ILLINOIS (WAND) – LGBTQ history will be a requirement for public schools in Illinois to teach after Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill into law.

The governor signed House Bill 246 on Friday, which was sponsored by State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago). A press release from Steans’ office cited a 2015 survey from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which said close to 70 percent of LGBTQ students in Illinois are verbally harassed due to sexual orientation, as a reason to pursue the law.

“It is my hope that teaching students about the valuable contributions LGBTQ individuals have made throughout history will create a safer environment with fewer incidents of harassment,” Steans said. “LGBTQ children and teenagers will also be able to look to new role models who share life experiences with them.”

“Thank you, Gov. Pritzker, for signing the Inclusive Curriculum Bill and ensuring that LGBTQ youth in Illinois will now see themselves in the history they are taught. We are excited this bill is now law in 2019 - the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the birth of the modern LGBTQ equality movement,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “Also, thank you to Rep. Moeller and Sen. Steans, our fierce champions in the General Assembly. Your bold and unrelenting leadership and advocacy will benefit our youth for decades to come. As a former first grade teacher, I know how an inclusive education system can create change within a community. With this law, we will get closer as a state to telling the whole story of our shared history.”

The bill takes effect on July 1, 2020.

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