EDITORIAL: LGBTQ+ history books bill should be approved


March 21, 2019
Filed under Editorials

There’s nothing wrong with including LGBTQ people in history textbooks.

The Illinois House just recently passed a bill that would make including historical figures who happen to be LGBTQ+ included in k-12 history books, according to National Public Radio.

Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz said she supported approving the bill because her brother was unfairly reprimanded 15 years ago for explaining who a LGBTQ+ person from was the history textbook for the class he taught, according to NPR. He was denied tenure from the suburban public school in Chicago.

“My brother was teaching history and a student asked whether the historical figure there was the subject of the lesson was gay. He answered with the truth,” Gong-Gershowitz said.

An oppositional opinion to this bill is that the sexual orientations and gender identities of historical figures aren’t relevant to the history lessons.

We at The Daily Eastern News believe that when it comes to teaching history, paying special attention to prominent historical figures’ sexual orientations shouldn’t have to be an issue in the United States at all, unless that information is essential to understanding the person.

For some people, they believe their sexualities are an incredibly important element of their characters. To others, sexual orientation just isn’t as important. In any case, sexual orientation and gender identity are part of what a person is—it is part of their character.

The truth is we shouldn’t have to segment or segregate individuals for their sexual orientations or gender identities. Things people cannot control about themselves, such as sexual orientation, gender identity, skin color or nationality for example, should not be what that sets them apart from other amazing individuals. Likewise, the rest of the world should not shame or oppress them for these qualities or omit them from history books.

We live in a very heteronormative society. We have been conditioned by society to put people into two different gender categories: men and women. Up until 2015, same sex marriage was prohibited in some states.

Another issue even still is representation for LGBTQ+ people in history textbooks. Because people from the past have chosen to stigmatize anything that isn’t heteronormative or cis, important people who have contributed to this nation’s history have been unjustly omitted from the history books. We think that they deserve to be there.

Additionally, people like to learn about other people like them.

For students in junior high and high school that are developing sexually and learning that they are LGBTQ+, where will they learn about people like them? When will it be OK for teachers to just be honest? When will it finally be OK for LGBTQ+ people to get equal representation?

We at The Daily Eastern News think senate should pass the bill. Prominent LGBTQ+ historical figures should be recognized for the ways they impacted the world.

The Editorial staff can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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March 21, 2019 at 11:02PM

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