Apr 15, 2011 8:27 PM
A landmark bill passed yesterday by the California Senate requires gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people to be included in social-studies lessons. If the bill is adopted by the State Assembly and signed by Governor Jerry Brown, California would become the first state to require the teaching of gay history.
The bill's proponents say the history lessons would counter antigay stereotypes and curb gay bullying.. The opponents counter that "such instruction would expose students to a subject that some parents find objectionable.." This group includes Republican Senator Doug LaMalfa. "Schools should be teaching the basics and not advancing especially this agenda which many people find objectionable."
Chico State Women's Center Director Jillian Ruddell disagrees.. stating that she thinks this is a huge step forward in the right direction for the government. "I think that gay history should've been taught in schools for a long time now and i think this is a progressive movement for our government and our state as a whole."
LaMalfa believes that California's public schools should be focusing on reading, writing, and arithmetic.. instead of what he calls 'social engineering'.. "I'm all about live and let live. live your own lifestyles as you see fit, but now your pushing it on your kids."..... "what are we going to cut out of the curriculum in order to fit this kind of curriculum in?"
Ruddell states gays and transgenders represent 10 percent of the population..and she doesn't think the government should leave them in the dark.. "If were already integrating so many aspects of straight history into our books then why shouldn't we incorporate 10% of our history which is LGBTQ."
And on the idea that this new legislation may help the bullying of LGBT students.. LaMalfa says this would exclude other bullying groups. "What is the schools policy on bullying on everybody. not selectively finding one group especially on a case such as this.. where it can be seen as very objectionable to parents."
But because of personal experience and the increased suicide rates in LGBT youth.. Ruddell says this may be a possible chance of inclusion that she had always hoped for growing up in public school. "There are so many suicides and the rate of depression among LGBTQ individuals is so high compared to their heterosexual peers and this integration of LGBTQ history could definitely help curve that."
The legislation would also add several more ethnic groups and people with disabilities to social studies lessons.