I Love You, Alice B. Toklas

Education news from Chicago:

The Pride Campus of Social Justice High School would be open to all students in the city, and would probably end up being “majority straight”, said Arne Duncan, the head of Chicago Public Schools.

But it would provide a supportive atmosphere for gay pupils, using prominent gays and lesbians – including James Baldwin and Gertrude Stein – in its curriculum.


Gertrude Stein was a lesbian?

Seriously though, I’m not sure how good an idea this is. I’m all for inclusion of gays, lesbians, bis, bi-curious nymphlettes willing to experiment with older married gentlemen bearing martini shakers, etc. Back when I lived in the ever-so-diverse realms of Northern California, my friends were just as diverse as the realms.

But doesn’t inclusion mean… well, including yourself as well as others? Does self-segregation help the cause? And I don’t ask these questions rhetorically; I really do want to know.

Black universities did much — and still do — to help black students during the bad old days of Jim Crow. But part of me wonders if they’ve served their purpose. Another part wonders if, conservatively speaking, such institutions ought to be kept, if only because there’s no good reason not to keep on keeping them.

Does it then follow that gays and lesbians ought to establish similar institutions — to keep or discard as they see fit? Or have we progressed far enough, culturally, that there’s no real need to establish such institutions in the first place?


And is high school the right level to do so? Or, should desegregation be “forced” in high school, but allowed (or even encouraged) in college?

I ask these questions because I don’t have the answers, not because I do.

UPDATE: I emailed Dan Blatt, since he’s bothered to actually learn a thing or two about this sort of thing, and he replied, “I don’t think you go far enough. I think a gay high school is a bad idea. Promotes identify politics and makes gay people start learning at a young age that they need special treatment.”

OK then. That’s why I asked.


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