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Proposal Aims To Diversify History Lessons

Flickr User Benson Kua

A state legislative proposal would make sure that schools teach about LGBTQ people who made history. 

Equality Illinois, an LGBTQ advocacy group, says many of the state’s school-aged children who don’t identify as heterosexual feel left out of history lessons.

“The phrase we often hear is that history has been set a little too straight," said Mike Ziri, the group’s Public Policy Director, "and that the contributions of LGBTQ people are not included by omission.”

Ziri says the aim of changing curriculum is so those kids feel like they’re an accepted part of society today. 

“They don’t see themselves represented," he says. "It’s important that curriculum represent the full spectrum of learned and lived experiences, because schools are places where students should be affirmed, and celebrated for who they are.”

Laurie Higgins of the conservative Illinois Family Institute says it’s okay to teach about people like astronaut Sally Ride, but she can “see no reason to tell young children that she was a lesbian.”

The proposal would require that schools buy textbooks that are non-discriminatory and portray a diverse society.