Illinois House Bill 249, directed at updating the school’s history curriculum to include the roles and contributions of LGBTQ individuals throughout history, was signed into law Friday by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Anna Moeller in order to make the public school code more inclusive. Illinois largest LGBTQ civil rights advocacy organization called Equality Illinois said that these changes in curriculum can positively affect student self-image and peer acceptance. “It is my hope that teaching students about the valuable contributions LGBTQ individuals have made throughout history will create a safer environment with fewer incidents of harassment,” quoted Heather Steans, a State Senator who also supported the bill.
Some of the topics added to the new history curriculum include the first gay rights organization in the United States, the formation and history of Society for Human Rights, and Sally Ride, a lesbian woman who became the first woman in space.
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Under the new law, all public school textbooks “authorized to be purchased must include the roles and contributions of all people protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act and must be non-discriminatory as to any of the characteristics under the Act.”
The bill is scheduled to go into effect in July of 2020, meaning that the first classes teaching the inclusive history will start in the 2021 school year.