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Nap Time!!!

Sunday, May 28, 2006
Yeah, that makes sense

So, there's a state bill floating around to require textbooks to mention the contributions of gays or something in history. Gustavo Serina is one supporter:

In the 1960s, I was graduated from Stuyvesant High School, the most prestigious high school in Manhattan. In English class, we read landmark American plays by Thornton Wilder and Tennessee Williams; revolutionary poetry by Walt Whitman; important novels by women such as Willa Cather; and major works by African American writers such as James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry.

One thing was omitted from the curriculum, however. Students weren't told that Wilder, Williams, Whitman and Baldwin were gay or that Cather and Hansberry were lesbians. Silence about their sexual orientation denied them a crucial part of their identity as people and artists.... And when schools stage "The Nutcracker," students should know that Tchaikovsky was gay.

Why? Well... you know... so gays feel better about themselves, I guess. Should the textbooks also make a point of mentioning which historical figures are straight, soas not to deny them a crucial part of their identity as people? Or do we only think about historical figures in terms of their impact, rather than as people, which is why we don't talk about the boring personal details of every person in the history books? (Did you know that Joe D. Famous liked bacon?)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 5/28/2006 08:45:00 AM #
Comments (1)
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I do agree. And this is coming from someone who has campaigned for gay rights many times in the past.

Gays in this country are stuck between trying to portray being gay as a cultural thing, or as something that they were born with. While it can be both, we can't select specific representations only when it is beneficial to one side.

In most cases, pointing out that someone is gay when it has nothing to do with the situation at hand. If a criminal is gay, then most reasonable people would say that being gay had nothing to do with his crimes.

So then, who is to say that being gay has something specific to do with their art? Of course, certain subjects and themes obviously are connected to a person's sexual preferences. As well, being gay is a different viewpoint at which those artists may have been looking at the world, but it still is not an absolute.

If someone can give good evidence that being gay had something to do with Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker (I swear, I'm not trying to be funny here), then let it be written in text books. If there is no evidence to support that claim, then him being gay is not topical. They might as well mention what he liked to eat for breakfast. I guess it's cool that he was gay, but it wouldn't matter.
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