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California Becomes First State to Approve LGBTQ History Books

January 5th, 2018


California recently became part of LGBTQ history when its board of education approved 10 history textbooks involving LGBTQ events for K-8 classrooms.

California recently became part of LGBTQ history when its board of education approved 10 history textbooks involving LGBTQ events for K-8 classrooms.

The state of California recently became part of LGBTQ history when its Board of Education approved 10 history textbooks that include LGBTQ events for K-8 classrooms. This decision made California the first state to approve of such textbooks. More interestingly, the California Department of Education rejected two textbooks that did not include details about LGBTQ history on the basis that leaving out this history violates California’s 2011 FAIR Education Act. The Act requires many educational classes to teach about the various achievements by such individuals as well as those by the disabled.

School districts in the state of California will have the option to purchase these textbooks or the schools can select other content that satisfies The FAIR Education Act.

While this decision might seem inconsequential, it marks a tremendous step forward for gay rights. While individuals who identify as LGBTQ have made several momentous gains in the last few years (including most notably the Supreme Court’s decision to grant the right to marry to same sex couples), this decision marks another landmark advancement for LGBTQ individuals.

Responses to the Decision

Various people including the executive director of Equality California praised the decision to add these books. Similarly, the decision was recognized as a substantial step forward by the executive director of Our Family Coalition.

Many other agencies also applauded the decision and noted that the textbooks include several types of new materials including:

  • A description of the obstacles faced and achievements made by LGBTQ individuals in American History. Some of the individuals that are specifically mentioned include comedian Ellen DeGeneres and astronaut Sally Ride.
  • In-depth narrative about the role of Filipinos and Filipino Civil Rights Leader Larry Itliong in the state’s farm labor movement.
  • More details than most history books contain for the same age group about the African American experience, including the role that slavery played in the history of this country.

What Comprises California’s FAIR Education Act

Also known as the FAIR Education Act, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act requires schools in the state of California to teach about the economic, political, and social contributions of individuals with disabilities, African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, European Americans, Mexican Americans, and Pacific Islanders. This category now also includes contributions by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals.

In 2011, when the FAIR Education Act was signed into law, the state of California lacked specific guidelines about how to institute these changes. The state also lacked textbooks that incorporated these areas of study. As a result, the state of California is still deciding how to achieve the purpose of the FAIR Education Act.

Describing Landmark Steps Forward for LGBTQ Individuals

This decision by the California Board of Education to approve LGBTQ history books is a significant step forward for LGBTQ individuals. It remains uncertain whether other state boards of education will soon make their own decisions to approve similar textbooks.

The Universal Life Church’s blog is dedicated to chronicling the various developments of LGBTQ rights in an informative but easily understandable manner for readers. This decision to include the LGBTQ narrative marks a significant turning point in history.

(image courtesy of Drew Coffman)

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