New Jersey: the birthplace of iconic people such as Whitney Houston, Wendy Williams, Grover Cleveland, and, of course, me. For as long as I've been alive, this state has generally been great for LGBTQ equality and has been reliably liberal. Now, with the passing of a recent bill, New Jersey will continue its progression of LGBTQ rights and recognition by requiring middle school teachers to teach their students about LGBT history, according to NorthJersey.com.
New Jersey is now the second state in the nation after California to require LGBT history be taught in schools. Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill on January 31, as a way to promote LGBT equality. Jaime Bruesehoff, a mother of a transgender child, said, "By learning about LGBTQ people who have made amazing contributions to their country, they are seeing possibilities for themselves and hope for the future.” I agree with her – in schools I was never taught about the contributions and sacrifices that LGBTQ people made and had to seek that information out myself. By requiring LGBT history to be taught in middle schools, American youth can familiarize themselves with important LGBT figures and learn about their accomplishments. Additionally, LGBTQ students will finally have representation which, in turn, can make them feel accepted.
However, not everyone is happy with this bill being signed. Some conservative groups are opposed to students being taught about LGBTQ history as they believe that it could potentially lead to children questioning their sexuality. Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, opposes the bill as he thinks that it "further erodes the right of parents to discuss this sensitive issue with their children." LGBTQ history is only a sensitive issue if someone makes it into one.
I think that teaching LGBT history is something that is long overdue and I'm glad that it is finally getting done. Now I only hope that the other 48 states follow suit.