With LGBTQ people becoming more visible by the day in the Western world, and in the United States of America specifically, its time that we look back at all of the things that they accomplished while hiding in plain sight.
That’s a mentality that Deb Fowler and Miriam Morgenstern both agree with. The two co-founded History UnErased (or HUE) in order to address that problem.
LGBTQ children in schools are growing up learning about history as if it was all accomplished by straight people, but their program wants to teach kids that LGBTQ people contributed a lot to the United States as well.
The program is currently only being used by public and private schools in the states of Massachusetts and New York, but they hope to grow the program in the coming years.
"People who we label and understand today as LGBTQ have always existed; therefore, LGBTQ history has always been woven into our shared historical narrative, but until now has been invisible," said Fowler to the Windy City Times.
"For LGBTQ youth, learning a more accurate and inclusive history demonstrates that they are not alone, and that others like themselves have championed for LGBTQ equal rights. For non-LGBTQ identifying students, learning the stories and history of LGBTQ people develops an appreciation of human diversity, which in turn creates safer schools and communities.”
That said, the founders of HUE want to make sure that people know their goal isn’t to out people. Rather, they want to educate students about LGBTQ history and build their self-value (queer or otherwise).
In order to spread their mission and platform, Fowler and Morgenstern have a multi-step program. First, they start with the teachers themselves and offer workshops in order to train educators on how to bring LGBTQ history into the classroom.
"Policy change in education is important and will continue to evolve, but real change happens when teachers are empowered to make changes in their classroom practice,” said Fowler.
But, History UnErased isn’t alone in this mission of rediscovering and sharing LGBTQ history. They’ve made a friend in Eric Marcus.
Eric Marcus is the creator of the Making Gay History podcast. Marcus created the podcast in 2015, but he’s been pursing LGBTQ history since his college days at Vassar in 1976. He’s even published a book, similarly titled to his podcast, and is ongoing research with 300 hours’ worth of audio interviews from the New York Public Library.
"So much of LGBTQ history has been hidden that unless you looked very hard you'd never know how integral our stories are to the American story," said Marcus. "For young people today, there are lessons to be learned in how the early LGBTQ civil rights advocates achieved what they did.”
Now, HUE and Making Gay History are collaborating with the common goal of sharing the history that society forgot or never knew.
For more information, you can check out History UnErased at Unerased.org. You can also check out the Making Gay History Podcast by visiting MakingGayHistory.com or getting it on ITunes or Spotify.
h/t: Windy City Times