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California Proposes Requiring Gay-Friendly Textbooks

In California, State Senator Mark Leno—who is one of the first openly gay men elected to the legislature—introduced the country's first bill to integrate gay people and events into school curriculums, reports the New York Times.

The bill would require all history textbooks to include figures and events in gay history portrayed "in a positive light." Citing recent suicides by gay teenagers, many educators are advocating for a gay-friendly curriculum; but conservative groups have vowed to protest, according to the paper.

"The homosexual activists have repeatedly been pushing for more and more in sexual curriculum when our kids can't read and write," said Karen England, a member of the State Central Committee of the California Republican Party. An evangelical Christian pastor said the bill was just another attempt to "queer" the schools.

Despite such resistance, the discussion of LGBT issues in the classroom has been on the rise. The number of schools buying the film "It's Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School," which "caused an uproar when it was shown on public television in 1999," increased from a handful in the 1990s to more than 4,000 today, reports the Times.

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