LGBTI history will now be taught to students in California public schools, the State Board of Education announced Thursday (14 July).
This means people like the late Harvey Milk – the first openly gay elected public official in California – and others will have their contributions to the state and US history accurately represented in all classrooms for the first time.
The updated ‘History and Social Science Framework’ includes key historical figures, moments in the struggle for equality, and the evolution of LGBTI communities and identities.
The content is to be incorporated throughout elementary, middle, and high school grade levels with school districts determining the specific content for their students.
‘The new framework’s thorough inclusion of history of LGBT people, events, and issues reflects the substantial professional scholarship in this area that has been produced over the past four decades,’ said Don Romesburg, framework director of the committee on LGBT history.
‘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.’
The change is due to what is known as the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act of 2012 which called for important contributions by LGBT Americans and people with disabilities to no longer be excluded from history education.
Teachers will be provided with a guide for what content about LGBTI people to incorporate into what is already being taught in history classes.
‘California has long been a leader in acknowledging and advancing the rights of LGBTQ Californians,’ Melissa Goodman, director of the ACLU of Southern California’s LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project said in a statement.
‘Today California has taken yet another step to affirm our shared values of inclusivity and fairness.’