Educators shape first LGBTQ inclusive textbooks in the country


With the passage of the California FAIR Education Act in 2011, educators laid the groundwork for an LGBTQ inclusive curriculum. This summer NEA members who advocated for the passage of FAIR were among the select group of committee members who reviewed and decided whether publishers made the grade for LGBTQ inclusive content in their textbooks.

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“We fought so hard for the FAIR Education Act, but when we won no one really knew how to implement it. It’s not like we had a list of all the lesbian, gay and transgender people throughout history that should be included right away. That is why it was so important to me to be a part of the team reviewing the textbooks that will help guide an inclusive curriculum. To be honest, I was such an advocate that I was shocked that I got picked for a committee,” said C. Scott Miller, California Teachers Association (CTA) member and liaison to the Equality California Board.

California is the first and only state to mandate that students be taught about the contributions of LGBTQ people in social sciences classes. That means the educators in the state will play a vital role in driving the creation of LGBTQ curricula for K-12 classes in California and potentially around the country.

CTA members who participated in the process recognized the responsibility they shouldered in creating this curriculum and discussed the rigorous review. Miller explained, “On one section we sent three pages of changes. Content on Sally Ride, Ellen DeGeneres and Billy Jean King failed to prominently note that they were lesbians, and honestly LGBT people of color were difficult to find.”

Want to connect LGBTQ historical figures to your Black History Month lessons? Find model lessons from our partner Teaching Tolerance right here.

Another CTA and review committee member, Kelly Villalobos, offered this perspective from her committee, “One of the discussions we had on our panel had to do with the amount of inclusion of LGBTQ people. We were concerned with the low numbers. Someone on our panel asked, “If the script was switched and we were looking at the representation of people of color and we only saw a few people of color throughout the textbooks, would we be ok with it?” We absolutely wouldn’t be ok with it.”

Following the summer review process, state officials voted to approve the first revised K-8 textbooks to include the LGBTQ material in November 2017.

“The whole idea was to make sure that LGBTQ kids see themselves in the social science books. People just like them made history. It’s good for them, it’s normalizing and reduces bullying. It’s really good for everyone,” said Miller.

While Villalobos felt like there was still room for improvement in what the publishers offered, she added, “What is thrilling though, is that this is a start of a new era. Ten years from now they will be much better. We have to start somewhere and I am glad that day has come.”

Reader Comments

  1. I am a CTA member… Fellow CTA MEMBERS.. Did you know that our union endorsed / supported these laws and gave us these definitions for Gender Expansion?

    SB 239 – Intentionally infecting someone with the HIV virus is no longer a felony. (10/2017-Wiener)
    SB 179 – Official 3rd Gender in California (Non-Binary) goes into effect Jan 2019 (10/2017 – Atkins)

    In relation to SB 179 – “Non-Binary Genders” can be defined (but not limited to) as follows:

    According to the California Teachers’ Association Magazine (California Educator) in the article “Embracing the Gender Spectrum” (March 2017, Vol 21, Issue 6, p. 21) , genders can fall in MULTIPLE CATEGORIES… (Gender Expansive)

    They can be:

    1) GENDER NONCONFORMING – which means their gender expression is outside of the their assigned sex at birth.(pronouns used: Feminine identity or Expression: she,her, herself / Male Identity or Expression: he, his,himself)

    2) AMBIGENDER – meaning you can actually have BOTH GENDERS at the same time
    (pronouns used: they, them, their, themself)

    3) AGENDER – They don’t associate with either gender
    (pronouns used: ze, hir, hirs, hirself)

    4) GENDER FLUID – to have no fixed gender (it can fluctuate back and forth between male and female
    at anytime) (pronouns used: May fluctuate between Feminine and Male pronouns)

    5) QUESTIONING – they are unsure of or exploring their gender identity.

    And do you know that CTA endorsed Senator Ricardo Lara, who proposed SB 1146? the Law that accused faith based colleges with discriminatory teachings and sought to remove all Cal Grants from Faith Based Colleges?
    They are also pushing Lara up the political ladder sponsoring him as our new State Insurance Commissioner. I wonder what their TRUE feelings are towards TEACHERS OF MANY FAITHS.. who may not share their political ideologies? HMMM… Maybe we can read between the lines or connect the dots somehow??

  2. So what does the LGBTQ Political indoctrination have to do with Reading, Writing, Math, Science, History, Art, and Music?
    You need to keep sexuality and sexual preferences out of our classroom and let our teachers do their jobs. The kids are supposed to come first, not some political agenda.

    1. The libitard socialists of the country have hijacked every thing they can to try to influence impressionable people, in this case kids. The simple answer is treat everyone the same. Calling out differences for tis own sake creates unanswerable questions as to why? How? Why special consideration for this or that group?

  3. The real problem of incorporating LBG, whatever ‘special’ group is that they then become labeled as different and warrant or need special consideration. The answer is treat everyone the same. No special treatment for any one.

    1. The fact that you can’t even give them the correct title LGBTQ whatever highlights the real real problem baby

  4. This is great & I’m looking forward to seeing the new textbooks myself. All children deserve to be included in public education. LGBTQ students are harassed 2 times as much as their heterosexual/cis gender peers but inclusive policies are changing that. Constantly austracizing & excluding LGBTQ people is just mean & you will Be judged for your own behavior.

  5. The disgusting idea to incorporate LGBTQ educational materials into the classroom is absurd….maybe the supporters of this movement can explain this to GOD…..!!!!! This is an abomination to GOD and WILL NEVER be accepted…!!!! It appears SATAN is hard at work with the “know it alls” in the NEA….. These individuals DO NOT even come close for trying to speak out on the behalf of 90% of hard-working members….!!!!! AND, I am one of those 90%….Marine Bob…’re right…. these “know it alls” in NEA are wackos not intelligent by any measure of intelligence……!!!!!!!! Nothing they say or do is positive…….!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I’m absolutely sure GOD WILL BESTOW on them just dues THEY DESERVE AND EARNED….!!!!!!

    1. It’s funny to me that I remembered from 7 years of Christian Schools and church and hmmmm even the Bible . “ Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Don’t remember the part where Jesus had a problem with the disenfranchised people you are an abomination I think it was the Pharisees claiming their godliness that got that talk from our Lord Jesus check yourself . If you believe in the judgment day, in this society where LGBTQ would rather kill themselves than face school, these are the least of these – they need you’re compassion not you’re ape shit bat crazy reciting of hate to them.
      God is love. If you claim his name you better have the courage to live it not throw shit on those you see as having more sin that you hmmm Rom 5:8

  6. The best thing that could happen to this nation is for all of California to slide into the ocean. Utah, Arizona, Nevada become ocean front, a whole slew of illegals are gone, and the brain dead, drugged out wackos would be free to start their own country. Every body wins. Why is a supposedly intelligent group of people like the NEA touting such nonsense as a positive thing?

      1. Well, it is clear you are blinded by emotions instead of reality. But its probably not your fault. And you are right, there are not too many progressives whose ideas are embraced by those of us who live a world of reality and not socialist, hazy dreams of the way things ought to be

  7. The NEA spends too much time supporting this politically correct liberal idea and is failing to support teachers’ employment rights.

      1. Perfect. Only those with the ‘union’ view are welcome. Now that’s the way to solve problems. Disinvite those who disagree with you.

      2. MS. This is a very serious problem: that is your “shaming” remark toward anyone who doesn’t agree with you and particularly, your broad brush statement that anyone with traditional beliefs and/or value system does not deserve the protection of union rights that actually support all of us, NOT JUST YOU AND THISE WHO SHARE YOUR VIEWS! This is a melting pot not just of different races, cultures and beliefs, but ideas!

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