I love teaching -- and the privilege of interacting with young people who represent every corner of the world. While in the classroom, I was continually reminded of the wisdom of youth and their capacity for sophisticated understanding and compassion. When I introduced LGBTQ history and content to my students, their reaction gave me the courage to leave the classroom (forfeiting particular securities) and work toward providing these lessons for exponentially more students.
The following quotes are from my students during the 2014-15 school year:
"The Lavender Scare should be taught in all schools along with the Red Scare. LGBT history is important & needs to be taught to educate all students & the public in general. We cannot let ignorance rule any longer. An LGBT curriculum is very important & needs to be fought for." Amanda
"I feel strongly about LGBTQ people becoming part of our American history." Yesica
"I think it is crazy that we have never been taught about any of this." Ghirladi
"I think that change is necessary in our nation and all around the world. We need to grow and increase our acceptance of all people. Including LGBT history in schools is a good way to reach this acceptance." Breanna
"We need to start learning about this in elementary school." Andy
Miriam and I were working at one of our favorite spots in Lowell (Life Alive) and one of my former students (who had dropped out during his junior year) walked in. He came over to our table and we shared with him some of our materials. And then he stated, "If I had this when I was in school I wouldn't have dropped out."
It is time for us to learn from -- and respect -- the voices of our youth.