By: Shannon Ralph
In a landmark move, California lawmakers on Tuesday sent the governor a bill that would require public schools to include the contributions of gays and lesbians in social studies curriculum. California is the first state to propose such a bill, which passed along party lines. The bill now goes to Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, who has not indicated whether he will sign it.
“This bill will require California schools to present a more accurate and nuanced view of American history in our social science curriculum by recognizing the accomplishments of groups that are not often recognized,” said Assembly Speaker John Perez, the first openly gay speaker of the California Assembly.
As you can imagine, opponents of the bill are up in arms. Some churches and conservative family groups warn the bill will drive more parents to take their children out of public schools.
“This sexual brainwashing bill would mandate that children as young as 6 years old be told falsehoods – that homosexuality is biological, when it isn’t, or healthy, when it’s not,” said Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com.
Come on, people. Isn’t the “homosexual indoctrination” rant getting a little old? Repeat after me. If your child is gay, he was born that way. Learning about the accomplishments of gay historical figures will not turn your child gay. We teach our children about the Holocaust with no concern whatsoever about a massive influx of children converting to Judaism. We teach our children about the Civil War, safely assuming our children will not be rallying in the streets carrying Confederate flags. We teach our children about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela and Jackie Robinson—all important historical figures—with no worries whatsoever about our pasty little white kids suddenly becoming African-American. Why then would we assume learning about gay history would make our children gay? We teach our kids about these influential events and people because history has important life lessons to impart. Do gay and lesbian Americans have no lessons to impart? Wouldn’t our children be better served by learning to respect differences rather than spending precious moments of their lives learning to denigrate others? Wouldn’t a diverse educational experience place them in a better position to become successful twenty-first century adults in our increasingly global community?
Perhaps I am crazy, but I want my children to learn about these important historical figures —gay, straight, male, female, black, white, Hispanic, Asian. All of their life stories contain lessons for my children. As far as I am concerned, education is the greatest gift we can impart to the next generation. And education should not be censored.