LGBTQ+ History in Schools


#1

I was looking at my local newspaper’s website today and noticed that they were running a poll about whether public schools in the United States should include LGBTQ+ History in the school curriculum starting as low as elementary school. The poll results (shockingly, since I live in Alabama) were in favor of adding this history to the curriculum.

My question is not only whether or not it should be integrated into something like American History, but also what kind of subjects would this cover? Does this face many of the same issues as integrating modern history into classrooms? What is the nature of LGBTQ+ history before the mid 20th century? I’d love to hear people’s input!


#2

I think it should cover all of history.

Start out by banning the str8s. Just full on bar it as a dangerous (patriarchal) ideology that children need to be protected from. Call the legislation Section 28b - has a certain ring to it. Then let historians run wild. If they think a topic is important enough to be taught, I’m sure they can find a way of linking it to queer history. It’s not like we’ve ever not existed, even if history has attempted to erase us.

Talking about WWII & the holocaust seems like a very important topic for modern history. Well it’s good that we’ve accepted the “forgotten victims” and the continued persecution against them even after the concentration camps were liberated. Meanwhile, queer intellectuals provided core intelligence that shaped the conflict. It’s not like there weren’t queer Jewish people and this mantra basically unlocks the entire of human history - we were always there, even if queerphobia has attempted to erase us.


#3

I guess for me hitting the most well-known events as they come up chronologically would be the easiest way to get this info into schools. Discuss queer people being included in the Holocaust. Cover Stonewall during the 60s and 70s while also covering anti-Vietnam war sentiments. Cover the HIV/AIDS crisis during the Reagan administration and the 80s. Discuss the Prop 8 and the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. I feel like that would be a decent place to start?


#4

yeah, active recentering of erased parties as part of dominant historical narratives is a big piece of what makes history courses specifically about marginalized groups work, imo. my history teacher took our year of state history to specifically focus on alaska native tribes instead, particularly taking care to touch on the influences various tribes, organizations, and individuals had had on the foundation of local politics, geography, and law.

(not just alaska native laws/politics, to be clear, although we did get a pretty thorough discussion on hereditary membership systems and shortsighted laws around stuff like whaling! he talked about the ways native people were represented – or, in far too many cases, cruelly ignored and erased – in the foundational systems of the entire state’s land disputes, economy, history, etc, and their counter-organization efforts to protect their own rights leading to things like the alaska federation of natives.)

by putting a spotlight filter on alaska native people specifically, he was able to guide us through history chronologically and recenter them in the history as we learned it, which is something that was already hit on in this thread but i can say from experience can work in practice for pre-college/-university lgbtq courses!