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Illinois Senate plan proposes teaching LGBTQ history in schools

They would become the second state to do so

Illinois Senate plan proposes teaching LGBTQ history in schools
The full rainbow of history | Photo: Unsplash/Olloweb Solutions

Senators in Illinois passed a measure on Tuesday (10 April) to make education curriculums more LGBTQ-inclusive.

The Senate Education committee approved the plan with an 8-2 vote. On the same day, a House committee approved a nearly identical version.

If the bill makes it all the way to become law, Illinois will become only the second state, behind California, to adopt LGBTQ-inclusive education.

The Illinois proposal requires all public elementary and high school teachers to include a unit on ‘the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State’.

Brian Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, told NBC this is ‘consistent with current law’.  Students now learn about other groups, like African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and more in school.

School boards can determine the amount of time spent on the unit. However, teachers must reinforce the idea that all people ‘have a right to be treated with civil, legal and human rights’.

People need to know all history

Senator Heather Steans is the sponsor of the measure.

‘It is my hope that educating students about the important roles LGBTQ individuals have played in our country will help them develop a deeper understanding of history and a more compassionate view of their peers,’ she said.

Johnson added: ‘People learn about Jane Addams, for example, but don’t know she’s a lesbian.’

He also said the measure will help combat negativity that LGBTQ students frequently face at schools.

Others, unsurprisingly, don’t agree.

Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, a Christian organization, criticized the measure. She said this is consistent with the ‘left’s motive’ of ‘normalizing homosexuality’.

She believes schools should only teach this history if they also provide dissenting voices who stand against ‘the homosexual movement’.

As with other bills, this now needs to independently pass the state House and Senate, and then get a signature from the governor.


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