Teaching LGBTQ+ History

pride flag

This year one of Arthur Morgan School’s 18 day field trips is teaching LGBTQ+ history.  The trip plans to travel up the the east coast, visiting lawmakers, activist groups, and schools involved in the LGBTQ+ movement. They will also visit the Stonewall National Monument and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Through these experiences, students can receive a deeper understanding of the role of queer people in history.

Prepping for the Trip

Before the trip leaves at the end of February, students are busy preparing and studying LGBTQ+ history.  The class is exploring the histories of LGBTQ+ people along with their fight for equal rights in the United States and the world. They are studying how intersections of region, class, race, sex, and gender have impacted queer people throughout history and still do today.

Students are reading exerts from A Queer History of The United States by Michael Bronski. They are also looking at  Understanding and Teaching U. S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History edited by Leila J. Rupp and Susan K. Freeman. Discussing these ideas in class further helps give them context for planning their trip.

Getting Involved with the LGBTQ+ Movement

a map of the worldInspired by the Aids Project NAMES Memorial Quilt and the use of quilting in other social justice work, the class is also making their own Gay Power Quilt. The quilt represents the many unknown faces of queer history. Students are conducting research on their chosen historical figure and complete a quilt square symbolizing the importance of their work.

Other class projects include ranking and recording the legal rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world on a class map and discussing current events. Several guest speakers have visited the class. Mandy Carter, a Southern African-American lesbian activist, came and shared her experiences with the class. Mitchell County Gay Straight Alliance founders, Allison Bovee and Amy Waller, also visited to discuss local resources for LGBTQ+ youth and past work done in the community to support marriage equality.

In February, these students, prepped and inspired will hit the road ready to engage with the LGBTQ+ movement firsthand.  You can follow their trip on AMS’s Facebook page, reading firsthand accounts from students of the amazing experiences this trip will provide them.

-by Rebecca Snavely