In the article Bringing LGBTQ Topics into the Social Studies Classroom, Brad M. Maguth and Nathan Taylor highlight the importance of including discussion of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Queer) individuals and the struggles they face into the modern social studies classroom. Maguth and Taylor discuss the lack of progress in the incorporation of LGBTQ individuals and their experiences in social studies curriculum and offer up their suggestion for one way in which teachers can include this into their social studies classroom. The authors also touch on why it is so important that this topic see more inclusion, especially given the climate of the world we live in today.
Maguth and Taylor begin the article with a brief introduction into some of the struggles faced by LGBTQ individuals. It was not until almost nine years ago that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law was repealed by President Obama, and up until this time the law made it illegal for openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual individuals to serve in the Military. Although the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act was a step in the right direction regarding the rights of LGBTQ individuals, it was around this same time that a large number of gay suicides had been occurring around the country. Many students identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer feel alone at school and these feelings are only amplified by the underrepresentation of LGBTQ individuals in the curriculum.
The article goes on to discuss the lack of research done on the inclusion of LGBTQ topics in schools. Maguth and Taylor cite an article titled Silence on Gays and Lesbians in Social Studies Curriculum in which the author, Stephen J. Thornton, explains the importance of LGBTQ topics in the curriculum in connection with the experience of the LGBTQ students in school. He notes that social studies curriculum portrays history as being devoid of any LGBTQ individuals, which is often damaging to the students struggling with their identities. Maguth and Taylor elaborate on Thornton’s ideas by stating that “The erasure of a people not only has consequences for the historical accuracy of what social studies teachers teach in their classrooms, but it negates students’ identities within the classroom.” The authors also recognize that inclusion in social studies curriculum alone will not make the LGBTQ experience better, but it will be an important piece of the puzzle in the improvement of life for LGBTQ students.
Maguth and Taylor move forward to discuss another article, Teaching About Same-Sex Marriage as a Policy and Constitutional Issue, in which the author, Diana Hess, offers up a number of solutions for teachers looking to include more discussion of LGBTQ individuals and their history into their lesson planning. Maguth and Taylor explain that they aim to expand on Hess’s ideas through their research and introduce the main focus of this article – their plan for one way in which to incorporate the study and discussion of LGBTQ topics into a social studies classroom.
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