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LGBTQ History Book Bill To Go Before State Senate

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Office of State Sen. Heather Steans
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State Sen. Heather Steans sponsored at a bill to require Illinois public schools to teach a curriculum that includes contributions of LGBTQ individuals.

Illinois could become the first state in the Midwest to require public schools to teach LGBTQ history.

The plan calls for the contributions of LGBTQ people to be acknowledged in history courses and in textbooks purchased by public schools. The State House of Representatives approved the bill in March. The state Senate could consider it as early as this week.

“We think this is important both for LGBTQ students and  non-LGBTQ students to ... really help further tell the story of Illinois and the story of America by including the perspectives and the contributions of all people,“ said Mike Ziri, who is policy director of the advocacy organization Equality Illinois, which has been a driving force behind the legislation.

The measure has been opposed by some religious organizations and conservative groups. 

Ziri said,  “That could be contributions of folks like Harvey Milk, or Jane Addams. You know, it could be the history of the civil rights work at Stonewall in New York City in 1969. All of this rich history is omitted from curricula and from history.”

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and covering the equity beat. Maureen joined the Illinois Issues in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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