From next year, Illinois public schools will be required to include LGBT+ history on their curriculum, and people are overjoyed.
On Friday, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the House Bill 246, which mandates that the subject must be taught, as of July 1 2020. In the measure, it's stated that:
In public schools only, the teaching of history shall include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.
The bill also includes mandates for teaching the African American community's history, as well as for various other groups, including Polish, Irish, Italian, Hispanic, and Asian Americans, reports the Huffington Post.
After the bill was released in May, its co-sponsor Democratic senator Heather Stearns of Chicago said that it is one of the "best ways to overcome intolerance". She added:
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.
LGBTQ children and teenagers will also be able to gain new role models who share life experiences with them.
In a statement released Friday, Equality Illinois, a non-profit LGBT+ advocacy group, said that it is a "life-saving law", adding:
To deny a child information that could give them hope, that could help them feel less alone, that could help them feel like they mattered ― while at the same time condemning them to hearing bigoted slurs in the hallways of their schools ― is a cruelty that every feeling adult has a responsibility to stop.