New Jersey has become the second state in the nation after California to adopt a law that requires schools to teach about LGBT history in a move hailed by civil rights groups as a step toward inclusion and fairness.
Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who promised to promote equality for gay and transgender people during his campaign, signed the bill Thursday. Among those celebrating the news was Jaime Bruesehoff, of Vernon, whose 12-year-old transgender child Rebekah spoke in support of the bill in Trenton in December.
“This bill is so important for our young people,” Bruesehoff said. “They need to see examples of themselves in the history being taught and in classes they are going to each day. We know representation matters.”
“By learning about LGBTQ people who have made amazing contributions to their country, they are seeing possibilities for themselves and hope for the future,” she said.
Under the measure, public schools must include lessons about the political, economic and social contributions of individuals who are gay and transgender, starting in the 2020-21 school year. The bill also requires teaching about contributions of people who are disabled.
The law does not apply to private schools.
Concerns about bullying, parents’ rights
Conservative organizations have opposed proposals to teach gay and transgender history, saying such requirements take away power from parents and may encourage kids to question their sexuality.
Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, said he opposed the bill because it infringed on parents’ rights. READ MORE