Chicago Tribune

New law requires schools teach contributions of gay, transgender people: 'It is past time children know the names of LGBTQ+ pioneers'

When Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor of Chicago this spring, the city's school district put together a lesson guide with ideas and resources for teaching about her inauguration - without explicitly referencing her sexual orientation.

"Chicago made history by electing our first African-American woman to serve as Mayor," the document began.

Under a new Illinois law taking effect next year, similar guides might mention another way Chicago made history: by electing its first openly gay mayor.

The Inclusive Curriculum Law, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Aug. 9, mandates that by the time students finish eighth grade, public schools must teach them about contributions to state and U.S. history made by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"This law will give more young people the opportunity to see themselves in those who came before us and recognize they are not alone," Lightfoot said in a statement to the Tribune.

That includes students like Michelle Vallet's transgender son, who is now also more likely to learn about the civil rights struggles that led to milestones such as marriage equality and the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

Vallet, of Chicago, and other parents of LGBTQ students have pushed for curricula that show children like theirs the types

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