New state law requires LGBT history in textbooks
Public schools in California will be required to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans starting Jan. 1 after Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a controversial bill to add the topic to the social sciences curriculum.
Textbooks now must include information on the role of LGBT Americans, as well as Americans with disabilities, though California’s budget crisis has delayed the purchasing of new books until at least 2015.
“History should be honest,” Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement. “This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books.”
The governor called the legislation, SB48, introduced by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, “historic.”
The law – the first of its kind in the nation – adds the two groups to an existing list of minority and other groups that are required to be part of the social sciences curriculum.
Gay rights supporters heralded Brown’s action as a major victory. They said the law will help make public schools a safer place for LGBT students as well as give those students, and their classmates, examples of accomplished and important LGBT people.
Throughout the debate on the measure, backers noted the recent spate of suicides among young LGBT people and said it would help to combat bullying that typically occurs beforehand.
Opponents, however, fiercely opposed the measure, citing religious objections to homosexuality and questioning whether such instruction is necessary. They expressed dismay with Brown’s signing of the bill.