Queer America Podcast
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Without LGBTQ history, there is no American history. From Learning for Justice and hosts Leila Rupp and John D'Emilio, Queer America takes listeners on a journey that spans from Harlem to the Frontier West, revealing stories of LGBTQ life we should have learned in school.

This podcast is produced in partnership with University of Wisconsin Press, publishers of Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History. It is the first book designed for high school and university teachers who want to integrate LGBTQ history into their standard curriculum. 


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Preview Episode: Welcome to Queer America

Queer America is an exploration of the history of sexual identity and gender identity in the United States. Leila Rupp and John D’Emilio host this new podcast from Learning for Justice—a resource to help educators integrate LGBTQ history into their curriculum.

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Episode One: Incorporating LGBTQ History in your Classroom

From the Gold Rush to the Cold War, Historian Daniel Hurewitz offers strategies for integrating LGBTQ History into your curriculum. He shares lesson examples from U.S. history and insights from educators already teaching queer history in their classrooms.

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Episode Two: The Experiences of Trans People

In a fascinating conversation with host Leila J. Rupp, historian and writer Genny Beemyn brings us inspiring—and surprising—stories of trans and gender nonconforming figures, from the Frontier West to the modern civil rights movement and beyond.

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Episode Three: LGBTQ History in Public Schools

Lessons from the classroom—from high stakes testing to critical thinking skills—professor Emily Hobson & public school teacher Felicia Perez discuss their experiences and practical advice to help you incorporate LGBTQ History.

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Episode Four: Romantic Friendships (Part 1)

We’re passing love notes across time. Historian Susan K. Freeman takes a deep dive into the history of women who loved women—and offers ways for educators to connect love letters to lessons on culture, women’s rights movements and literary themes.

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Episode Five: Romantic Friendships: Boston Marriage (Part 2)

Lifelong partnerships between women existed long before the legalization of gay marriage. Susan K. Freeman continues her exploration of the spaces they found—in their words, their societies and their homes—for same-sex intimacy.

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Episode Six: The Lavender Scare

“If we teach only about the Red Scare, we’re only telling part of the story of the Cold War.” Historian David K. Johnson explores the systemic firing of gay government employees and the consequences of a homophobic culture that still endure today.

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Episode Seven: The Other War

World War II plunged a double-edged sword into the heart of the U.S. queer community. Historian Susan Freeman examines how the war brought gay men and lesbians together, and the ways it isolated them from the right to serve and benefit from their service.

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Episode Eight: Letters From Eleanor: When Do Private Acts Have Public Consequences?

What can the private lives of public figures like Eleanor Roosevelt and J. Edgar Hoover tell us about their impact on U.S. history? Historian Claire Potter helps us navigate the relationships among identity, power and actions—and why we must teach them.

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Episode Nine: Re-examining the 1960s, Part One

Don’t start—or stop—with Stonewall. To understand not just LGBTQ history but all post-war U.S. history, students must see the 1960s in context. In this episode, Amnesty International’s Ian Lekus dives into the minority-rights revolutions of the 1960s.

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Episode Ten: Re-examining the 1960s, Part Two

The revolution was intersectional. Amnesty International’s Ian Lekus returns to discuss ways educators can highlight the many identities of 1960s activists and help students understand the roles LGBTQ people played in movements you already teach.

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Episode Eleven: The AIDS Epidemic: Then and Now

“Inequality directly affected the scope of the epidemic.” Historian Jennifer Brier and CAARAC founder Shakita Jones discuss the history and structural discrimination surrounding AIDS, and how to approach these difficult conversations in the classroom.

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Episode Twelve: Teaching the Reel History

Queer characters have existed on screen since the era of silent film. But do they have a starring role in your syllabus? Scholars Sharon Ullman and Nicholas Syrett offer concrete strategies for teaching LGBTQ history through films and documentaries.

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Episode Thirteen: You Have the Content. Now What?

On our season finale, join Learning for Justice Senior Writer Cory Collins and hosts Leila Rupp and John D’Emilio as they offer concrete tips for creating LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms and taking themes from this podcast into our daily practice.

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Read the Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ Students Guide