© 2024 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

House Passes LGBTQ History Book Bill

Dusty Rhodes
NPR Illinois
State Rep. Anna Moeller, an Elgin Democrat, sponsored a bill that would require k-12 history texts to include information about the positive contributions of LGBTQ people.

The Illinois House Wednesday approved a plan that would require k-12 history textbooks to include LGBTQ  figures.

Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, a Glenview Democrat and supporter of the bill, says if it had been law 15 years ago, her brother would not have been denied tenure in a suburban Chicago public school for his decision to talk about sexuality with his students.

“He was subjected to hate mail and called into the principal's office to explain why he answered a student's question honestly. My brother was teaching history and a student asked whether the historical figure there was the subject of the lesson was gay. He answered with the truth,” she said.

Supporters say they hope the measure is a way to improve the lives of  LGBTQ students by cutting down on bullying.

State Representative, Tom Morrison, a Republican from Palatine, opposes the idea.

“Here's what parents in my district said, ‘How or why is a historical figures’ sexuality or gender self -identification even relevant? Especially. when we're talking about kindergarten and elementary school history.'”

The measure passed with only a vote to spare.  it now goes to the Senate for consideration. 

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
Related Stories