Teaching and Learning about LGBT Historical Figures

Subject: Gender Studies
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 6
Word count: 1678
Topics: LGBT


The omission of information about the personal lives of significant people in history in textbooks, as well as, during class teachings is a major issue that both teachers and publishers need to address. A system founded on democracy requires tolerance, reasonableness and an educated citizenry. This gap in history textbooks sends the message that the history being studied is one of inadequacy. The present youth are experiencing childhood in a world where sexuality issues are continually in the news and discussed in many households. Additionally, sexuality rights are an overall struggle now, and students need to comprehend that so that they can be set up for worldwide citizenship. Youngsters particularly those with various sexualities need to know this history because they are born in families that either acknowledge or disregard LGBT issues. All youngsters require values, and children with various sexualities require a legitimate character. Personality is normally framed from a mutual narrative—as such, a common history. Keeping this topic out of the textbooks insults the dignity of those youngsters and may add to the essentially higher rates of suicide, depression and drug abuse among them. 

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History is supposed to inform the readers of facts they did not know about historical events or significant people in history. In my opinion, history textbooks and history teachers should explain that Frances Willard and Walt Whitman were homosexuals. Sexuality remains a key issue discussed by most advocates and activists who believe that it impacts democracy and the rights of individuals. It is normal to belong to certain sexuality, even for the historical figures since the personal lives of the people cannot be used to judge the impact they make on society. Unfortunately, the history courses and educational programs in most institutions focus on the historic figures with good reputations and offer the perfect narrative depicting the positive impacts the significant figures had on the society (Cobb-Roberts 25-62; Wilkinson 30-55). Frequently these persons of interest are depicted in unique characters and ideologies from different people as well as occasions in the setting of history. Alongside providing basic information about these figures, the more disputable parts about their lifestyles and interaction with people as well as their convictions are not considered when writing their history. The outcome is that the history studied by the students is shortsighted, simplistic offering condensed representations that negate them a reasonable and multidimensional representation of the history of America (Cobb-Roberts 25-62). Along these lines, such messages and educational module weaken a key motivation behind history education, which is providing information. History ought to give students a comprehension of the complications, logical inconsistencies, and subtleties in the history of America and information of its achievements and qualities. 

The predominance of narratives in course books denies a complex and nuanced picture of American history. Subsequently, students regularly get data that is wrong, shortsighted, and disconnected from the realities of contemporary local, national, and world affairs. At the point when master narratives like that of Frances and Walt is what most books are covering, students find history predictable, less interesting, or insignificant (Lanse 50-80). On the off chance that history teachers and history textbooks do not change their way of writing historical material to be used by students, they risk delivering an age without clear comprehension of the history of their country or the association of contemporary world issues and the history. They additionally make students lack proper access to applicable, active, and frequently disputable basic focal points and history (Wilkinson 30-55). Such valuable focal points and history would make them understand the problems, predicaments, and actualities in a democracy based society.

The history of Frances and Walt depicts them as advocates of democracy and they are kept in the epitome of the social equality development. This enables the writers of history books and distributers to gather substantial information through the lives of the significant persons. Historians frequently depict the groups organized by these significant figures in a way that they are viewed as great people with no flaws and only aimed at doing good. The periodization of these social groupings in the history reference materials compare with what was going on in society during the times of Frances and Walt. It is all about a straight and shallow system that makes students learn little about the genuine broadness and profundity of their lives (Wilkinson 30-55). Accordingly, textbooks scrutinize briefly (or overlook totally) happenings and advocates prior to and after they started their role in history. Collectively, this offers a noncontroversial, oversimplified perspective of maybe some of the significant figures considered as radicals. They hide the humanity of the significant figures, submerging their struggles and shortcomings and the profundity of their ideas (Loomis 42-75). They illustrate the period of advocating for rights through movements as far distanced from the current issues of racism, segregation, and poverty in the culture of America. Accordingly, students lack the chance to see Frances and Walt’s actual message and its relevance to what is going on in the society today. At the point of presenting the students to only the classic histories of the master side of the people, they are denied a theoretical focal point that would enable them to better comprehend their general surroundings. Textbooks should present various significant figures without leaving out anything so as to ensure the history being studied and taught in schools is precise. 

The society today allows children to freely express themselves given that there are many support groups for different types of people. It is for this reason that children need to develop their own personality and the characters that they share with the rest of the world so that they can fit in the different social orders. Children encounter a lot of issues that support the uncertain idea of history in their day by day lives for instance opening up about their sexuality. Therefore, studying the predicaments and clashes experienced by earlier social orders and people in the past may add to their own comprehension of issues and dilemmas that they face in their everyday lives. Students at this age will probably recognize and comprehend between contrasting interpretations and explanations through studying different events and seeing the past from alternate points of view. Students can be urged to consider history to be a subject that is open to debate and contention.


There are several recommendations that can help teachers address the teaching of the homosexuality lifestyle of Frances Willard and Walt Whitman, and other notable figures. To begin with, teachers should put aside the textbooks as the main point of reference. Since most students are internet savvy, the teachers should encourage them to find out more information about the historical figures online and add to what they have learned from the course readings (Wilkinson 30-55). For example, in reviewing the biography of France and Walt, they can find out about their sexuality and much more. Such data can be found promptly on the web. They can then use this information to form conclusions about the personality of the two historical figures and understand them better. 

Teachers can also encourage comparative studies of the two historical figures. For instance, teachers may have students compare the ideologies of Frances Willard and Walt Whitman. Obviously, such a correlation would display some temporal restrictions. However this assignment would result to the expansion of reasoning among the students about the historical narratives of France and Walt. It would attempt them to make an active and basic analysis of these depictions. By embracing such an activity, students may discover counter data that views the sexual identities as substantial or moderate. 

Teachers could also try use real life situations to make the teaching about the personal lives of historical figures easier. This approach moves students past the ordinary teachings in the classrooms and enables them to take dynamic parts as researchers rather than just being the latent beneficiaries of top down translations. Eventually, it ought to be considered that educating students about the historical background of their nation has for quite some time been perceived as a fundamental part of setting up the next generation to take an interest in democracy. This dedication is stuck in the conviction that a sharp comprehension of the combined past will provide students with insights into present difficulties and predicaments and enable them to abstain from rehashing past mix-ups in their present and future (Wilkinson 30-55). On the off chance that the nation is really resolved to build a society run through  democracy that gains from the missteps of its past, it must remove prescribed reading material narratives that counteract critical analysis and translations of the history of the nation. 

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From the discussion above, it is evident that including the sexuality of historic figures in history teachings is essential for the learners as well as the country. History can only be helpful to the student if it is real. Tough inquiries can emerge with regards to figuring out what data is applicable for children to learn, and additionally age appropriate. For instance, advocates have pushed for it to be noticed that historical figures like France Willard and Walt Whitman were homosexual. The issue is on whether the teachers should pass on such information to students. This sort of consideration is justified for two reasons. First, there is an exception that each historical figure is straight unless told otherwise. The second is essentially the value of showing students, straight or something else and those individuals of all socioeconomics can do great things.  Changing course books is a moderate procedure. Discussion over history lessons has frequently solidified in one place before spreading to others. It is basic to avoid overlooking any data about the historical figures when writing history course books and teaching history as well. It will probably be a very long time before the educational module is reflected in the orders of less dynamic states. However, teachers can implement the suggested recommendations in the meantime before the publishers embark on editing the already written history text books. 

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  1. Cobb-Roberts, D., et al. Schools as imagined communities: The creation of identity, meaning, and conflict in U.S. history. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. pp.25-62
  2. Lanse, H. W. The rainbow curriculum: Teaching teens about LGBT issues. Queer Street Books, 2012. pp.50-80
  3. Loomis, B. A. “Fiction, Facts, and Truth: The Personal Lives of Political Figures.” The Forum, vol. 8, no. 3, 2010.pp.42-75
  4. Wilkinson, R. Teaching history: Volume II. Rudolph Steiner College Press, 2000.pp.30-55. 
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