California Adds Gay History To School History Curriculum

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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The California State Board of Education voted Thursday to include gay history in some of their school’s history lessons in an effort to be more “inclusive.”

In a unanimous vote, state board officials voted to add a gay perspective to history and social science classes, reports The LA Times. Students will now learn about the struggles of gay people, including how they fought to be able to marry each other.

The guide, called History-Social Science Framework, provided information for teachers to teach their students about the contributions of gay people throughout history, among other things. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson called the vote a “big win.”

“It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past,” Torlakson said.

By implementing this act, California became the first state to adhere to the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act, passed in 2012. The act said that all public schools must add gay historical figures and the gay rights movement into their history lessons.

The curriculum will vary by grade level. Fourth graders will be taught about the rise of the first gay right group, as well as how gay people fought to get married and to be able to teach in classrooms. In second grade, students learn about families who are made up of gay couples. 12th graders learn about the battle over whether transgenders should use the bathroom according to their biological sex or not.

Equality California, an organization that fights for civil rights for gay and transgender people, said the new curriculum would help create an environment where “students can thrive.”

“It allows all students to think critically and expansively about how that past relates to the present and future roles that they can play in an inclusive and respectful society,” said Don Romesburg, Framework Director of the Committee on LGBT History.

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Amber Randall