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Silence on Gays and Lesbians in Social Studies Curriculum

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Gwendolyn Arrington

on 22 October 2013

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Transcript of Silence on Gays and Lesbians in Social Studies Curriculum

Silence on Gays and Lesbians in Social Studies Curriculum
by Stephen J Thornton

Major Exception
Despite Growth in social, political, legal and media presence few discuss gays or lesbians in social material
James Banks
Using "Mainstream" Benchmarks
which group differences are measured creates:

"We - They"
Belief that the archetypical human is straight
A 2003 article from Social Education, Vol. 67, No. 4, pp 226 - 230
Stephen J Thornton
Has moved away from
"American = Protestant/Christian"
Today's K-12
Millions of gay inhabitants past and present never existed.

Words Omitted



Promotes Sterotyping
Least educated most likely prejudice against gays.
Paints inaccurate picture of social life
Perpetuates intolerance
Sometimes harassment and physical violence
Multicultural Observation
Equally applies to the study of homosexuals.
Ethnic Content
"...should be used to help students learn that all human beings have common needs and characteristics, although the ways in which these traits are manifested frequently differ cross-culturally."
In teaching material K-12 Social Studies unless:

Children are raised in limited number of locales
Teachers go beyond the textbook
They graduate none the wiser
Social Exposure
Same sex marriage
Same sex parents
Taunting and physical violence
Limitations cont.
President Clinton's "don't ask don't tell" policy
Legal discrimination against gays and lesbians in the U.S. armed forces
Some rights selectively available depending on sexual orientation

Curriculum Silence/Failure
James Baldwin postwar novelist *African American and homosexual
Alexander the Great military genius *homosexual
Jane Addams one of the nation's greatest social and educational thinkers and activist *long-time special relationship with one woman

Current Curriculum Limitations
Gender and Sexual Equality
1990's ADA
IDEA 2004
Issues During This Time
One of the most successful exercises that schools perform
Controls the boundaries of sex role behavior by choice or neglect
Teachers and administrators are not being neutral or indifferent when they ignore hidden curriculum
Hidden Curriculum
Everybody Sees
Stephen J Thornton
Inclusive Curriculum
If educators perpetuate heteronormativity most young people will continue to learn about homosexuality through a popular prejudiced lens

To be inclusive educators must include gay material in the curriculum.
"Student sexual diversity guidelines for teachers"
Explicit teacher training on sensitivity to inclusion
By: Gwendolyn Arrington
Full transcript