Nancy Unger hails California law that requires the teaching of LGBT history

Historians in the News
tags: education, LGBT



Nancy C. Unger is Professor of History at Santa Clara University, where she teaches Lesbian and Gay History. Her latest book is Belle La Follette: Progressive Era Reformer.

In the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre announced, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Nelson Mandela, who knew a thing or two about violence, proposed a different solution to breaking the cycle of violence: "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."

The state of California is pioneering the kind of transformative education endorsed by Nelson Mandela. It's a model that other states should follow to help put an end to homophobic violence.

In 2011 California passed into law the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, which includes the requirement that the contributions of LGBTQ persons to the development of California and the United States be included in California's public school curriculum in ways appropriate to grade level.

I have been teaching a course called "Lesbians and Gays in U.S. History" at Santa Clara University since 2002. I have witnessed the power of that history, as students (those who identify as straight as well as those who occupy various places all along the LGBTQ spectrum) tell me repeatedly, "This course changed my life." ...




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