AURORA, Ill. – State Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, recently supported legislation that would require the inclusion of LGBTQ history in textbooks in schools throughout the state.
“LGBTQ students face bullying in schools at significantly high rates across the country, and one way to combat this is to start teaching students at a young age about the importance of this community in history,” said Hernandez. “It is time that LGBTQ youth be reflected in the material that they learn in the classroom.”
Hernandez backed House Bill 246, which makes amendments to the Illinois School Code, stating that all textbooks purchased by Illinois public schools must include the history of all persons protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act. This means that contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people will be included in textbooks and curricula following the passage of the bill. If signed into law, Illinois would be the third state in the country to require LGBTQ history to be taught in classrooms, alongside New Jersey and California.
“We want to ensure that students are learning the full scope of history in our schools, so it is crucial that we include important LGBTQ moments and activists,” said Hernandez. “Bullying can stem from a lack of understanding and awareness of other people. By teaching students that differences make us stronger, and have historically made our country stronger, we can save more LGBTQ students from feeling as if they are outsiders in their own school.”