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The History of LGBTQIA+ Discrimination in the United States

Here at the Undaunted Foundation, we are big proponents of teaching difficult history. History taught in a broad, intersectional way, can be a powerful tool against ignorance, hatred, and discrimination. If we understand the path that brought us here, we have a greater chance of undoing wrongs, healing communities, and building unity.

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As part of our Pride celebrations and awareness, we have been on a journey to understand the history of LGBTQIA+ discrimination in the United States specifically.

When we think of discrimination against these communities, things like marriage equality, bathroom access, and sports participation come to mind. Yet the history is so much more complex than these issues, and we’d like to highlight a resource we’ve found and some things we’ve learned.

We were incredibly moved by the timeline compiled by the California Department of Education to teach LGBTQIA+ inclusion as part of social studies in schools. It is particularly impressive because it examines it from a post-colonial, intersectional lens that helps us see the broader scope of how attitudes of exclusion and hatred came to be adopted, the ties to white supremacy and patriarchy, and how laws have shifted over time.

This curriculum also compellingly shows how cultures around the world have embraced intersex, transgender, “two-souled,” gay, lesbian, and other identities throughout history. The Puritan norms that were introduced in Jamestown and violently spread through colonialism have shaped our history in painful ways that need to be acknowledged. This trauma is baked into our systems, our laws, and our culture.

We hope you will take some time to study this timeline, and perhaps do some reading about people or events you learn about from this curriculum. You can find it here.

On the website, you can also find dozens of lesson plans and other media you may find helpful, all sorted into Elementary School, Middle School, and High School categories.

Happy learning, and Happy Pride!!

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