We have Modern World History, U.S History, Government and Economy, and Ethnic Studies, but what about a Queer history class? This was the question that ran through the head of one of my teachers last year when he proposed a Queer history class for my school. That’s right, the West Coast’s first queer history class was established at my high school. As soon as I saw Queer history on the course list I immediately signed up, and it was one of the best choices I have ever made. In the ground breaking class, we learned about Queer history all around the world. Learning about the Portland Vice Scandal, Stonewall, Berlin, Paris, and the history of the LGBTQ community.
The course not only made me a stronger ally for the LGBTQ community, but it provided a safe haven for students who identified as LGBTQ, giving them a safe space and a supportive community. In addition it gave them a chance to learn the history of their community, validating their presence in the world. Many people wonder why the course is called Queer history, due to the fact that the word queer has been used as a negative word. Historically the LGBTQ community has reclaimed words that were once used against them and calling the course Queer History was another way to reclaim the word.
In my opinion, the presence of Queer history in schools should be required. By refusing to represent not only a community but a key part of history, schools are forever silencing a group of people and refusing to recognize their importance and all they have done and been through. By adding Queer history classes to schools or integrating aspects of Queer history into U.S History or World History, students no matter how they identify will gain a broader education, become more accepting, and will ultimately benefit from the information.
Again in my opinion, in light of the harmful effects of the Trump Administration, we need to build more inclusive communities to ensure the safety of LGBTQ students, because ultimately what students learn in schools will shape the way they view the world and the people in it. By including Queer history in our education system we will produce a more accepting group of adults who can change the world.