In 1977, Harvey Milk made history when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and became the first openly gay man elected to public office. In a few years, California school children could be studying and learning about his life and accomplishments.
A bill approved by the California Legislature would require textbooks and history classes to include accounts of famous gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans. If Gov. Edmund G. Jerry Brown, signs the legislation, California would become the first state to require that gay historical figures assume a place in school curriculums.
During an intense debate, openly gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano told his fellow lawmakers that I don't want to be invisible in a textbook. Lawmakers pointed to a rash of gay suicides and said including gay figures in the curriculum would help to prevent gay students from being bullied and feeling marginalized.
We are selectively censoring history when we exclude LGBT Americans, or any other group of people, from our textbooks and instructional materials, Senator Mark Leno said after the bill passed the assembly.
Conversely, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly said the bill sought to advance a homosexual agenda and pronounced himself deeply offended given his Christian faith. Assemblyman Chris Norby said the bill was a distraction that unnecessarily burdened teachers.