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California Assembly Passes LGBT History Bill

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California Assembly members helped enact a big gay win today by voting 49-25 to pass Senator Mark Leno's Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act (SB 48).

The bill not only requires teachers to include LGBT accomplishments in history courses, but adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's pre-existing anti-discrimination clauses.

"The FAIR Education Act will ensure that public schools acknowledge the heroism of individuals and communities who in spite of countless barriers continuously overcome adversity," said Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia.

He continued:

For decades, LGBT leaders have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all Californians. LGBT leaders were heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the farm workers' movement, the women's movement, and have built health and human services institutions that now serve millions of Californians. It is time for history to accurately depict our community's contributions.

Speaking about the bill he sponsored, Senator Leno remarked, "We are selectively censoring history when we exclude LGBT Americans, or any other group of people, from our textbooks and instructional materials."

The state's senate passed the bill earlier this year, and it now heads to California Governor Jerry Brown for final approval.

Read Equality California's celebratory press release, AFTER THE JUMP...

From Equality California:

State Assembly Passes Landmark LGBT Education Bill

Legislation sponsored by Equality California and Gay-Straight Alliance Network aims to end LGBT history exclusion in education and to promote school safety

Sacramento -- Today, the California State Assembly in a 49-25 vote passed a bill that would require schools to fairly and accurately portray the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement and the historic contributions of the diverse LGBT community in social science instruction. The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act (SB 48), authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would also add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's existing anti-discrimination protections that prohibit bias in school activities, instruction and instructional materials.

Studies have shown that inclusion of LGBT people in instructional materials is linked to greater student safety and lower rates of bullying. The bill is co-sponsored by Equality California and Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

"The struggle of the multicultural and multiethnic LGBT community in California is one of the greatest stories yet to be told," said Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia. "The FAIR Education Act will ensure that public schools acknowledge the heroism of individuals and communities who in spite of countless barriers continuously overcome adversity."

Palencia added, "For decades, LGBT leaders have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all Californians. LGBT leaders were heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the farm workers' movement, the women's movement, and have built health and human services institutions that now serve millions of Californians. It is time for history to accurately depict our community's contributions."

The FAIR Education Act would bring classroom instruction into alignment with existing non-discrimination laws in California and would add the LGBT community to the existing list of underrepresented cultural and ethnic groups, which are covered by current law related to inclusion in textbooks and other instructional materials in schools. By including fair and accurate information about the rich and diverse history of LGBT people in instructional materials, SB 48 will enrich the learning experiences of all students and promote an atmosphere of safety and respect in California schools.

"This is a victory not only for the LGBT youth in California who have been fighting to be heard in Sacramento and represented in their history classes, but also for all California youth who deserve to learn a fair and accurate account of California and US history," said Carolyn Laub, Executive Director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network. "By passing the FAIR Education Act, the Assembly has taken an unprecedented step to reduce bullying, increase safety for all students, and teach students to respect each other's differences."

"We are selectively censoring history when we exclude LGBT Americans, or any other group of people, from our textbooks and instructional materials," said Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). "We can't tell our youth that it's OK to be yourself and expect them to treat their peers with dignity and respect when we deliberately deny them accurate information about the historical contributions of Americans who happened to be LGBT."

The bill now heads to the Governor's desk.

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Comments

  1. Good, now if we can get the budget together, repeal Prop 8, and get Statewide Single Payer enacted, then CA will be on its way to leading the nation again.

    Posted by: Redebbm | Jul 5, 2011 5:50:22 PM


  2. Wonderful news! The only good thing to come out of Arnold's usurpation of the governor's mansion is having Democratic progressives take all the state's top jobs after the public got sick of his one-joke rule. Between Brown, Newsom and Harris, a lot of good is going to get done in the next few years.

    Posted by: justme | Jul 5, 2011 6:01:35 PM


  3. What? No report of the vote tally? What kind of political story leaves out things like the roll call? I'll tell you what kind, the propaganda kind.

    Posted by: BobN | Jul 5, 2011 6:02:01 PM


  4. Let's get this lesson on YouTube... I bet A LOT of gay people, myself included, don't even know the full contribution of our fellows.

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | Jul 5, 2011 6:10:36 PM


  5. Very good news, but I have two questions:

    1. How are these curriculum inclusions going to be funded? Is it another case where teachers will be expected to go into their own pockets and buy supplementary materials?

    2. Are the kids going to be taught real Gay history, the kind that thoroughly integrates LGBT folk into the American narrative, or are their little minds going to be warped with the stealth heterosexist "discipline" known as Queer Studies?

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Jul 5, 2011 6:50:12 PM


  6. I told a friend about this bill being underway; he teaches kindergarten in CA. What kind of lessons could he be expected to do, at the kindergarten level, celebrating gay/lesbian contributions to CA?

    Posted by: Anon | Jul 5, 2011 9:15:59 PM


  7. Ummmmm I really don't think it should be covered in elementary school...especially kindergarten. I think K-6 needs to be left up to the parents while the schools really need to focus on developing academic skills that the parents themselves are unable to provide such as more advanced math and language arts. Sorry. This will only lead to more problems.

    Posted by: BGOJI | Jul 6, 2011 12:42:10 AM


  8. Gay history needs to be covered early and often. In all 50 states.

    And we need a month. One of the months with 31 days in it, too.

    Let's face it, we are the reason Western Civilization is civilized.

    Posted by: Attmay | Jul 6, 2011 1:57:35 AM


  9. Miss Stuffed Animal said:

    "Are their little minds going to be warped with the stealth heterosexist "discipline" known as Queer Studies?"

    So says the so-called "blended gender" who wears wigs and makeup, refers to hirself as an inanimate asexual object and attacks women with hir gender queer patriarchy!
    Stop bashing trans sisters such as Autumn Sandeen! Stop attempting erasure of our own self identified trans narratives! Stop with your sexist attacks of Taylor, Pam and Autumn!


    Reveal your own queer plushie/furry identity. And while you're at it, avoid shame-based self-sabotage and put some new material in your act, sugah.

    Posted by: Cognitive Dissonance | Jul 6, 2011 8:43:46 AM


  10. You can be sure that by the time anything LGBT makes it into curriculum it's going to be watered down.

    The good news here is you are no longer invisible and the message is you deserve the same respect.

    Those two are big advances over where we are now.

    Posted by: mark | Jul 6, 2011 10:44:30 AM


  11. Sorry, but I think this is a bad idea. It would be great to have a resolution passed that would encourage making note of gay luminaries such as Walt Whitman or Oscar Wilde, but mandating this - and explicitly forbidding any negative views or examples - is just terrible education, terrible politics, and terrible...terribleness.

    It's like the negative image of Tennessee's Don't Say Gay Bill, but that doesn't make it any more beneficial.

    Posted by: SeeingI | Jul 6, 2011 1:28:03 PM


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