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Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

Law unfairly singles out gay historical figures


Teachers should focus on individual’s accomplishments and not on their sexual preferences

Flipping through frayed pages in a random history book, I turn to the index. My fingers scan through the “h” section and land on the word “homosexual.” One page out of 1,000. That’s all there is on them. And on that one page, three short paragraphs. But the lack of information on homosexuals will soon be changed.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 48, legislated by openly gay Sen. Mark Leno, requiring California history teachers to add information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans to their lesson plans, as well as that of disabled people and members of different cultural groups. This bill will also require teaching about the LGBT movement. It came about because some textbooks and teachers don’t address homosexual issues or their contributions to society.

Just like the laws about teaching other races besides Caucasian, this bill will ensure that students are informed of the diverse group of people that helped shape our world. However, we will not be those students because textbooks will not be updated with this information until 2015.

Here is my problem with this bill: a person’s sexual orientation shouldn’t be relevant in any history class. People should remember them for the mark they left on the world. Not their preferences. We don’t stop for every historical figure to classify them as straight, so why should it be any different for homosexuals? Wouldn’t it be singling them out, or placing a label on them? And aren’t we all supposed to be treated as equal?

If the point is including homosexuals, then okay. They do deserve representation. But to distinguish noteworthy people as gay contradicts the idea that they are equal to everyone else – if we don’t point out heterosexuals for their sexuality, why treat homosexuals differently?

Some people think that it will help students remember them. If so, then  they will be remembered as homosexual, instead of their contributions to society. They are far more than simply their sexual orientation. We remember Abraham Lincoln for freeing the slaves, not because he was heterosexual. To distinguish someone for their sexual preference takes away from what they are being discussed for.

The point of the bill is to give homosexual teenagers a sense of fitting in or hope to become someone who has made a difference, but if anything, singling out people in a textbook will just make them feel different.

Another point of the bill is that homosexuals are often thought to be under appreciated. So this got me thinking, do teachers feel the same? I mean if they did, wouldn’t they bring this information into their lessons? And when the bill is reinforced by textbooks, will they only be teaching it because they have to?

However the other part of the bill, I agree with. Students should learn about the movements that brought hope to homosexuals all over the world. Teaching the gay rights movements all  throughout time – that’s history.

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Law unfairly singles out gay historical figures