History may be one of the most essential courses to take at Grace. The discipline is unique, as there are many course options to choose from in 11th and 12th grade, giving students more freedom to choose research topics that reflect their interests. I believe that all marginalized experiences should be discussed within these courses, as Grace’s mission statement suggests that all voices should be heard.
Considering that the high school is so close to the West Village, it is essential that students have the opportunity to learn more about the Stonewall Riots and additional LGBTQ+ activism that has taken place in lower Manhattan. I feel we, as a school, should implement a dedicated class to discuss queer struggles and liberation within American and global contexts.
In an interview with The Gazette, Dr. Toby Nathan, the curriculum coordinator for the History Department, emphasized this point, stating, “Queer experiences and identities are discussed in our classes, but not anywhere near enough or consistently enough.”
While queer history may be discussed from time to time in each class, the pressing issue for many members of the Grace community is that there is not one specific class dedicated to it, excluding queer students from learning about valuable parts of their identities.
There are many different options for history courses at Grace, but there are no options devoted to informing students on queer history. Since each history course is proposed by a teacher and is balanced by what the history department feels needs to be discussed, the solution to this debacle relies on the action of faculty.
Addressing these concerns, Dr. Nathan voiced, “The absence of a course or courses dedicated to queer history, to the historical study of gender and sexuality in the world, or the U.S., etc. is a departmental failing that we have to recognize and address. There is surely a place and a need for a dedicated course to studying these topics more deeply, and we need to do better in integrating queer histories into our core courses for the 9th and 10th grades.”
The primary issue that arises is that without a teacher deciding that a queer history course is essential to the curriculum, it is extremely unlikely that a class that touches on such subjects will be integrated into the selection of elective history courses at Grace. If the history department makes progress in involving queer history in the already provided history courses, it would likely solve some of these problems. However, one of the best ways to bring light to queer struggles is through a dedicated history course.
Media Provided by the Gazette Media Team.