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LGBTQ History To Be Taught In Illinois Classrooms This School Year

Dusty Rhodes
/
NPR Illinois
State Rep. Anna Moeller, an Elgin Democrat, is the sponsor of a measure that requires the teaching of positive national and state LGBTQ figures.

This coming school year, districts will be expected to provide information on LGBTQ figures in history before students graduate eighth grade.

State representative Anna Moeller, an Elgin Democrat, said she believes the addition is positive for all students.

“We know that LGBT students are more often the victims of harassment and bullying because of their status. Part of the reason why that happens is because the general population students don't get an accurate portrayal and understanding of lesbian, gays and transgender individuals .They only hear the negative stereotypes, unfortunately, all too often,’’ she said.

Information also is required to be included in a one-year high school class.

Republican Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine voted against the law. He said he did so in part, because schools already had too many unfunded mandates.

Curricula is being created to provide schools with information on LGBTQ history.

One of the groups creating the lesson plans is the Legacy Project, a group that celebrates LGBTQ information. Victor Salvo is the executive director.

“LGBTQ youth grow up and go through the entire education system without ever hearing anything positive about people like themselves.  It's as though people like themselves never existed. And that is a direct result of the genuine stories of many of the people that are actually already learning about having been redacted to remove that information from the story,” Salvo said,

Illinois is the fifth state to require taaching about LGBTQ figures.

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.
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