Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act, also known as the FAIR Education Act (Senate Bill 48) and informally described by media outlets as the LGBT History Bill, is a California law which compels the inclusion of the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into educational textbooks and the social studies curricula in California public schools by amending the California Education Code. It also revises the previous designation of “black Americans, American Indians, Mexicans, Asians, [and] Pacific Island people” in that list into “Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and European Americans“. It would also amend an existing law by adding sexual orientation and religion into a list of characteristics (which already includes race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, and disability) that schools are prohibited from sponsoring negative activities about or teaching students about in an adverse way.
In particular, according to chief author Sen. Mark Leno, it “ensures that the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are accurately and fairly portrayed in instructional materials by adding LGBT people to the existing list of under-represented cultural and ethnic groups already included in the state’s inclusionary education requirements.”
The bill was introduced into the Senate on December 13, 2010, and was finally passed 23-14 on April 14, 2011. The bill was then passed by the Assembly on July 5 by a vote of 49-25. Governor Jerry Brown (D), who has historically opposed Proposition 8 and has generally supported LGBT rights in the state, signed the bill into law on July 14. Governor Brown said however that state textbooks probably would not be updated to reflect the requirements of the law until 2015.
It is supported by the GSA Network and Equality California, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights welcomed its ratification into law. The California Teachers Association’s President Dean Vogel stated, “We believe that curricula should address the common values of the society, promote respect for diversity and cooperation, and prepare students to compete in, and cope with a complex and rapidly evolving society. SB 48 does that by helping to ensure that curricular materials include the contributions of persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans to the development of California and United States.”
It is opposed by the state Republican Party and socially conservative organizations. A conservative group called Stop SB 48 is collecting signatures to place a referendum on the June 2012 statewide ballot. If successful, SB 48 would be repealed. LGBT rights groups fear that it will be difficult to defend the law if it were to go to a popular vote. It is notable that the law does not include an opt-out option for parents who do not wish to have their children learn about LGBT topics in school.
In October, 2011, the group failed to collect enough signatures for the issue to be placed on a referendum in June 2012.
LGBT law: Educators work to make history more inclusive
But progress in implementing the law has been uneven since it took effect nearly four years ago. While some districts started incorporating Senate Bill 48 shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law, many educators are still trying to develop suitable lesson plans after the state left implementation up to local schools — with little guidance and no funding.
In the South Bay, the San Jose Unified School District added LGBT issues to world history and U.S. history courses, which students generally take in the 10th and 11th grades. A districtwide team of social studies teachers there spent several days creating topics to embed in the courses, said Assistant Superintendent Jason Willis.
Educators in the Acalanes Union High School District — which oversees some schools in central Contra Costa County — created an online resource for instructional materials, such as speeches and newspaper articles within months of the law’s passage.
While proactive teachers are moving forward with creative ways to comply with the law, others are waiting for new state educational guidelines next year before diving in.
At the Oakland Unified School District, compliance is a work in progress, said spokesman Troy Flint.
“We’re working from an older curriculum that predates the passage of the FAIR Act,” Flynt said. “We’re not where we’d like to be.”
Famous Firsts by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Americans
The first transgendered mayor, gay judge, and lesbian Olympic gold medalist
LGBT Firsts: Government
- Local elected lesbian official: Kathy Kozachenko, 1974, Ann Arbor City Council, Mich.
- Local elected gay official: Harvey Milk, 1977, San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
- Lesbian state elected official: Elaine Noble, 1974, Massachusetts legislature.
- Gay state elected official: Allan Spear, 1976, Minnesota Senate.
- Gay mayor of state capital: David Cicilline, Providence, R.I., 2002–2010.
- Gay mayor of large (population over 500,000) city: Sam Adams, 2008, Portland, Ore.
- Lesbian mayor of major (population over 1 million) city: Annise Parker, 2009, Houston, Tex.
- Transgender elected mayor: Stu Rasmussen, 2008, Silverton Ore.
- Gay U.S. Representative: Gerry Studds became a Congressman from Massachusetts in 1973 and was reelected eleven more times. His 1984 reelection made him the first openly gay U.S. Representative elected to office.
- Lesbian U.S. Representative: Tammy Baldwin became both the first female member of the House and the first gay non-incumbent elected to Congress in 1998.
LGBT Firsts: Law
- Lesbian federal judge: Deborah A. Batts, 1994.
- Gay federal judge: J. Paul Oetken, 2011.
- Gay state supreme court judge: Rives Kistler, 2003, Oregon Supreme Court.
- Lesbian state supreme court judge: Virginia Linder, 2007, Oregon Supreme Court.
- Gay judge: Stephen Lachs, 1979, Los Angeles superior court.
- Lesbian judge: Mary Morgan, 1981, San Francisco municipal court.
- Transgender judge: Victoria Kolakowski, 2010, Alameda County (Calif.) superior court.
LGBT Firsts: Diplomacy
- Gay U.S. Ambassador: James C. Hormel, 1999, to Luxembourg.
LGBT Firsts: Scholarship
- Lesbian Rhodes Scholar: Rachel Maddow, 2001.
For the entire list: http://www.infoplease.com/gay-pride-month/famous-firsts.html
US LGBT Rights Timeline 1903-2016 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)