California Senate OKs teaching gay historytags: gay history, California, history curriculum
Saying that more role models could help alleviate the social estrangement and high suicide rates of gay students, the California Senate voted last week to teach the historical contributions of gays in the U.S.
If approved by the state Assembly and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the measure, the first of its kind nationwide, could once again stake out California in the vanguard on gay civil rights.
California's Legislature last year became the first to authorize gay marriage, but Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure. He hasn't taken a public position on the textbook bill.
Books meeting the bill's requirements would be incorporated into California classes in 2012. Social science courses would include "age-appropriate study" of the "role and contributions" that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have made to the "economic political and social development" of California and the U.S.
Schools are already required to teach the historical and social roles of blacks, women, American Indians, Hispanics, Asians and other ethnic groups.
"Even though we passed an anti-harassment bill seven years ago, it's still pretty obvious that there's a hostile environment for kids who are gay or lesbian — or even thought to be gay or lesbian," said Sen. Sheila Kuehl, the bill's author and one of six openly gay legislators. "Part of that stems from the fact that nobody reads about any positive examples."
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