Adding LGBTQ+ pioneers to schools’ curriculum

New voices heard in history

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Adding LGBTQ+ pioneers to schools’ curriculum

Tamar Gewirtz

The history of the LGBTQ+ community is rarely talked about, and when it is, it’s usually just in passing. But this is beginning to change. On August 9, Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois implemented the Inclusive Curriculum Law; a law that mandates schools to teach about LGBTQ+ pioneers, among other groups of people. Now is the time for other states, including Minnesota, to follow suit.

Traditional history books have always had the tendency to tell a single story. This is one of the many reasons why schools introduced African American history to the curriculum. Not only are their stories not often told, but learning these stories is very important to understand crucial moments in history.

Park recognizes the importance of diversity in the curriculum, as is seen in the books that we read for English, such as The Kite Runner or Woman at Point Zero, but we can benefit by extending this diversity to recognize and celebrate LGBTQ+ contributions. By reading from and on such a wide variety of customs and cultures, people can see themselves in the characters and relate to them on a new level. 

In our history classes, we try and include perspectives from all different types of people from all different kinds of events. For the most part, we don’t just look at a single story, we try to look at it as a whole. 

In the same manner that we learn about African Americans, Latinos, women, and people with disabilities, we should learn about LGBTQ+ pioneers. 

Minnesota is usually at the forefront when it comes to introducing legislation to counter prejudice and include diversity. They should now follow their reputation and introduce this legislation.

Moreover, this mandate should not cost anything to the schools. Advocacy and education groups online have free and relevant curriculum materials. The Legacy Project Education Initiative has already created lesson plans. Schools also aren’t allowed to purchase textbooks that are discriminatory, and must include all groups of people.

Learning about pioneers of the LGBTQ+ community is vital for acquiring a full understanding of history. This law should therefore be passed in Minnesota for schools like SLP to have more diversity and recognize the history of LGBTQ+.

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