Teaching Tolerance is Good
Requiring K-12 history textbooks to include LGBTQ figures (click here to reach about the Illinois bill) is the right thing to do. This allows our children to see LGBTQ people as part of the community and not as the “other.” This is a meaningful measure that addresses true prevention of discrimination and hate crimes rather than simply addressing it after the fact.
This measure recognizes that we can inoculate against hate by addressing the ignorance that creates the fertile soil for hate to grow. By teaching our kids that LGBTQ people are contributing members of society we make it harder for purveyors of hate to sow their hateful ideas later in life. It is a lot harder to change someone’s mind once they’ve been infected by hateful beliefs (but even then it is well worth the effort to try) so why not take a pro-active step? This is a very good idea.
Those who object to homosexuality on religious grounds can still teach their children whatever they believe their religion preaches. But if their teachings attempt to convey a message that dehumanizes LGBTQ people, then certainly those kids will have to address the different lessons they are receiving in schools and in their private lives.
That too is a good thing. Freedom of religion is sacrosanct, but it is not, however, a license to hate without accountability. So, if one’s religious beliefs promote a hatred of LGBTQ people then be prepared to have that hate challenged.
This approach ought to be applied to all sorts of issues in order to inoculate our children from the various forms of hate and bigotry that infect our society. We ought to be teaching our children about racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and any other bigotry. This is a great start.