A recent barrage of news articles from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times (to name a few) has celebrated plans in California to include the teaching of LGBT history in its public school curriculum. This will start in the second grade and continue through high school. The move is only a single step in a wider strategy initiated and won by LGBT activists in the FAIR Education Act of 2012 which was designed to require better representation of LGBT in history education and the community. As with many progressive trends in the past, California’s law and its implementation are likely a model that will be duplicated across the country in the near future.
The question remains, what history will be taught? LGBT history prior to the 19th century is one that would be difficult to frame as anything except embarrassing and promote various stereotypes that most activists today are trying to avoid. The history from the 19th century to the last couple of decades of the 20th century is one that counters many of the philosophies, assertions, and talking points of modern activists. For example, is LGBT a natural condition, a degenerative issue of the brain, a psychological disorder, or a personal choice that is no one else’s business? The answer depends upon what generation and narrative of LGBT history is chosen.
Historical studies run into this same dilemma across the spectrum of cultures and subgroups that are studied and LGBT is no exception to that trend. The problem is that so much of the popular dialogue today regarding LGBT is dominated by activists with agendas rather than researchers who can speak to actual historical and scientific facts. When this occurs, historical studies amount to little more than propaganda sessions. Now such propaganda is being sponsored by the state government and tied to state funding. This essentially blackmails school districts to align themselves to the values and perspectives being propagated or be singled out as ineligible for state funding.
(Families with higher incomes of course have an option in private schooling which most public school students do not.)
In this manner academic insight and the education system objectives of teaching are being hijacked by activists looking to align history to their own values and philosophy. The old adage for why we learn history is that failure to do so dooms us to repeat the mistakes of the past. Our education system, with the best of intentions, is washing over historical facts with high minded agendas and ultra-liberal values and philosophies. Knowing the facts of history should not be something we cover up with either shame or agendas but something we embrace to better empower today’s generation to improve the decisions of the present and the future.
The true story of LGBT history is included in the most recent podcast episode from the End of History’s LGBT: Facts & Fictions series. Learn who the first homosexual was? Where did the word homosexual come from? How did LGBT move from deviancy to normalcy in modern society?