The fight for diversity in the workplace, in schools, even in our own neighborhoods has been going on since the beginning of time. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, but in this instance if you’re a member of the LGBTQ community you’ve won. On August 9, 2019, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that requires LGBTQ history be taught in schools. The bill states, “In public schools only, the teaching of history shall include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.” Earlier this year the bill was both passed by Senate and the House and is scheduled to go into effect in July 2020.
A lot of people have their different opinions about the bill, some positive some negative, including one State Sen. Heather Steans. Steans says, “One of the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education and exposure to different people and viewpoints.” She couldn’t be more right. The most effective way to cure ignorance is educate those ignorant individuals. Stein says, “It is my hope that teaching students about the valuable contributions LGBTQ individuals have made throughout history will create a safer environment with fewer incidents of harassment. LGBTQ children and teenagers will also be able to gain new role models who share life experiences with them.”
Even a few teens had something to say about the new bill. Incoming King College Prep senior China Smith, 17, says, “…there needs to be inclusion in curriculum because it will help ensure well rounded and educated students. Many talk about Christopher Columbus and the founding fathers, but none about the stonewall riots.”
Quite a few people are against the bill because they think that schools don’t even teach Black history, why start with LGBTQ history? Some think that this is pushing kids to “become” gay when it’s not. I get what their saying about Black history, but at the end of the day, as minorities we’re fighting for the same things which is to gain more equality, diversity, and end the hateful acts against us. I know it is not the ideal way to start it off, but it’s still a start. Elia Murillo, 16, of Brooks College Prep, says, “I believe people should know the history of it, but I believe it should be taught to older kids. Like maybe eighth grade and up, kids already know about sex and maybe a few things about sexual orientation. I’m one hundred percent for it.”
Yes, I agree that Black history should’ve been taught as a class and not a mini lesson during Black History Month, but who knows what can come in the future. Who knows, maybe these classes will go so well that Pritzker will sign a bill to have other cultures to be taught in school as a class. Like I said, we have to start somewhere, it may not be the most ideal way to start, but it’s something and that’s all we can ask for. Tell us how feel about the new bill with an emoji.
By Allana Green, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep