California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a groundbreaking bill that requires public schools to include the historical contributions of LGBT individuals in their social studies lessons. The law — entitled the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act — could begin taking effect as soon as the 2013-2014 school year.
California will be the first state in the nation to require schools to revise textbooks and procure teaching materials that cover the contributions and roles of sexual minorities throughout history. It will be up to the school boards to determine how — and at what grade level — to implement these changes.
Unsurprisingly, phrases like “homosexual agenda” and “sexual brainwashing” are being tossed about by critics of the bill, and opponents have already begun collecting signatures for a ballot referendum to overturn the bill.
Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, the author of the bill, had this to say about the bill’s critics:
There is a lot of distortion. Some people are saying we are trying to sexualize education. This is not about sex. This is about history. It’s about a chapter of civil rights that is currently being censored . . . We learn about Martin Luther King Jr., who fought for civil rights, but not about Harvey Milk, who also fought for civil rights and was also assassinated.
It is worth noting that California law already requires schools to teach about women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians, and entrepreneurs. Other topics, such as the Holocaust and the Irish potato famine, are also required by the Legislature.