Spring; Grades 11–12
Taught by: Severn School
Individualism and liberty are at the heart of American culture. The Declaration of Independence guarantees Americans the right to the pursuit of happiness. And yet the history of LGBTQ people in America has been marked by restriction, discrimination, and even violence. In this course, we will study the rise of queer culture through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and consider LGBTQ people as a unique embodiment of our nation’s core tenets. What do pride parades have to teach us about what it means to be American? What lessons from the HIV/AIDS epidemic will be important for those living in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? We will study pioneers of culture and research, such as Oscar Wilde and Alfred Kinsey, James Baldwin and Lisa Diamond, Audre Lorde and Kimberlé Crenshaw, to discover what it means to define one’s own identity, even against the demands and expectations of society.