Illinois students going to public schools in 2020 will have an added aspect to their classroom discussions, as a law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week will ensure their education will feature discussion of societal contributions made by members of the LGBTQ community.
Schools will include “a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State,” according to bill signed into law last Friday, CNN reported.
While light on specifics, some have speculated famous events and figures will feature prominently. The formation of the first gay rights organization, the Society for Human Rights in 1924, was suggested as one possible inclusion into the curriculum, as well as featuring American astronaut Sally Ride, who was a lesbian. The Stonewall Riots may also be prominently discussed.
State Sen. Heather Steans, who sponsored the legislation, lauded the governor signing it last week.
“An inclusive curriculum will not only teach an accurate version of history but also promote acceptance of the LGBTQ community,” Steans said.
Some yay news for today 🏳️🌈🎉 https://t.co/XVeZ3IJz0P
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 12, 2019
Illinois is now the third state in the nation, after California and New Jersey, to implement a statewide school curriculum that will teach LGBTQ history.
Not everyone was on board with the measure, NewNowNext reported. Rep. Darren Bailey, a Republican, said earlier this year that the law is “more of an effort of indoctrination than of learning history about individuals who accomplished important discoveries in science or created great works of art.”
Yet the bill’s proponents hope that teaching about LGBTQ history will produce positive results, particularly for students within that community. A 2015 survey from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network found close to 70 percent of LGBTQ students were verbally harassed due to their identities, WAND in central Illinois reported.