California has become the first state in the US to adopt textbooks that highlight the contributions of people who contributed to the development of California and the US as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. State education officials and publishers struggled with how to describe the sexual orientation of people who in the past had hidden their orientation. With the adoption of the books, California has set a precedent, or at the least, provided a model for others. Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN, a national educational organization based in New York, says educators throughout the country are already incorporating LGBT lessons into their classrooms, helping to make schools 'safe and affirming' for LGBT students.
California's Social Studies Curricular framework requires publishers to "include the roles and contributions of people from different demographic groups, including LGBT Americans". In addition, the state's Social Content Standards, adopted by the state board in 2013, ensure that instructional materials reflect a pluralistic, multicultural society composed of unique individuals, and require LGBT contributions to be discussed when it is historically accurate to do so.
One ethics issue at large is one of privacy; is it right to publish one's orientation, if they do not want it public?
By: Larry Johnson