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Andy in Manhattan Beach e-mailed this today: "History belongs to everyone. It should never be kept in a closet." Well said, Andy.
The struggle for equality among the LGBT community includes the history behind Stonewall, the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the signing into law of same-sex marriage. The list goes on, and students should be taught about these key moments in history as they are taught about others. Unfortunately, it usually takes decades before these topics are added to the history books. Perhaps teaching such lessons sooner would help prevent history from repeating itself...and unfairly targeting another group of people in the future.
Some City Council members and LGBT advocates are demanding the City Department of Education “stop putting LGBT people in the closet.” Queens City Councilman Daniel Dromm introduced a resolution today calling on the DOE to implement a curriculum that highlights the contribution of LGBT individuals in American history. The announcement comes on National Coming Out Day, a day in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people are encouraged to open up about their sexual orientation.
Councilman Dromm says the DOE must acquire textbooks and trade books that include key moments in LGBT history, such as the Stonewall Uprising. He says a better knowledge of LGBT contributions will promote a greater feeling of safety among all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression. He also says this more inclusive curriculum will give LGBT youth positive role models to look up to, and may help prevent bullying in schools. What do you say?
Should key events in LGBT history be taught in public schools? Do you think it will foster a safer environment for students? Will it help prevent the bullying of LGBT youth?
I sort of agree with your first two callers in which LGBT History would be difficult to introduce to the classroom. Teachers would have to prepare the students for LGBT History just as they "warm" the kids up for learning.
As for the integration of the lessons, what about the parents who are traditional in their approach toward learning?
I also agree with the third caller who state that LBGT History are facts, of which I had no ides that that was the case. I would have thought LGBT would have been the exception rather than the rule in History.
Malone, New York
lgbt should taught in school, yes, only when it is important to how the rights of these people have persevered, like those of civil rights and womans rights ... but to have these -sexual- preferences used used as a highlight to illustrate their achievements is not important. with budget cuts left and right money should be put forth for second, third language skills, ethics ... and math and sciences ...
First of all, I don't agree with Sally. LGBT is not history. It is disgusting and it is disgusting to discuss. Bullying is just a smokescreen to bring LGBT pushing their way to society to force people to accept them.
Kevin, Sheephead Bay
I’m all for LGBT people who have contributed to society and history to be identified as LGBT, and minorities in general to be recognized as well, but I sure do want the ERA to be passed and have the MAJORITY of people in this country, WOMEN, to have their contributions recognized. Not happening in my lifetime. Young girls need role models too, right now their heroes are supermodels and they all want to be thin and beautiful and lack self esteem if they don’t fit that mold.
I do believe that more LGBT role models will, not in the short term but in the long run, help with bullying. But also, schools are just not doing enough about bullying, bullies need to be punished, period.
Meryl from Manhattan
A main role of the school system is to socialize students, prepare them to enter society as productive individuals. Teaching students about the accomplishments of gay people is part of this. I predict that the policy of teaching about gay history and accomplishments may result short term in gay baiting and bullying but long term in tolerance, respect and acceptance.
We should not be lowering the standards in the school system, but rather we should aim to raise them. As a recent graduate of the NYC public school system I resent being called unintelligent. Perhaps if we provided students with a well rounded education they would not be considered so undereducated. We owe it to our children and to ourselves as a society to provide them with a honest and safe education and environment.
I think teaching history on gays and lesbians in our educational system will be disrespectful to other religious faiths who clearly state that a homosexual life is a sin. It will bring confusion not diversity.
Lgbt history should be taught in public schools. Why not? So much is omitted from history in schools. Things students later learn about in college if they so happen to take liberal arts classes like women and gender studies. At this point it's like a veil has been lifted. Why not lift the veil sooner. Give folks the opportunity to be educated at an early age so they don't make ignorant choices or make ignorant comments to their peers while in highschool.
Only so much can be taught in grade school. A LOT, in every category, is omitted. Even sometimes the basics. Information like this is what college is for. However the western world is changing in regard to LGTB awareness and it does need to be taught at a young age.
In health classes they just talk about sex for the heterosexuals but never for the same sex. Bullying, for how you dress or talk always have been an issue in schools but the LGBT students bullying needs to stop. We all go to school to learn and not to get bully for being gay. I have been bully in school from a few students not all the way but along the lines with personal questions.
Eric, Webster Ave, bronx, NY
Again, Look who is promulgating this stuff? Ask ourselves has LGBT ingrained in our history or traditions? Have many people are there that are in fact LBGT compare them to 308 Million People than ask yourself the cost of it and is it absolutely necessary. We should easily come to the conclusion -- hands off our kids! That's it HANDS OFF OUR KIDS!
How come the term bullying now implies anti-gay harassment? People get bullied in school for all sorts of reasons and now the term seems to be a code word and ignores other kinds of bullying such as obesity.
When I think of exceptional teachers, nurses, plumbers, or librarians, I think of them as employees trained to provide services. I don't look at employees as gay employees.
If I am a patient in a hospital I want the most qualified nurse that I can get. I don't care if the nurse is gay or not. Now, if these individuals happen to be trailblazers for equal rights and work to knock down the barriers for gay individuals and straight individuals then I am in support of their efforts. If people are helping to rid society of bullying in any form then great. I think that straight people and gay people need to focus on accepting people as they are and stop putting labels on each other and focus on doing the tasks at hand!
Kathy from Throggs Neck da bronx
I think that the BOE should talk about everything. There are so many Lesbian and Gay people not to. These kids need guidance in more than one way. If they can find a sympathetic ear at school then great.
Midland Beach Staten Island, New York
No! What purpose would it serve? What would one do with this knowledge? If LGBT history is going to be a course of study I am going to formally demand that The History of The Velvet Underground be taught in schools as well.
Patrick from Carroll Gardens
Stonewall, Don't Ask Don't Tell, the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic...these are all important social and political events/issues that should be studied in context. If no good textbooks include them, I imagine it would be easy to supplement with outside texts.
Upper West Side
Teaching students about Stonewall and the struggle by LGBT Americans for acceptance and inclusion is just another aspect of the history of the civil rights struggles waged by ethnic minorities, women, the disabled, and others who have, for too long, been marginalized by society. Omitting this large and important minority from any curriculum about our nation's history only perpetuates the ignorance, hatred, and bigotry that made their struggle necessary, and it reinforces the current efforts by pandering reactionaries and religious zealots, who are now trying to use the courts and the legislatures to undermine their hard won rights.
And teaching about LGBT historical figures also helps to build the self-esteem of LGBT students by providing them with accomplished role models, helping to remove the shame and stigma that many still experience at the hands of their peers and society at large. Imagine American culture without the contributions of LGBT actors, writers, artists, composers, designers, and even political leaders. Imagine New York without the Broadway theatre. Imagine western civilization without ancient Greek philosophy. History belongs to everyone. It should never be kept in a closet.
Teaching LGBT history isn't, as some critics may charge, politically correct indoctrination. It's merely teaching students the truth, which is what public education is all about.
Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn
It is thinking like this that makes parents want to home school.
If anyone wants to know about the Stonewall Uprising, all they have to do is Google it. It does not have to be part of a student's educational curriculum. It wasn't safe back then so why would learning about it, foster a safe environment.
I say - Absolutely not. I have nothing against LGBT people or any other group of people and I have no problem teaching about the good that any one individual or group of people, no matter their sexual orientation has done, but we don't learn history to know what a famous person's sexual orientation was, rather we learn about the difference he/she has made on the functioning of our Country.
Jessica Arden Heights Staten Island
Why is who sleeps with who so important?
That is the bottom line.
If a person is of historical note, then they could be mentioned, but not just because of their orientation.
Being in a history book is not about showcasing ones preferred orientation, then one has to wonder - what history is being taught in these schools?
What will this child learn for the future - who had what orientation?
The LGBT is made to sound like a special species.
Esmerelda, East Village, NYC
As a gay New Yorker I think this is great except there are other pressing priorities right now so not sure of the timing.
Rich Midtown East