Project 10: Equality for CA’s LGBTQ+ Students

Over 35 years ago educator and counselor Dr. Virginia Uribe noted that an openly gay student at Fairfax High School named Chris had dropped out after fellow students continually harassed him. Further investigation showed that Chris had been kicked out of his home at age 14 after telling his parents he was gay. Fairfax was the fourth high school he had left after sexual harassment proved too much for him. This incident served as the catalyst for Dr. Uribe to spend months researching counseling advice from experts that subsequently formed Project 10 in 1984 (the name comes from the Kinsey sex research theory that 10% of the population is gay).

The Interactive Multimedia Historic Timeline (MHT) below illustrates Project 10’s profound impact on student rights and educational equality in California. It contextualizes diverse points of view and related events including human rights milestones, religious and political leader statements, and societal values expressed through popular culture. Digital artifacts for the MHT™ include highlights from Project 10’s founder Dr. Virginia Uribe’s Oral History Project Interview as well as other videos, audio, text, images, Google Maps, and publications.

Project 10 also implemented the first LGBTQ+ Prom, which had important parallels with pre-civil rights interracial couples. Project 10 influenced current State laws to protect California educators, who are now required to implement the FAIR Education Act. The FAIR Education Act requires California Public Schools to teach the contributions of LGBTQ+, as well as disabled and Asian people. The Project 10 MHT™ can be incorporated into the current 8th Grade Social Studies Curriculum focusing on Growth and Conflict in Modern US History. It can also be part of the 11th Grade’s “Continuity and Change in Modern US History” curriculum.

History teaches us that human rights are fragile, and that progress is often followed by a societal backlash. Although enormous strides have been made, the epidemic of bullied and disenfranchised LGBTQ+ youth continues. There is an urgent need to provide LGBTQ+ role models for youth and to educate the general population. Tangible outcomes of this project include students, educators, and parents having a greater awareness of LGBTQ+ people’s contributions to society.