July 19: History's facts and figures | Re "Textbooks to include gays' achievements," July 15
When you look at the cases of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who killed himself after being outed by fellow students, or Lawrence King, a gay teen from Oxnard who was shot to death in school, any kind of progress furthering the conversation of gays in our society is desperately needed. And the bill that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law that includes gay figures in history curricula is progress.
Today's kids shouldn't look back when they're older and be embarrassed about their rhetoric and shallow criticism of gays the way many adults today look back at their shameful behavior during the civil rights battles in the 1960s. Kids today should be able to look back and be proud that they were the start of progress.
California legislators have given the state the dubious distinction of being the first in the nation to require public schools to include the contributions of gays and lesbians in their social studies curricula.
The matter of the content of textbooks has long been controversial, but until now it had never reached the point at which specific parts of the population were singled out for preferential treatment, especially when that segment is distinguished solely by its sexual preferences. School textbooks should instruct, not propagandize.
With all California's problems, one would think that our Legislature might contemplate things that matter to constituents.
I cannot remember a single history book of mine, my children's or my grandchildren's mentioning whether a person of historical significance was homosexual or transgendered. I've always believed the achievement was what was important.