GSA explores LGBT erasure

Jane Fleischman

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Photo courtesy of Hannah Markov

At a GSA meeting, students present their work. The club is invested in exploring their forgotten history.

U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said, “History is written by the victors.” This idea plays a huge role in how history is recorded. The ones who win have the chance to shape the way future generations see an event or moment. By this logic, there is a whole other side to every story that is lost and forgotten.
Often the voices and stories of minority groups are lost in this way. One very notable example of a group of people whose stories are often not found in history books is the LGBT community. Sexuality and gender identity are very real aspects of people’s lives often overlooked in history.
The stories of LGBT people are often not seen in history. This results in many people thinking that LGBT people weren’t around in history.
“I think that they perceive that there were not LGBT people because of the erasure,” GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) club sponsor and English teacher Aishling McGinty said. “People are taught history in way with a lot of erasure, it also see it with people of color and women.”
Even when people do hear about the few stories that get passed down, they don’t get the full picture.
“They think that they are representative and it paints a very diverse community as one thing,” McGinty said. “These don’t speak to the entire community and how much it has grown and changed.”
The students in GSA also feel the same. Some of the members in GSA would prefer to remain anonymous due to the possibility of outing themselves.
“It makes it seem like being gay or whatever is a new thing when it isn’t,” an anonymous member said.
The GSA club is dedicated to providing a place and community for students at WJ. One of their current points of focus is LGBT events in history.
“The onus of learning history falls on the individual,” McGinty said.
Their goal is to explore the history of LGBT community that isn’t really being talked about in history class.
Some of the members in GSA would prefer to remain anonymous due to the possibility of outing themselves. The members of the club have worked to better their understanding of history.
“People don’t really teach in history classes about gay history,” an anonymous member said. “There’s more to [LGBT history] than that.”
Like McGinty said, the duty to learn their history has unfortunately fallen on the students. Together they are exploring their history in an attempt to look beyond the erasure in history and the places the school system has fallen short.