Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois signed House Bill 246 last Friday, mandating public schools to teach LGBTQ history starting next school year, July 1, 2020.
With the Inclusive Curriculum Law, students will be taught about the “roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.” Also included in their history curriculum are lessons about the contributions and experiences of other marginalized communities such as people with disabilities, people of color, women, and immigrants.
The good news was welcomed by Victor Salvo—Executive Director of a nonprofit organization called Legacy Project—by saying, “Illinois is on the right side of history with this important, life-saving law.” He added, “To deny a child information that could give them hope, that could help them feel less alone, that could help them feel like they mattered–while at the same time condemning them to hearing bigoted slurs in the hallways of their schools–is a cruelty that every feeling adult has a responsibility to stop.”
According to Equality Illinois, GLSEN’S 2017 School Climate Survey showed that only “24 percent of LGBTQ students in Illinois were taught anything positive about LGBTQ people in classrooms” while a whopping 88% of them have “heard the word ‘gay’ as a slur.”
llinois became the fifth state in the United States to mandate public schools to teach LGBTQ history after California, New Jersey, Colorado, and Vermont.