LGBTQ community of Illinois has a reason to celebrate. The state has become the fifth in a row after California, Oregon, New Jersey and Colorado to include LGBTQ history in a curriculum for public schools. “As a former first-grade teacher, I know how an inclusive education system can create change within a community. By including information in public school curriculum about the contributions of LGBTQ people and affiliated historical events, we will get closer as a state to telling the whole story of our shared history, ” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.
The initiative was introduced by a group LBTQ rights advocating organizations including Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and the Legacy Project and supported in both House (Rep. Anna Moeller) and Senate (Sen. Heather Steans). Senator Steans also called the law ‘one of the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education’. “An inclusive curriculum will not only teach an accurate version of history but also promote acceptance of the LGBTQ community,” she added. The law signed by the Governor J.B. Pritzker last Friday will be effective starting July 2020. Hopefully, for the scholars it will contribute to a better understanding of LGBTQ people recognition and reduction of harassment cases.
The bill requires to teach students about “the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State”.
“Each public school district and State-recognized, non-public school shall, subject to appropriations for that purpose, receive a per-pupil grant for the purchase of secular and non-discriminatory textbooks,” it further reads. The newly adopted bill makes Illinois one of the most progressive states nationwide. It leaves much less room for those disseminating hatred and intolerance based on a person’s identity. With diversity and inclusion being natural and widespread a much brighter and prosperous future could be expected as the contribution of ALL the members of the society will be considered.