Town Square

New Law Requires Gay Achievements Taught In Schools

Original post made by Cindy Cross on Jul 28, 2011

New Law Requires Gay Achievements Taught In Schools
By Cindy Cross
Starting on January 1st, 2012, California public schools will be required to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB48 which is the first of its kind in America.
"History should be honest," said Brown in a statement. "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."
Many gay rights groups hail Brown a hero for making a law to point out significant accomplishments of LGBT's throughout history. They pointed out that teaching such curriculum will make LGBT students safer and perhaps cut down on bullying LGBT students.
Groups in opposition are mainly dismayed for religious reasons. Many religious groups see homosexuality or any 'deviant' sexual behavior against their religious mores.
I don't understand why such a private issue should be taught in public schools. I believe LGBT's should have every right that everyone else has, but what a person does in the bedroom is private.
Will this lead to making it mandatory to report what religious affiliation a historical figure belonged to? Should we begin to make it mandatory to include in curriculum what George Washington and Martha did in their bedroom? No. That is private. This is no one's business, and it takes away from the accomplishments themselves.
I think that law SB48 places people into more distinct categories that are unnecessary. We need to study and recognize people as human beings making human accomplishments. Knowing what a person does in their private time will not make their accomplishments any better—or worse.
What Harvey Milk did was a great thing, but that he was a homosexual makes no difference. It shouldn't anyway.


Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jul 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

Nice analysis,Cindy. I read that an appeal was filed to overturn SB48 yesterday. Let's hope that sanity prevails over the narrow political interests being promoted by the likes of Gov. moonbeam.

Posted by Gershwin, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Jul 29, 2011 at 9:02 am

I know, Cindy and Steve. Why on earth would gay kids want to know how gays, despite rampant homophobia and discrimination, contributed great things to this country? I just can't figure it. It's good you thought this matter through before siding with the bigots.

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jul 29, 2011 at 9:11 am

Gershwin-you can always open your own private school to teach your propaganda, when you're not busy composing music or calling your opposition rude names. You artists........

Posted by David, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 29, 2011 at 9:13 am

Why does someone's sexual prefference, or ethnicity, or social economic status matter? Why is the government now making it a law to teach about the accomplishments of homosexuals?

There are so many great people that make up America. I do not look at their color, or sex, or sexual preference in order to decide that they are great. I recognize them on what they acheive, or stand for. The same people that teach Tolerance, keep ramming crap like this down our throats instead of taking care of what really matters right now in our country. The fact that we spend more money than every person making more that $100,000.00 per year could pay for if they paid 100% in tax.

This is what we pay for, or should I say, This is what we get, when we burry our heads in the sand! Meaningless crap!

Special groups act like the majority of citizens hate gays and minorities, and foreigners. I'm sick of it! They keep the issue on front street and do not let it heal.


The NAACP pushes for equality. Something that they should do and have needed to, but at the same time support seperatist programs like, Miss Black America, or all black schools like Tuskegee University and Grambling State University, or Black Entertainment Television. They support these things, but say anything all White, is racist. Can you say Irony?

I do not want to get off track, but feel strongly that we should not be forced to teach about any one groups contribution to society. At the same time, we should not exclude them because of their religious beliefs.

Posted by Gil, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 29, 2011 at 9:32 am

I gotta tell ya, the comments on these PW sites are better than the funny pages. Pleasanton seems to be striving for recognition as Undisputed, Top-Ranked Hick Town in all of California. I love it!

Please PTown denizens, let us all not burry our heds in the sand.

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jul 29, 2011 at 9:57 am

Gil- ironic that you, living in Livermore, are accusing us of 'burrying our heds in the sand'. So, you use the label 'hick town' to describe those that aren't fooled into following your 'progressive' mantra of anything goes? Did you learn that in Livermore or are you another Berkeley transplant, escaping the second hand pot smoke?

Posted by Frank, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2011 at 10:27 am

I agree with Gil's "hick town" opinion. Just look at what "David" said:

"...all black schools like Tuskegee University and Grambling State University"

These are not "all black schools" and do admit students of different races. When these schools were created there was a strong need for them because of racism in both American culture and institutions. Most colleges in the US at the time excluded blacks.

David's ignorant and uninformed comments are examples of the "head in the sand", "hick town" attitude to which Gil refers.

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jul 29, 2011 at 10:31 am

Frank-it appears we've all been led way off the original topic. In any case, you and Gil painting the entire town as a hick town because of one poster's comments is like saying all inhabitants of the city of Oakland are criminals.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm

If Michelle Bachmann ges elected as the next President of the United States, we will have the FIRST Woman President of the United States and a First Lady to! he-haw...

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Correction: ...gets elected...

Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jul 30, 2011 at 7:49 am

We cannot discuss the contributions of Americans in this diverse nation of ours without connecting their achievements to their identity. We have Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans...and now Gay-Americans as part of the official curriculum.

This is a good thing. We will increase tolerance and acceptance by teaching the truth. Pretending that people's homosexuality, their so-called "private lives", did not affect their "public lives" is just nonsense. Until very recently, consensual adult homosexual sex was illegal in many parts of the United States, and people could be, and were, ruined by a public disclosure of their homosexuality.

My favorite example was Bayard Rustin, the mastermind of the 1963 March on Washington (it was during this gathering that Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech). Other civil rights leaders wanted to exclude Rustin because they knew he was gay; Dr. King insisted that Rustin's talents could not be wasted, and King got his way--sort of. Rustin had to agree to work behind the scenes and could not speak publicly; that's why so few Americans today remember his work. Bayard Rustin, one of the key architects of the Civil Rights Movement that changed America for the better, cheated of his due public recognition just because of what Cindy calls his "private issue".

California is a melting pot of many different types of people. I'm proud to live in a state that officially embraces diversity and proud to have a Governor and a legislature who are willing to fight prejudice in our society.

Posted by John, a resident of Dublin
on Jul 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Wow, I never learned about Bayard Rustin during my schooling years. Thank you, Yet Another Teacher, for enlightening us about how this gay American has contributed to our history. I wonder how many other gay Americans did great things to our society like Bayard Rustin, but their names and accomplishments are wiped away from our history books by those who love to censor.

Posted by john, a resident of Dublin
on Jul 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Wow! Thank you for the link! I just learned that Tchaikovsky's struggle with homosexuality had large influence with his music! I wonder how many other people struggle with their sexuality because of society's suppression? It's amazing what we can learn from history!

Here's another snippet of gay history: The Nazis persecuted and killed countless number of homosexuals in addition to the Jews because they were not able to contribute to the "Master Race." Why does anyone want to hide this fact in our history books? These people died for who they were!

Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jul 31, 2011 at 11:04 am

John: One of the issues history teachers will face now in California public schools is separating rumors from fact. There are many historically important individuals we suspect were gay, but we don't know that for a fact.

Speaking of heroes and villains, it's been speculated for many years that the longtime founder/director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, was a transvestite and homosexual who had a relationship with his aide, Clyde Tolson. Unfortunately for Hoover, organized crime learned of Hoover's "private issues" (as Cindy Cross calls them), and historians have speculated for years that Hoover's FBI failed to move against the East Coast Mafia because they were blackmailing Hoover. This would not be something we teachers would include in the curriculum, however, as these allegations have never been corroborated without a doubt.

Anyway, I'm still not sure whether America, circa 2011, is ready for a cross-dressing, gay FBI Director, but I'm very certain it wasn't circa 1951.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 31, 2011 at 1:01 pm

The State of CA Board of Education doesn't care whether or not Santa Claus exists because of all the money that's made during the holiday season. Everybody knows that President Washington did not chop down a cheery tree but the lies persist. not too many folks seem to care about the historical "truth" when there's bucks to be made!

I'm a history buff so I will occasionally attend history classes in Livermore and Pleasanton. Tons of distortions, fantasies get passed off as honest to god American history. sorry folks, some teachers are not doing their research...many good American students are being deliberately lied to because it's convenient.

fortunately, we have yet another teacher to guide us through these dark and smoky times...
tee hee hee, tee hee hee...

signed...been had the experience of being lied to about American history

Posted by Scared for the Future of this State, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2011 at 10:58 am

I'm all for teaching the important accomplishments made throughout history, but I don't understand why the achiever's sexual orientation should have any part in the lesson. To me, it opens up teaching to include mediocre events that would not normally be considered history worthy, but because the people involved were LGBT, it's all of a sudden a huge victory. Let's keep history to those important events that warrant mention and leave religion and sexual orientation out of it.

Posted by Frightened with Head in Sand, a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Yes, I guess if you live in an enforced homogeneous community that is designed to exclude minorities and sexual deviants, if you haven't read much, and if you don't have a clue as to the kinds of obstacles other types of people experience on a day to day basis, it's pretty easy to deny the significance of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, or those other whiney things.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I disliked J. Edgar Hoover for multiple reasons, none of which had anything to do with "cross-dressing".

The good news is that Americans can run but their is no hiding from the diversity that is America. To contaminate the minds of America's greatest resource, its children, will come back and bite u in the butt!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Correction: ...there is no hiding from the diversity that is America. As you know, what happens to enclaves, they get chopped up!

Posted by John Douglas, a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

This article poses a question as to the merits of public schools teaching the student body the historical records of LGBT individuals, not whether or not Pleasanton is a hick town. Parents have the most influence on how a child views the world around them, but teachers as well can guide young minds seeking explanations for this complex social issue. It would be my hope that our public schools instruct our children to be aware that sexual orientation is private matter and that worldly accomplishment is not subject only to square jawed white males.

Posted by Blossom, a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Aug 3, 2011 at 10:18 am

Right-O! I've long been opposed to historians focussing on the private lives of important historical figures. Who needs to know about Washington and the apple tree, or even his slaves for that matter; or Jefferson's impregnation of one of his slaves; or Lincoln's bisexuality which may have contributed to his wife's psychoses. Naw keep it simple. No need to mention race or gender or sexual orientation or anything else beyond the basics: Was this figure a fiscal conservative or wasn't he?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Incidentally, what did President's in Lincoln's time eat for dinner?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm

what constitutes American history? please esplain in DETAIL!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm

What exactly is considered a Gay achievement?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 4, 2011 at 8:33 am

i didn't know that mary lincoln was could she be coo-coo just because honest abe did stuff with the fellas?

how could what he did with the fellas make her coo-coo?

Posted by Mologre, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:39 am

As anyone who lies about their real sexuality in a highly repressed society is likely to cause much mental anguish for the person they marry. Mary Todd was coo-coo and then some. Don't know whether Abe's bisexual relationships with men contributed. Sure didn't help. Would make me coo-coo. You know about coo-coo Cholo?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

Last Pink Triangle Survivor of Concentration Camp Dies: Web Link

Fascinating interview.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:04 am

I've always been interested in American President's and their families.
As I understand it, Mary Todd Lincoln exhibited psychotic symptoms as a teen.

Some historians suggest that she may have been bipolar.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm

The biology of sexual orientation: Web Link

Slow reading but some of the article is understandable!

Posted by mimi, a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2011 at 9:57 am

My concern is the curriculum that the state will put together for the teachers to teach. Should we, as parents have a look at it first? remember when we were kids our parents had the right to tell the school that they did not want their children viewing the material the school was teaching regarding sex ed. I believe that parents have the job of teaching their children on these subjects, and no, Im not burying my head in the sand. I just have a hard time with the school system telling our kids how we should feel about this subject. Start teaching more about Not Bulling in general.

Posted by Charlette, a resident of Downtown
on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:22 am

What if the parents are a bunch of homophobic hicks like we have here in Ptown? Would you also prefer parents telling teachers to teach the creationist myth as opposed to, or alongside of, a scientific view of evolution? You see, I think there are good reasons why schools shouldn't be dictated to by parents. If parents want their kids to grow up homophobic, they can teach them at home how to hate gays (which happens a lot as comments here clearly attest). In our schools, we expect a bit more from our teachers.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 5, 2011 at 11:16 am

I think that children will function better in the world when they have accurate information about the diversity that is the world.

Trust the students, give them a chance, let them succeed and live peacefully with the people around them. They will be happier.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Web Link

The Roman Catholic church does NOT support the teaching of LGBT history in California schools?


Fr. Padraig Greene of Pleasanton was arrested in an Oakland park toilet for exposing himself to a vice squad officer from the OPD.

All American hildren have a right to be protected from sexual predators.

i rest my case...

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm

The above article re: Web Link

pretty is as pretty does...

Posted by Gayle, a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I am a transsexual woman. I believe that the accomplishments of GLBT folk should be taught right along with the accomplishments of everyone else without special emphasis given to the fact that they are/were GLBT. If the fact that someone is GLBT enhances the accomplishment (e.g. overcoming prejudice, etc.) then mention it in a special way. Otherwise, what is wrong to say, Gayle, a transsexual woman, was the first TS to.....My objection in education is the exclusion of the accomplishments or learning about people of certain groups based on some value(s)espoused by a select few or majority. If your objection is on religious grounds, your religious views are yours, they are not mine and your religious views should NOT be the determiner of what is or isn't taught in school. The world would be a much better place if people knew and understood the varying viewpoints of all people - hey maybe there would be more tolerance and less violence. Isn't that what the right wing Jesus folk should believe and teach, love and tolerance ?

Posted by John S., a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm

What [Black Person] did was a great thing, but that he was a [Black] makes no difference. It shouldn't anyway.

Posted by Amy, a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm

"I have a dream" of a time when a man will not be judged (or acknowledged) because of the color of his skin but because of the quality of his character. Martin Luther King Jr.