Should LGBTQ+ History Be Taught More in California Schools?
By Jasmine Maung
How come in history classes we’re taught a lot about other social groups, but we are not taught about the LGBTQ+ history in America or globally. We learn stuff such as: Why did World War I happen? When was Theodore Roosevelt elected as president? We learn about wars and events in history, but we don't learn about the social issues that drive those events. LGBTQ+ rights movements are usually underrepresented in school textbooks and in the education system itself. Should LGBTQ+ history be taught more in schools?
According to USNews, The Fremont Unified School District is actually required by the California State Law to teach about LGBTQ+ history. This law went into effect in July 2020. Yet, As of right now, LGBTQ+ history is not taught very often in history classes. This either gives a negative or neutral affect on students. Since students are not taught much about LGBTQ+, they may only be exposed to negative things on the internet about the community, and instantly believe that the LGBTQ+ community is not something one should support. Mr. Ovalle, a teacher here at John F. Kennedy, mentions, “Yes. I feel that Kennedy students are already receptive and accepting of students no matter what they identify with. The more teaching about LGBTQ+ history, the more awareness students will have.” Ms. Dollard, from the JFK English Department adds, “It makes sense to teach LGBTQ+ history to encourage empathy, tolerance and social justice. Additionally, San Francisco is home to many LGBTQ+ movements and leaders, including the great Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay elected official in the state of California.”
Why do school districts not teach LGBTQ+ history at the moment, even in California, where it’s a law? Adya Misra, a ninth grader at Kennedy High School, suggests that there may be two reasons as to why they do not teach it right now. Either the school board does not think it is necessary, or LGBTQ+ is a new concept for them. According to Grace Wagner, a tenth grader at Kennedy High School, “Students need to be educated on how LGBTQ+ people have been demonized and discriminated against throughout history. Our history is history, as we need to learn from it in order to do better.”
By learning about LGBTQ+ history/pride, students are more likely to understand and accept people, no matter how they look, who they love, or what they identify with. They could also learn to respect the LGBTQ+ community and those around them. Liberty Guerrero, a ninth grader at Kennedy High School, explains, “Yes. I definitely think the community would be viewed in a better light and be way more respected than it is currently. The people who think being LGBTQ+ is just a phase, or that it’s just a joke, would learn and benefit a lot from LGBTQ+ history being taught in schools.” Although LGBTQ+ could be considered a controversial topic by some, learning about it will help students understand the struggles LGBTQ+ people had to go through to earn the rights they have right now.
Thinkthevote states that some think that instead of having teachers teach their students about LGBTQ+ history, parents should teach their kids about LGBTQ+ history. However, some people may exude homophobia, due to the negative things their parents have taught them. If they are taught that way, they will most likely be influenced by their upbringing and forever believe that the LGBTQ+ community is bad. Adya Misra says, “I think both parents and teachers should teach about LGBTQ+ history because they’re responsible figures and if they teach their kids/students, the kids will most likely have their opinion influenced.”