SACRAMENTO, Calif (Reuters) - A bill to require California public schools to teach the historical accomplishments of gay men and lesbians passed the state Legislature on Tuesday in what supporters call a first for the nation.
Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has not said publicly whether he supports the bill, which he has 12 days to sign or veto once it reaches his desk later this month. If he takes no action, the measure would become law automatically.
The bill gained final passage from the state Assembly on a vote of 49-25, without a single Republican supporting it. The measure cleared the state Senate in April.
California already requires public schools to teach the contributions made to society by women and by racial and ethnic groups that were historically discriminated against, such as blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.
Supporters of the latest bill said it would simply include gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals in that existing requirement, making it part of the curriculum in history and other social studies classes.
Read the rest here.
When I first read this, I thought the legislation was a bit over the top. When it comes to academics, I largely support teaching what only has academic merit and relevance without politicizing it. In that sense, LGBT issues should neither be mandatorily included nor excluded; they should be addressed as is appropriate to the subject matter at hand.
After giving it some thought, however, I realized that I was somewhat off the mark. Many curriculums are weakened, in my opinion, by a tendency to avoid controversial issues. Sex and sexuality is just one such issue. I don't see how you can teach health education, civics, history and the arts without addressing sexuality and sexual orientation. These subjects aren't omitted by mere coincidence; they are actively avoided. Perhaps this legislation will help remedy that situation.
I don't think this is just about doing a chapter on American lgbt civil rights, making Roman and Greek cultural studies accurate, or adding to the curriculum on Weimar Germany.
We have to also consider that many important and supporting actors are entirely omitted from history simply because they are not rich, western, christian, land-owning, white, heterosexual, cisgender* males.
Another similar but separate issue is the omission of harmless indicators of sexuality (mentioning a Boston marriage, lifelong "Roommate", or partner) from biographical sketches of respected historical figures. This can influence curricula in all subject areas.
*cisgender=conventionally gendered: male or female
It's all just part of our fiendish gay agenda to bring the US down through a combination of sodomy and public education. Muhahahahahahahaha!