Gays Make History In California

Katy Grimes:

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a strange new bill into law yesterday requiring public schools in California to teach students about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, beginning January 1, 2011.

California public school textbooks will be required to to be rewritten to include the contributions gay Americans have made in history. However, the state is broke, so writing and printing new textbooks will have to wait until 2015. But that won’t stop many teacher-activists.

“This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books,” Brown said in a statement yesterday about SB48, introduced by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

Unless the state has rewritten history since I was last in school, the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are already included in our history books. We just don’t teach children about the sex lives of our founding fathers, or presidents, or military heroes or famous suffragettes.

“History should reflect significant issues and events, and the people responsible for them,” said my dad, a retired history teacher.

But liberals want history taught their way. They want history to reflect them instead of teaching solely about the events and issues, and periods in time.

It is trivial and ridiculous to go back in history and demonize or lionize decisions by people. It would be just as absurd to condemn Christopher Columbus today for owning slaves. In the 15th Century, slave ownership was widely practiced and accepted.

Martin Luther King’s sex life, whether gay or straight, should not ever be more important or even significant. He was a prominent leader of the civil rights movement in America. That is what he accomplished. His personal life and personal choices were his to live with and deal with.

But once again, in a weirdly obsessive quest to be the first state in the nation to do something avant garde, California’s lawmakers and governor opted for publicity instead of substance.

Breaking down the demographics of the figures in history has little relevance to the events.

The discovery of America by Columbus had nothing to do with whether he was a gay or straight man, or had a stable of mistresses on board the Nina, the Pinta or the Santa Maria.

A teaching of social history should recognize the increase of gay rights and changes in society. However, singling out gays’ accomplishments over other important historical figures is what this law will do — and in doing so, trivialize all people who have made history. It also makes a mockery of California’s public education system.

JULY 15, 2011


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