California Soon to Be First State to Teach LGBT History in Public Schools

Alex Grubbs | July 20, 2016 | 4:15pm EDT
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The Stonewall Inn in New York City's Greenwich Village, the site of gay riots in 1969, was designated as a National Monument by the Obama administration on June 27, 2016. (AP photo)

( – The California State Board of Education has unanimously voted to implement a 2011 state law signed by Governor Jerry Brown that mandates including LGBT history in public school curriculums as early as second grade.

Last Thursday, the board adopted the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, which will include “the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans and people with disabilities to the history of California and the United States,” according to a press release issued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Peter Tira, an information officer for the California Department of Education, told that this new policy will go into effect immediately across elementary, middle and high school social science and history classes.

However, teachers will have to attend several workshops to learn how to include these topics in their lessons.

The board’s goal is to have the curriculum changes in place by the start of the 2016-2017 school year, Tira said. He added that there is a 2017 deadline for school textbooks to include the LGBT content.

California is the first state in the nation to include LGBT history in its public school curriculum, according to Equality California.

Discussions and lessons in the new curriculum will include different family structures, gender roles, California’s role in LGBT history, and the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states in 2015.

“The adoption of this Framework today is an important part of our instructional program,” said board president Michael Kirst.

“Hundreds of people representing broad perspectives contributed to the development of this important tool for teachers and classrooms. The new Framework will help guide classroom instruction at each grade level and will be used with other instructional resources to ensure all students have a broad understanding of history,” Kirst continued.

In addition to LGBT history, the Framework also mandates the inclusion of other minority group history in public school curriculums, such as the “comfort women” in World War II, the Bataan Death March and the battle of Manila, the Armenian Genocide, and discrimination faced by Sikh Americans.

"This is a priority when fewer than three out of 10 kids in California public schools are taught to read proficiently?" asked Randy Thomasson, president of, a pro-family group. 

"This anti-family sexual engineering demonstrates how government-controlled schools have replaced academics with political correctness," Thomasson said in a statement

"Parents with moral values must rescue their children by exiting the government schools for the safe havens of homeschooling and solid church schools" to "escape the mental molestation of 10 state school sexual indoctrination laws teaching sexual lies to impressionable boys and girls," he said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D). (AP photo)

Gov. Brown signed the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act into law in 2011, which added “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender the economic, political and social development of California and the United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society” to his state's existing Education Code.

The bill, which went into effect in January 2012, required the inclusion of LGBT history in the curriculum. However, it took years of public debate and a number of revisions to reach a final decision on what that history would include.

According to the Associated Press, budget cuts, competing educational priorities and attempts to overturn the law contributed to its long implementation timeline.

“People are passionate about the way they are portrayed in history,” Torlakson said. “We are glad so many people and groups participated in our lengthy public comment and review process.”

The Pacific Justice Institute drafted a referendum to stop the law from going into effect, but failed to reach the required amount of signatures, according to a 2011 press release.

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