A new survey has found that fewer than one in five LGBT+ teachers is out to staff, parents and pupils at schools around Ireland.
The Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) surveyed all its members across the Republic and Northern Ireland on their experiences as LGBT+ teachers in primary schools.
It also examined the view of non-LGBT+ teachers about their awareness of LGBT+ issues.
A total of 2,362 responses were received - with 90% identifying as heterosexual and 10% as LGBT+.
Almost one-fifth of respondents were principals.
One respondent said: "I came out very slowly to only one colleague at a time.
"It was extremely scary and stressful. Being in the closet causes an extreme amount of discomfort and distress".
The INTO said securing a permanent contract is a significant influencer for LGBT+ teachers in making the decision to come out.
Respondents also expressed concerns about potential bias at interview stage, with one respondent commenting: "There is still a lot of prejudice out there.
"I didn't want to take the risk that one of these people would be sitting on the interview panel".
While one in three teachers said they felt inhibited from referencing LGBT+ identities in their teaching - either directly due to a principal, another school colleague or to some extend by a school patron or board of management.
The survey found derogatory language among staff is "still too prevalent" in our schools.
A 'don't ask, don't tell' culture exists in relation to LGBT+ and gender identity in some schools - as a result of their religious ethos or school patron.
However the majority of out LGBT+ teachers report high levels of equal treatment from school leaders and boards of management.
The majority of out teachers that responded to the survey cited the role of the principal as "essential to the creation of an inclusive school".
However, many indicated that principals can be constrained by school managerial authorities.
The study also suggests that there are low levels of awareness among teachers on gender non-conformity and gender transition.
Many respondents indicated the need for guidelines and training to be made available.
Appropriate training was also requested to allow greater confidence in responding to homophobic and transphobic bullying.
Some 89% of all respondents reported they have not received any training, despite the Department of Education requiring all teachers to implement strategies to educate about and prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying.
INTO General-Secretary John Boyle said: "The findings of this survey bring into sharp focus the challenges faced every day by our LGBT+ colleagues and the work still to be done to ensure our schools are safe and inclusive spaces for all.
"As a union, INTO has and will continue to be an unapologetic advocate for the changes that are needed.
"As society changes for the better and we seek to be more inclusive, we must all up our game and ensure we play our part."
He added: "On foot of today's survey, INTO will seek to ensure that all teachers and schools understand and reaffirm their commitment to LGBT+ inclusion and visibility.
"Comprehensive training and support will be essential for all teachers and our union will be to the forefront in demanding the Government delivers on this front."