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    frontGroundbreaking Queer Studies Course Begins at SF High School

    queer2The San Francisco Unified School District this week began what district leaders say is the first LGBT studies course at a public high school in the U.S. The semester-long course began on Monday at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, which is located in the city’s Twin Peaks neighborhood.

    The course is the brainchild of teacher Lyndsey Schlax, whom we’re big fans of here at the San Francisco Bay Times. Schlax and her husband (who proposed to her during a prom dance) came to our recent Summer Party. It was a hot evening, but Schlax was cool and collected as always. It is no surprise to us that this teacher extraordinaire and gardener hobbyist enjoys making both people and plants grow.


    Of her new class she said, “It will explore the American experience through a lens that isn’t usually discussed during traditional U.S. history classes.”

    She explained that an LGBT studies class was previously held offsite in 2010, “but it met on a Saturday morning and kids had to travel to it and make a tough commitment.” Now the course is held right on campus, becoming a popular elective, which is paired with an ethnic studies course that also lasts a semester.

    “We are experiencing a cultural zeitgeist now, with social revolutions leading to important changes,” she said. “It’s been on my radar to better integrate history and events related to both LGBT and ethnic studies into our curriculum.”

    Students are responding with enthusiasm too. Shortly after the class was announced, some 25 students enrolled, with others signing up since. It is expected to fill to capacity. Because the class is so new and groundbreaking, Schlax, additional educators, parents, school leaders and others are closely monitoring how students respond.


    As Schlax said, “Because such a course has never been held at a high school site before, this will be an exploration of what this class could mean to students.”