LGBT History = Possibly a New Requirement in California History Classes

Bernadette's picture

I saw in a recent RollingStone chart of cool/not cool current events that California schools might be required to teach LGBT history as part in history courses. I think that this is a wonderful development in history education because


1) it gives greater historical, social, and cultural perspective on today's struggle for issues such as Same-Sex Marriage, gay adoption, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and the Boy Scouts' refusal to allow membership to homosexual males, to name a few.

2) it increases visibility, awareness, and education about the LGBT community, teaching students and then hopefully everyone else about the horrors of discrimination against members of the LGBT community

3) in conjunction with #2, students will be encouraged to stand up against this discrimination

4) by making LGBT history a requirement throughout California, people in parts of the state that do not have strong LGBT communities will be more educated about LGBT history and issues when they might otherwise not have any exposure to those topics


As with everything in life, I think that education is key to fully understand issues and parts of the world in general. Because of that, I applaud state legislators such as Mark Leno for supporting this bill!

Read more about this new proposal here!

Phil Ting's picture

Education is Key

Education overcomes ignorance.  Learning our history as a country and state helps us grow.  Before going to college, I almost knew nothing about my history as an Asian American. I had heard vague references to building the railroad but that was about it.  Learning my own history helped me understand how we got to this point in time.  Since Asian Americans have been in SF for over 150 years, its helps me understand how SF got to this point in time.  

Learning LGBT history is absolutely imperative.  The LGBT community has only recently been even allowed to be visible, we have so far to go to stopping the significant discrimination this community face and I believe history would be one great step towards getting there.

gcotter's picture

No - First the 3 R's

I agree that LGBT history is important.  I also think that Black history is important.  So is Anti-Bullying.  Hispanic heritage and dozens of other social awareness issues clear down to manners - do children even know the difference between "Please" "Thank You" and "F*** You Dude?" - are important.

But first and foremost, schools exist to teach the three R's:  Readin', Writin' and 'Rithmatic.  We are building a nation of illiterates.  First teach our children to read!  Teach them to write!  Teach them basic arithmatic!

Yes, children need classes in Civics and Social Studies.  They need American History -- of which a couple chapters should, of course, include contributions and histories of minority groups from LGBT to Black to Disabled to Latino to Women to... well everything and everyone.  But they need to be able to read about it!  And for that they need to learn to read.

Our educational goals are so progressive and so focused on social issues that we leave no time or energy for basic life skills such as English, Spelling, Reading Comprehension, etc.

I'd rather see the School Board work on a way to make school days an hour longer and school years a month longer.  Then, maybe, we can explore new studied to incorporate.  But until our children can read at or above their grade level, let's hold off on new subject matter.


Phil Ting's picture

Basics First

Yes - I totally agree.  We must do the basics first and do them well from K to 12.  However, Social Studies are a major part of the curriculum.  As long as we are teaching social studies we need to make sure we are teaching a honest version of history which acknowledges all of our contributions not just one group of people.  History has really ignored the viewpoints of many Californians so since we are requiring all students to take these classes they should be telling the stories of all of us not just one of us.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137