Law Would Require that Schools Teach About Gays

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    NEWSLETTERS

    California school children are required to learn about the social contributions of women, African Americans, American Indians, Asians, and others, but there's one minority group that's conspicuously absent from the lesson plan.

    Under a new law proposed by Senator Mark Leno, the state would add LGBT Americans to the list. Senate Bill 48, the FAIR Education Act, seeks to reduce anti-gay bullying and balance the representation of gay and straight contributions throughout history.

    It would also prohibit schools from making disparaging remarks about people based on sexual orientation. According to the Press Democrat, that's angered groups like the Traditional Values Coalition that exist primarily to disparage LGBTs.

    Research shows that including accurate depictions of gay historical figures reduces bullying. That bullying can lead to absenteeism and suffering grades. Currently, many schools omit such information, "straight-washing" social studies lessons.

    Those historical figures could potential include Ann Bancroft, the first woman to reach the North Pole, or author James Baldwin. Composers Cole Porter or Tchaikovsky might appear in the lessons, along with Andy Warhol, Walt Whitman, or Harvey Fierstein.