Department chair's book on teaching LBGT history wins award

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of Dr. Susan Freeman.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A Western Michigan University department chair's book has been awarded a prestigious 2014 Lambda Literary Award.

Dr. Susan Freeman, chair of the WMU Department of Gender and Women's Studies, is the co-author along with Dr. Leila J. Rupp of "Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History." Published by the University of Wisconsin Press, it was recognized in the LGBT Anthology category. Rupp is a historian, feminist and professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The 27th Lambda Literary Awards were presented June 1 in New York, celebrating the best gay, lesbian and transgender books of the year. A parade of actors, celebrities and activists presented the awards.

First of its kind

It is believed that Freeman and Rupp's book is the first designed for university and high school teachers who want to integrate LGBT history into the curriculum. Its inspiring stories and classroom-tested advice offer a valuable resource for those who think history should be an all-inclusive story.

The authors share the opinion that, though largely neglected in the classroom, LGBT history can provide a fuller understanding of U.S. history and contextualization for the modern world. Introductions by Freeman and Rupp explain why LGBT history is important and show that same-sex sexual desire and gender change are not new. The book helps teachers at all levels navigate the cultural touchstones and political debates to provide a fuller knowledge of significant historical events.

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