Saphho. By Unknown, Courtesy of The Naples National Archaeological Museum, Wikimedia. (between 55 and 79 AD) Topic: Queer Leaders Introduction: A large misconception about the Queer community is that it is a recent “phase” or “fad”. In fact, Queer people (and animals) have been around since the dawn of humanity and will be around forever. Historians tend to erase or skip over evidence that historical figures were part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and it makes it a lot harder for people to accept themselves and find people to look up to. I am creating this declaration to fight for a history class based on all of the incredible Queer people who have paved the path for all of the progress we have made. If everyone knew the incredible feats of Queer people, we could have a much better understanding of different identities, and give give Queer people of all ages and backgrounds role models. Personal and Logical Evidence: The purpose of learning history is to discover the actions of those who came before us and see how we can use their knowledge to our advantage. When an entire community is erased from learning about their own history, they can believe they are somehow invalid and find themselves with an absence of role models, role models that could have helped them to continue the actions of their predecessors. As a young Queer person, I have put it on myself to seek out resources to learn about all of the amazing and inspiration LGBT figures in history, but it can be incredibly difficult to find trustworthy sources, and many people do not know where to start. Everyone has the right to education, just as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states. And education of our own cultures and our own people gives us power beyond anything else. Syllogisms: Premise One: Queer people are human. Premise Two: All humans have the right to education. Conclusion: Queer people have the right to education. Premise One: History teaches us what happened before we were alive Permise Two: Before our generation was alive, there lived many, many Queer people
Conclusion: We can learn about the Queer people who came before us through history. Guiding Question: Who were the Queer leaders who have led the LGBT community through history? And how did they accomplish what they did? Historical Evidence: Widely considered the first LGBT+ historical event, the Stonewall riots that took place in New York City in 1968 are an incredible example of what Queer people can do. Started and lead by two trans women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Jackie Hermona, the riots were in response to the dangerous and discriminatory police raids on gay bars all around New York. Under thinly veiled excuses for checking alcohol licenses, police would storm gay bars, arresting those who could not escape and using tear gas to catch them by surprise. On June 28th, 1969, the people started to fight back. They threw bottles, resisted arrests and protested for 5 days, not only at the Stonewall Inn, but all over the city. The riots ended when the police barricaded themselves inside the bar after an attempt to burn it down. Fighting for freedom and rights is a constant for so many Queer people, and unfortunately, this revolutionary event was never taught in any of my schools, nor in my friends’ schools. Resources: ● Books ○ Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager ○ This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson and David Levithan ● Movies ○ Milk ○ The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson ● People ○ Kendra Malone, Director of LGBT Life at University of Chicago ○ John D’Emillo, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at University of Illinois Chicago When we can read about and see the stories of success of people like us, we believe that maybe we can do that, too. Collaboration helps minimize prejudice. Simply learning about and from people who are similar and not similar to us expands minds, hearts, and opinions. I have chosen John D’Emilo as an advisor for this course because as an author of more than a dozen books on the gay and lesbian experience, and as a chair member for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, he is very knowledgeable and has personal experiences. He could stand as a role model to many young Queer people, just like the people in the course. Unit 1: Our Past ● Looks at the events and people that have changed how Queer people live today. ● Uncovers information about those whose history has been erased by heteronormativism. Unit 2: Our Present ● Discusses our current policies around the world. ● Looks at the people who are making change today, those people who are still fighting.
Unit 3: Our Future ● Finds parallels to those who came before us and those who are around now. ● Discusses solutions to our current issues to help our future. Course Overview: ● My proposed course would last 5 weeks. ● Desired Outcomes: ○ An understanding of Queer culture throughout history. ○ Independent research about Queer figures chosen by the student. ○ Knowledge of queer people’s struggles and how they overcame them. ○ A look to the future of Queer people: how can we take what we have learned from history and apply it to our futures? ● Field Experiences: ○ Center on Halsted ■ The Center on Halsted is the largest LGBT community center in the midwest, providing support groups, healthcare, programs, events, and other resources for Queer people in Chicago. ○ University of Chicago ■ Also one of the most respected academic institutions in Chicago, U of C offers a very in depth Sexuality & Gender studies program headed by John D’Emilo, the course sponsor. ● Deliverables and Assignments: ○ Reading and discussing Queer, There and Everywhere, including independent research one on of the people profiled in the book. ○ Choosing a policy or law that has affected the Queer community, in the United States or elsewhere and creating a presentation that summarizes it to the class. ○ Writing a letter as part of a letter writing campaign to one politician who you would like to consider a change to their policies. Works Cited “Chicago's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Community Center.” Center on Halsted , Center on Halsted. Dawson, Juno, and David Levithan. This Book is Gay. Sourcebooks, 2015. Prager, Sarah. Queer There and Everywhere: 23 people who changed the world. Harper Collins , 2018. “The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.” The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, University of Chicago.