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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

LGBT history detailed in SE speech

By Laurance Traylor/reporter

A lesbian-gay-bisexual-trangender past doesn’t exist because an LGBT past is generally an American past — the story of everyone, not just one tiny community, a history instructor said during an Oct. 16 presentation on SE Campus.

A lot of people, when they saw the signs for this presentation, may have wondered what LGBT stands for, Kallie Kosc said as she began The History of LGBT.

“Some definitions are definitely needed here,” she said. “October was designated LGBT History Month, really, just a few years ago. This is actually separate from Pride Month, which is celebrated in June. This [month] focuses specifically on history, and that’s kinda why I’m here.”

Kosc told her audience that gender isn’t real.

“Gender is a construction,” she said. “Gender has nothing to do, necessarily, with your sex. What we say is if you are a man, if you have a penis, you must like these kinds of things, and you must do these kinds of things. If you are born with a vagina, you must like these kinds of things and look like this. Well that’s, of course, not the case.”

The ideal of what makes a man or a woman has changed drastically over time, Kosc said. People could be considered transgender if they don’t adhere to typical gender stereotypes ascribed to their sex or if they feel they were born a sex opposite to what they are or anywhere in between.

LGBT history is handled as an academic discipline. Like African-American history, Native American history and women’s history, it seeks to help world history and American history by showing another perspective for a more complete and realistic history overall, Kosc said.

Since LGBT history is a broad subject, Kosc said she would focus on tracing back to where the negative LGBT ideas and LGBT discrimination came from. Most discrimination and negativity in today’s society developed in the last 100-130 years, she said. Before that time period, LGBT lifestyles were less spoken of but slightly more accepted.

Early Native American communities may have had tribe members who played a part in both gender roles. Europeans would re-enact Shakespearean plays with males playing female roles. During the American Revolutionary War, an American woman, Deborah Sampson, disguised herself as a man to serve in the Continental Army. All of this would have been considered transgendered or deviant activities.

As times changed, so did society. As the LGBT community grew and strived for the right of freedom, so did their opposition, Kosc said. Around 1893, the very first use of the word “homosexuality” was in an English medical journal, and it was defined as an “inversion of the mind” that contributes to the ideal that homosexuality and lifestyles outside of the norm are mental disorders. Kosc said this medical definition had a double effect. Opposition had means to intimidate though medical explanation, but it also let those who were LGBT know that they were not alone, which caused the community to be created to push back against the discrimination and against the belief of ther being “mentally ill,” she said.

The LGBT community has been very good pushing for change and awareness, Kosc said, and she collaborated with the SE Organization Gay, Lesbian, or Whatever: G.L.O.W, formerly named Gay-Straight Alliance, for guidance on the presentation.

The more awareness and education of the community, the less insecurity that comes from a fear of a changing society, Kosc said.

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