THE WORD | Illinois passes law requiring LGBT history curriculum be taught in schools

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation ensuring state schools teach the role and contributions of LGBT people in American history.

Pritzker signed off on House Bill 346, which was recently passed by state House earlier this year, last Friday.

The law requires all schools in the state include "the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State" in official textbooks.

The state’s Board of Education is also required to publish a list of the textbooks authorized to be purchased under the law annually. 

“Each public school district and state-recognized, non-public school shall, subject to appropriations for that purpose, receive a per pupil grant for the purchase of secular and non-discriminatory textbooks,” the bill text reads.

According to The Hill State Sen. Heather Steans (D) gave the following statement

“The bill also includes a section that allows the department to adopt rules "as necessary" for the implementation the law and “to ensure the religious neutrality of the textbook block grant program. One of the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education and exposure to different people and viewpoints.” 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 also said. “LGBTQ children and teenagers will also be able to gain new role models who share life experiences with them.”

Gov. Pritzker's said, "The LGBTQ community won't just have a seat at the table, they will be equal partners in the fight to make equality a lived reality for all."

New Jersey, California, and Colorado have also embraced the new LGBT school curriculum.

Check out the reaction on Twitter:

Chicago's LGBT Community Stands With Pulse Shooting Victims

Chicago’s LGBT community offered its deepest condolences to the families of the victims, in regards to what America calls “the deadliest mass shooting in US history.” A gunman opened fire at Pulse Orlando, a popular gay dance club, early Sunday morning, police said. Amongst the victims were 50 people killed and 53 wounded.

Equality Illinois, an organization geared towards fighting for the basic civil rights of Illinois citizens, who identify themselves as members of the LGBT community, were one of organizations to speak on the devastating event. “We mourn the victims of the shooting in the Orlando nightclub Pulse…Our hearts go out to the Orlando LGBT community and the family and friends of the victims”, said Equality Illinois.

Among those who were concerned for the victims, were bars and clubs in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood. Sidetrack The Video Bar wrote, “Our thoughts are with those suffering from the senseless act of terror in Orlando…”  (NBC News).

Hydrate Nightclub Chicago posted to Facebook, saying, “We stand united with our GLBT community throughout this horrible tragedy” (NBC News).

Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed his displeasure, stating, “This horrendous violence will only deepen our resolve to continue building a society that values everybody, regardless of who they love…” (NBC News).

Police have yet to release the identities of the victims, as officials are trying to notify kin of the relatives. A hotline has been set up for the families of the victims: 407-246-4357