The School-to-Coffin Pipeline: Queer Youth, Suicide, and Living the In-Between

Boni Wozolek, Lindsey Wootton, Aaron Demlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Written from the perspectives of a tenured high school teacher/researcher, an out bisexual sophomore, and a transgender senior, this article discusses the challenges of being and becoming an out lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) student in a large, Midwestern high school. Through counternarratives, the authors explore what they call the school-to-coffin pipeline, a system that (un)intentionally positions LGBTQ teens in what has become a horrific, yet normalized, epidemic of queer youth suicide. The authors use the framework of this pipeline to examine what it means to live with/in the in-between of school rhetoric and a dearth of enacted school policy that could literally be life-saving for queer youth. Through an examination of the everyday challenges queer youth encounter, the authors argue that all adults involved in schooling - including teachers, teacher educators, administrators, counselors, and school psychologist - are necessarily (un)knowing participants in the school-to-coffin pipeline, contributing to institutional homophobia and, by extension, LGBTQ youth suicide. The authors argue that by attending to the school-to-coffin pipeline, those who contribute to it can begin to interrupt the current, and possibly continuing, cycle of self-inflicted violence on queer youth bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-398
Number of pages7
JournalCultural Studies - Critical Methodologies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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