Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a new bill into law requiring the state’s schools to teach “LGBTQ history” to students by the eighth grade.
The law will require schools to add the history of prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, according to the New York Post.
The law states that textbooks “must include the roles and contributions of all people protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act and must be non-discriminatory as to any of the characteristics under the Act.”
“One of the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education and exposure to different people and viewpoints,” sponsor State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said. “An inclusive curriculum will not only teach an accurate version of history but also promote acceptance of the LGBTQ community.”
“It is my hope that teaching students about the valuable contributions LGBTQ individuals have made throughout history will create a safer environment with fewer incidents of harassment,” Steans exclaimed. “LGBTQ children and teenagers will also be able to gain new role models who share life experiences with them.”
“The new law’s goal is simple: to understand that people from different backgrounds deserve the same opportunity to learn and be recognized for their contributions in society as everyone else,” added State Rep. Anna Moeller.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 60–42 and succeeded in the State Senate 37–17.
Gay rights advocacy group Equality Illinois supported the bill and said the new requirements will have a “positive effect on students’ self-image and make their peers more accepting.”
Illinois becomes the fifth state to pass a law mandating schools teach LGBTQ history.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.