California has become the first state to approve LGBT-inclusive textbooks for use in primary schools. Ten textbooks for kindergarten through to eighth-grade, were approved by the California State Board of Education last month.
The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act is a California law which mandates the inclusion of the political, economic, and social contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into educational textbooks and social studies curricular in California public schools. The California State Board of Education also rejected two textbooks published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The textbooks were rejected because they failed to address the sexual orientations of historical figures who were LGBT, or widely speculated by historians to have been LGBT.1
The publisher responded by saying, “HMH feels that the terms lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer are contemporary terms that may not map well on past lives and experiences.”
While many believe primary school children are too young to be delving into gender identity issues, advocates argue, “kids are already navigating those nuances and exploring their own genders in elementary school, whether they’re playing dress up or being asked to divide themselves into lines of boys and girls.”2
Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family told LifeSite News: “The appropriate emphasis in history books and social science books is to honor people because of their contributions. It just seems kind of crazy to be promoting them based on their political or sexual identity. You wouldn’t want to leave people out based on that, but neither do you want to base the entire reason that they’re included in history on sexual identity. It should be based on their historical contributions.”