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Should CA textbooks highlight that certain historical figures had same-sex partners?

by AirTalk®

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Supporters hold signs with the image of slain San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk during a rally at San Francisco City Hall on February 22, 2013. Milk is one of the historical figures whose sexuality LGBTQ groups want included in California school textbooks, a request made during a state Department of Education meeting held on Wednesday. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The California Department of Education is updating textbook recommendations, and various gay rights groups are objecting to the new books, claiming they don’t go far enough in highlighting the contributions of lesbian, gay and transgender people.

This is the first time the Department is providing new recommendations since the state required teaching the achievements of LGBTQ figures in 2011.

At a state commission Wednesday, gay rights groups argued that the textbooks should interweave, rather than tokenize, LGBTQ figures through their teaching of history, as well as highlight when historical figures had same-sex partners. The latter clause begs the question of whether the partners of heterosexual historical figures should be mentioned as well.

Does pointing out a historical person’s homosexuality imply that all other figures mentioned are straight? Or is this an important step forward for the representation of LGBTQ people in California textbooks? 

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