Press posts

NBC news press

Was Walt Whitman "gay"? New textbook rules spark LGBTQ history debate

Walt Whitman never publicly addressed his sexual orientation in his poems, essays or lectures. He lived from 1819 to 1892, a time when "gay" meant little more than happy. Biographical materials, however, note he was involved for decades with a man named Peter Doyle. And in works like the Calamus poems in his Leaves of Grass collection, Whitman discusses romantic and sexual relationships between men.
education week press

LGBT History Gets Short Shrift in Schools. There’s an Effort to Change That

Teachers sit at square tables in a college classroom here poring over primary and secondary sources about the civil rights icon Bayard Rustin. There’s his 1987 obituary in The New York Times, which avoids any mention of his sexual orientation. There are copies of FBI documents from the mid-20th century, which, in coded language, talk about his male companions.

There’s a piece about an interview with Rustin’s longtime partner, Walter Naegle, detailing how, in the absence of any other way to secure legal protection for their relationship in the 1970s, Rustin adopted him.

ASCD press

UnCovering History

Meet the women you don't know, behind the mission you do. So proclaims the poster for the hit film Hidden Figures. From tagline to title, it's clear that this story, about the black women who led NASA's team of mathematicians during the Space Race, was previously cast in the shadows of American history. Shining a light on these hidden histories, and broadening the spectrum of inquiry into the past, is not just a winning formula at the box office. It's also an endeavor that's resonating in K-12 classrooms, with teachers seeking ways to provide more accurate, complex, and engaging history education.

nbc out press

#Pride30: Educator Debra Fowler Is Unerasing LGBTQ People From History

Debra Fowler, an English teacher at Lowell High School in Lowell, Mass., at the time, was hesitant to come out to her students. "For a great number of years, I believed that if my students knew I was gay, it would somehow compromise our purpose together, or make them uncomfortable" she said. That all changed after she set out to produce a documentary film about her school's refugee students. In an interview with NBC Out, Fowler recalled an interaction with a student who helped work on the film, a student named Conner, who confided in her that he was tired of the prejudice against gay people.
reuters press

History Unerased aims to cast light on gay Americans in schools

LOWELL, Mass. (Reuters) For generations, young Americans could go all the way through high school without learning that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have long been part of their country's history. Spurred by gay rights victories at the Supreme Court and elsewhere in recent years, a Lowell, Massachusetts-based organization called History Unerased is trying to change that by training teachers to bring that knowledge to U.S. classrooms. "People who we label and understand as LGBTQ today have always existed in every nation, in every belief system, in every ethnicity," said co-founder Debra Fowler, using a version of the acronym that can mean "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning."