson Plans for K-12 Classrooms (Canadian Scholars Press).

As a university-based teacher educator for over a decade, Dr. Airton has worked with hundreds of teacher candidates to widen the circle of belonging and participation for students of all genders and sexualities. Dr. Airton's current SSHRC-funded research explores how Ontario K-12 schools are responding to the inclusion of gender identity and gender expression protections in human rights legislation, and how to make the collection of gender-based data in large studies more reflective of how gender and other social categories are read and negotiated. With Dr. Michelle Searle, they also lead an action research project in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University, collaborating with staff to remove barriers for transgender and/or gender non-conforming teacher candidates. Dr. Airton’s scholarly publications have appeared in the journals Gender and Education, Sex Education, Curriculum Inquiry, Teachers College Record, Journal of Education Policy, Teaching and Teacher Education, and the Canadian Journal of Education, and they are regularly interviewed by national and international media on the integration of gender diversity across sectors.

Learn more about Dr. Airton’s work at leeairton.com.

Research Interests

  • Gender expression human rights and education policy
  • Gender and sexual diversity as areas of teacher candidate learning
  • The program, practicum and induction experiences  of historically under-represented teacher candidates
  • Anti-racist, intersectional and coalition-building approaches to gender and sexuality democratization in schools
  • Methodologies for studying within-category gender and sexual diversity in education
  • Queer theory, affect theory, neo-materialism and relational ethics approaches to 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.