AP History


We are two high school seniors who have taken AP American history, which is a two year course. When we look at the curriculum of the Lowell High school Advanced Placement History course, we know we have the basics. The course starts off with the early settlements, moves to World War I and then lands in the roaring 20s. We study the 60s and then some very important revolutionary social movements such as African-American civil rights and women’s rights. However, throughout our two years of AP U.S. history there has never been time dedicated to LGBTQ historical figures or events, leaving an important part of history forgotten. We are aware of the disconnect between what we learn about through social media and what is actually taught in the classroom. It is easy for us to notice the missing picture in our history books and in our education. Furthermore, we now see how simple it is to fail to acknowledge the importance of all aspects in history.

There are many things that we are not taught that are relevant to our history. For example, we never learned about Bayard Rustin – a civil rights leader, gay rights activist, advisor to Martin Luther King and one of the main organizers of the March on Washington or the Stonewall riots, where LGBTQ people including drag queens, trans people and queer youth fought against oppression. We certainly didn’t hear about Leonard Matlovich, the first gay man to publicly come out while in the U.S. Air Force. These are just a few milestones in history that were never touched upon in the classroom. These are all events and people who are equally significant to US history, but are rarely (if ever) mentioned. We leave school not being exposed to topics that should be as common as learning about slavery or the Pilgrims. The lack of knowledge our history teachers have about LGBTQ history is concerning, considering the time period in which we live. Our schools are falling behind in this drift in culture. They should encourage teachers to educate students on these topics. School shapes who we become and how we present ourselves to the world. There should not be any hesitation when it comes to learning about others and expressing and being who you are.