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California Passes Gay-Inclusive Education Bill

California Passes Gay-Inclusive Education Bill


The California Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill that would make California the only state in the nation to require LGBT-inclusive social studies lessons.

The Assembly passed the bill in a 49-25 vote.

There were impassioned speeches all round, some based in recognition of the fact that excluding LGBTs from history is inaccurate and is itself evidence of the stigmatization that teachers are now working hard to combat, and opposition comments that were, well, less concerned with facts and more about scaremongering and anti-gay rhetoric.

From the Associated Press:

“This bill will require California schools to present a more accurate and nuanced view of American history in our social science curriculum by recognizing the accomplishments of groups that are not often recognized,” said Assembly Speaker John Perez, the first openly gay speaker of the California Assembly.


Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican from Twin Peaks, said he was offended as a Christian that the bill was being used to promote a “homosexual agenda” in public schools.

“I think it’s one thing to say that we should be tolerant,” Donnelly said. “It is something else altogether to say that my children are going to be taught that this lifestyle is good.”


“Our founding fathers are turning over in their graves,” Donnelly said.

The legislation, introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), will mandate that California’s Board of Education and local school districts adopt textbooks mentioning the contributions made by LGBT persons and key events in LGBT history such as detailing notable figures like Alan Turing and Harvey Milk, the discrimination they faced and their considerable contributions to society, as well as key events like the Stonewall Riots.

It is hoped that as a result of this LGBT or questioning children will feel a resonance with these figures and recognize that they, like everyone else, are vital to our shared history and current development. It is also hoped that this inclusion will decrease the “otherness” surrounding LGBTs due to their current exclusion, and that anti-LGBT bullying may, in this way, also be tackled.

With the California Senate having already passed the bill in a 23-14 vote earlier in the year, the legislation now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown (D). He has given no indication as to whether he would sign the legislation into law.

There is, however, precedent for specific minority inclusion in the California school curriculum, despite what critics might say about this bill being part of the “homosexual agenda.”

California law already requires specific lessons about the history of women and women’s rights, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and other groups. The Legislature has also specifically intervened to prescribe lessons on such issues as the Holocaust. Opposition on the grounds that this is an unprecedented interference in the classroom would, therefore, be incorrect.

If Gov. Brown signs the law, a draft framework will need to be drawn up and approved, meaning it is likely to be 2013-2014 before changes in the classroom will be seen.

Related Reading:
California Senate Passes LGBT-Inclusive Education Bill
LGBT-Inclusive History Lessons Bill Clears California Senate Panel
Lawmaker Accused of trying to ‘Queer’ California Schools with New Legislation


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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to jglsongs.

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11:14AM PDT on Jun 30, 2013

Wonderful news--thank you.....hope it spreads all over the country eventuallly.

10:17AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

4:41PM PST on Jan 30, 2012

Glad to hear so many positive comments.

4:40PM PST on Jan 30, 2012

I am wholeheartedly for this. I live in california and there is no way i'd sign the petition. As i was reading i was going to support some comments. but aside from 1 or 2 exceptions the reaction has been really positive. It's even given me a little hope. I've been going head to head with conservatives lately and it is nice to hear some open-minded rational people for a change.

6:49PM PDT on Aug 10, 2011

About time, it's nothing too soon!

5:41PM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

This is in no way about a gay agenda or explaining what it means to sexually be gay...although that may eventually be added to sex ed classes if they ever evolve past abstinence only puritanical ways. This is simply about the facts. Right now in society a huge gay rights push is underway. It's very similar to the civil rights movement in the 50's and 60's. People like Harvey Milk and other gay rights activists will be highlighted in future textbooks. This isn't about going over and repainting history with a little "fabulous" twist. This is about ensuring that the history being created right now is remembered, whether people approve or not.

12:26AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:10PM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

well, as long as they don't teach children how to write/draw YAOI and YURI comics. (when they can get steamy)
it is a good idea.

or teach them about glory holes, bears, and chicken hawks,

6:06PM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

Tony C. I completely agree.

6:05PM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

Donnelly is correct. Our founding fathers are probably turning over in their graves, but not because we are actually starting to be more tolerant and accepting but because it took us this long to progress.

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