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LGBTQ History Month

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A resolution recognizing National LGBTQ history month was passed by the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board. The board passed the same resolution in 2018, and it doesn’t change any curriculum or lessons, but remains controversial for some.

October is National Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Queer History Month. It’s a reminder to academics to focus lessons on historical figures who fit those categories, particularly if they have been skipped over in the past.

At last week’s Board of Education meeting, a resolution recognizing LGBTQ History Month was introduced for public hearing.

Hayden Neville of Gender Pack says historical role models are important to students.

“When I was young, it would have made such a difference to know that transgender men could be professional musicians, actors, comedians, authors, historians, lawyers, neuroscientists, veterinarians. I know men that fit those categories now. But my sense of self-worth, as a young person, would have been so much stronger if I had been exposed to those histories.”

Brian and Julie Scully commented that students in lower grades don’t have the discernment of older kids, and might not understand the subjects raised by LGBTQ lessons.

“It’s just fostering discussions, in the school setting, that, in my opinion, should be discussed in the home setting, between a parent and their children.”

“I think the school, as a government entity, has no place explaining that that’s OK.”

Daniel Joseph Cond says topics that mention sexuality are sensitive, and discussing LGBTQ issues in schools raises only one narrow viewpoint.

“We already have in the core values ‘respect the diversity and dignity of all,’ and ‘a safe learning environment,’ and that’s as it should be. But this goes beyond teaching respect and appreciation, to indoctrination and seeking endorsement.”

Alex Thornton says LGBTQ history is not a complicated subject to teach.

“There’s a lot of queer students going through our schools, whether you know it, whether they know it. And it’s important to acknowledge that history. And its about showing that there are healthy role models out there in history, and they’ve always been contributing, and that they, too, can contribute.”

Board member Tim Doran thanked the citizens who commented for being respectful and diplomatic, something that doesn’t always happen at public meetings.

According to the Library of Congress, what we now call LGBTQ History month was started in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher in Missouri. It also commemorated the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, held on the 14th of October, 1979.