On January 21st, 2019 Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law that will require New Jersey public middle and high schools to include LGBTQ History into their social studies curriculums. By the 2020-'21 school year, all schools affected will have added this into their curriculums.
Ever since the word got out, I've seen a huge amount of backlash about this on social media. To be completely honest, I am absolutely sickened by the fact that people are so against this new law.
Most of the opposition I've seen comes from people who I used to attend church with as well as former classmates. I've heard people say that "they'd rather talk to their kids about it. "I've even seen posts that refer to the subject as "garbage" and the sharing of an article about the law with the caption: "what history?"
What do you mean, "what history?" Members of the LGBTQ+ community have made countless contributions to our society. And guess what! You probably already had learned about some of them in school.
Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, Harvey Milk and Sally Ride are just a handful of individuals from our rich history that would have identified as members of today's LGBTQ+ community. Without them leaving their marks on this world, we'd be living in a very different place.
There's also a vast amount of history behind the community as a whole. The Stonewall Riots, the end of "Don't ask, don't tell" and the legalization of gay marriage are just three of many historic moments that demonstrate the great strides being made toward equality. To overlook them, would be a disservice to our youth.
While I understand this may not seem relevant to some students, I also understand how important it is for a huge chunk of today's youth to be able to look upon the past and see someone they can truly identify with.
In school, I learned about world religions, including ones I didn't align with. This wasn't to convert me or to spark controversy but instead to promote a better understanding of the world in which we live.
No matter what your orientation is and whether you agree with it or not, the LGBTQ+ community exists. Now, the same idea that applied to world religion applies here as well- and it will help New Jersey's youth to better understand each other in yet another and equally as important way.
I know we're a long way from world peace, but I hope that somewhere in the not so distant future we can all come to an agreement on one thing. No matter one's race, orientation, gender or background; we all have one thing in common we are all human. We are all valid. We are all a small piece of immense history.
May our history someday defy labels and depict a narrative of equality and inclusion for all.