As we near the beginning of a new decade, Americans everywhere are aware of the countless changes and steps made towards a more inclusive country. Students taking a look at our past social studies textbooks will notice the exclusion of LGBTQ+ people and their history: from rights movements to mentions of famous LGBTQ+ figures, there was very little content. The inclusion of LGBTQ+ history in our textbooks needs to be made mandatory throughout America in order to spread a message of unity to this generation of students and teachers.
The Inclusive Curriculum Law has been passed in four states as of now: California, Colorado, New Jersey and Illinois, in that order. The law mandates that the state begin implementing LGBTQ+ topics and people into their textbooks, starting as young as 2nd grade. Some of these topics could include the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS crisis, along with famous LGBTQ+ figures, such as Sally Ride, the first woman in space, Keith Haring, an openly gay pop artist. Illinois was the most recent, having passed the law despite recieving homophobic backlash from parents who believe that only they should be able to tell their children about LGBTQ+ issues. This, however, leads to biased information being taught to the new generation. One prime reason the law has not been passed in other states is the “No Promo Homo” laws. These laws prohibit the promotion of homosexuality in sixstates: Alabama, Lousiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. These laws are extremely harmful to young impressionable students that are not provided with a positive POV. Some states are even forcing their teachers to speak about homosexuality in a negative way for “health and lifestyle” reasons. As a result, many states haven’t even begun to talk about implementing LGBTQ+ history into their curriculums.
By adding the history of our community and by shedding light on some LGBTQ+ historical figures, we can take steps in the right direction towards a more inclusive America, something that is especially important considering the state our country is at now. Suicide rates of LGBTQ+ teens are high, with industrialized and internalized homophobia making these children believe they are wrong for being who they are. A new curriculum in more conservative states could save a kid’s life by educating them on people like them that grew up to do great things. We are only asking for representation in the schools that LGBTQ+ youth will continue to grow up in.
The covered information could span from history of LGBTQ+ rights to members of the community who were important parts of American history. Some history topics could be the Stonewall riots, an indepth look at the AIDS crisis, and the Marriage Equality Act of 2015. Some important historical figures that could be covered are, Keith Haring an openly gay pop artist, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson, two trans women who were involved in the Stonewall riots or Sally Ride, the first woman in space who lives with her partner for 27 years. There are many LGBTQ+ figures who have paved the way for the generations that live in our America today.