This is the Winter 2017 course discussion blog for and by UCLA students enrolled in LGBTQ Studies 183: Queer Arts in LA.
This course includes a creative component. When this course was first offered during the Fall 2012 quarter, the students researched queer artists who have a significant connection to Los Angeles. Then created a collaborative website.
I chose this poster because it resonated the most with me, being that the flaws of our history books are something that disgusts me most about our culture and education system. All too often, history is written from the standpoint of wealthy white men and that is apparent when reading any history book from kindergarten until senior year of high school (and even beyond). We were taught to believe Christopher Columbus was a hero and the importance of all similar powerful white men from then until now. Minorities roles in America, whether they are African American, women, or part of the LGBT community, are completely undermined and often ignored. This indoctrinates children at a young age that there is only one correct way to exist in society and that is to be heterosexual. Being straight, I never thought about this kind of stuff growing up and I'd love any feedback from an LGBT individual that grew up reading and being taught from these history books and realizing there wasn't anybody written in them that they could identify with. And it is so much more than just sexuality, it's the essence of the individual's core. I don't believe history books should identify each historical figure as either straight or gay or somewhere in between, but to undermine their sexuality is to ignore the core of who they are. I had no idea Walt Whitman was considered a prophet of gay liberation, nor was I very familiar with Eleanor Roosevelt's constant fight for civil rights and the loving relationships she had with other important women in history, such as Amelia Earhart and Lorena Hickok. Again, it goes much further than the fact that history ignores their sexuality, it has to do with trust, and giving accurate accounts of history rather than only mentioning the facts that appeal to the wealthy and conservative. To call Christopher Columbus a hero is an easy way to ignore the injustices done to the Native Americans and celebrate American history without feeing guilty. To call Walt Whitman one of history's most recognized and important poets but to ignore the poems and messages he gives to his audience about gay liberation is an easy way to assassinate his entire character while still reaping the benefits of his more conservative work. And to ignore the profound work in civil rights activism and loving relationships with women Eleanor Roosevelt had is an easy way to show America that no one other than your average, powerful man and quiet, obediant wife has a place in the House, and if the "others" somehow find a way into the House, they will ultimately be disregarded. When will the character assassinations stop?