Time to teach LGBTQ+ history in schools


Emily Polsin, Staff

October is LGBT History Month. So why aren’t New Hampshire schools teaching LGBTQ+ History?

My guess is that schools are scared of backlash from parents who are still convinced that if their children hear the word “gay” and learn about the history of the community their child will all of a sudden want a same-sex partner.

The reasoning has no foundation in research or reality. 

Scotland was the first country to require LGBTQ+ history be taught in schools, whether it be simply including same-sex couples in math problems, teaching about equality movements or  terminology within the community.

California was the first U.S. state to require teaching LGBTQ+ history in 2011, and Colorado and New Jersey followed suit in 2019. Despite this progression there are still six states—- Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas—-that have laws that prohibit teaching about LGBTQ+ topics. 

Some people believe that teaching these topics infringes upon the beliefs of certain religions. Now, I fully respect people’s beliefs, but I will never feel obligated to accept the prejudice or hateful aspects of religions or cultures. 

I was not raised to believe in anything specific yet I was learning about different religions as early as elementary school. These lessons did not persuade me to believe in any type of god, even at my most impressionable ages, and I don’t know anyone who chose to change their beliefs based on a history lesson. 

Today’s younger generations are fortunate when it comes to the ability to discover their sexuality. The internet is filled with coming out stories and the history of the community that some people still barely know exists. 

Now imagine if we had learned about this in school and not the internet. Imagine if we taught acceptance. Imagine.

This is just an assumption, but I’m pretty sure many students have no clue what the Stonewall Riots are. And I can’t blame them. I didn’t learn about it in school, either.

If there was a unit in our history classes on LGBTQ+ history, not only would we learn historical figures and events from the community, but more people would be educated on how to be respectful towards people’s orientations, pronouns and identities. 

“History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable; it happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive  and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities,” said Marsha P. Johnson, an American activist and gay rights advocate.

I’m not saying this would eliminate bigotry, but there are plenty of kind-hearted people who say hurtful things based solely on ignorance of the topic. 

I can’t imagine the New Hampshire government listening to some random 17-year-old from Pembroke, but I hope that the PA teachers and administration will listen and implement LGBTQ+ history into their lessons. Normalize it. Accept it. Be a part of a necessary change.