A California high school is incorporating a gay history course into its curriculum.
Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco is adding a new college preparatory course that will “explore the American experience through a lens that isn’t usually discussed in traditional U.S. history classes,” focusing on the gay rights movement, teacher Lyndsey Schlax said in a video on the school’s Web site. The class, “LGBT studies,” will look at the legalization of same-sex marriage, the U.S. military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy and the history of major events such as the Stonewall Riot.
“This is history. This is an experience that happened,” Schlax told the San Francisco Chronicle. “How can we not teach history? That’s what we do.”
The course will be coupled with another class on ethnic studies, which will explore minority groups in the Unites States, such as African Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans and Native Americans, Schlax said.
The course will not teach students how to have sex, school officials told the newspaper.
Ruth Asawa School of the Arts is a public arts high school, also known as SOTA, that offers majors in creative writing, dance, media, music, theater and visual arts, among others. It is the first public high school in San Francisco to start a gay social studies course, which the University of California system has approved as one of the high school courses required for admission, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In 2010, the San Francisco Unified School District passed a resolution to reinforce the school district’s anti-discrimination policy to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. It proposed the addition of “an interdisciplinary course on LGBTQ history and literature.” But school budget cuts amid the recession put the plan on hold.
“I’m glad we’re picking it up again as we get more money,” board member Sandra Fewer told the newspaper. “I think this class is very interesting.”
“As the mother of a gay child, I’m very sensitive to the issues of our LGBT youth,” Fewer told the San Francisco Chronicle. The course offers “a deeper understanding. It separates fact from fiction.
“People always think it’s about the sex. It’s not about sex. What drove those movements was making the world a better place, a more peaceful place.”
[Correction: This story has been updated to correct the attribution of a quote.]