But he did co-habitate with another man his entire adult life. He never dated a woman, no kids. Andrew Jackson publicly referred to he and his “friend” as “Miss Nancy” and “Aunt Fancy.” Prominent DC women fought to secure him as a shopping date and a dancing partner.
So, was he gay?
A prominent LGBTQ writer says, no. Why? Because gay wasn’t a thing in the mid-1800s. It wasn’t a part of the lexicon, the cultural consciousness. It was impossible to be gay because it was impossible to conceive of someone “being gay.”
I think school might lend itself to this distinction someday. Right now, it’s impossible to conceive of a school where we don’t decide what to teach, when to teach it and how to teach it.
What would the responsible adults do? There’d be madness! Kids would be slouching and watching cartoons and e-cigarettes and we can’t allow it!
But, I’m pretty sure that’s only because most of us can’t imagine school as anything other than fully scripted.
People learned things before industrial education arrived. There’s a precedent.
I can’t imagine my life without a cellphone. How would I get anywhere? Know anything? But for most of my life I didn’t have one and I don’t remember being horribly depressed from ages 0–17. I’d imagine school will follow a similar path.
Today, challenge your student to totally re imagine the assumptions behind other things we take for granted.
The fridge can be long and short instead of tall and skinny. Video games can reenact famous historical moments. We can pee in the sink and wash our hands in the toilet. No wrong answers.
Seeing the world as it could be starts with practice seeing it as it isn’t.