- Conner Emery
Queer History Club: Revision or Reclamation?
The school curriculum is expanding through the CVCHS Queer History Club.
Queer History Club aims to add depth to prominent historical figures and highlight underrecognized individuals and communities. A presentation on the hijra of South Asia—a historically gender non-conforming community—will occupy one meeting and the closeted bisexual life of a 1940s Hollywood star will be the subject of another. The Queer History Club seeks to span cultures and illustrate the prevalence of queerness throughout history.
“We created the club to highlight queer voices in a welcoming space where people can share ideas and history,” said Avery Baxter, club president.
The Queer History Club formed last school year. Meetings skew toward historical presentation and lessons, though major contemporary developments for the queer community are given space for discussion.
“We’ll go back thousands of years to Ancient Greece or we’ll cover more recently,” affirmed Daniel Parker, World History teacher and advisor for the club.
Elle Fardella, the club treasurer, noted the Queer History Club balances a breadth of material and a beleaguered modern community. “I feel that we cannot commemorate the achievements of queer people without also acknowledging the trials and struggles that they have had to endure. However, I feel it is easier to focus on the negative aspects of being queer because negativity and queerness are so frequently and prominently associated with each other, so I try to conclude the lessons I teach on a positive note.”
Queerness is often erased from history, but its tenets of documenting different cultures and time periods align with the goals of the Queer History Club nonetheless. “Of course queer history is history, but it is an often overlooked piece,” said Baxter. The exploration of different cultures and time periods enables the “spectrum” of queerness to be truly reflected.
Fardella also explained that queer activism in the United States and its proclivity for racial discrimination influenced the practices of the Queer History Club. “We make it a point to lift up the narratives of those queer people who are marginalized in their own community, who fought for BIPOC desegregation within the community, who paved the way for transgender rights.”