At recent Iowa City school board meetings, some spoke against an “LGBT curriculum.” To clarify, our district is required to have culturally inclusive curriculum in which LGBTQ+ people are represented. This is not optional.
Speakers say parents should be able to opt their kids out of LGBTQ+-related instruction. A little FYI: LGBTQ+ children are in our district classrooms beginning in preschool. Every class likely includes at least one child with LGBTQ+ parents. Some of our teachers are LGBTQ+. Try as some parents might, it is impossible to isolate a child from exposure to a subgroup that makes up 7 to 10 percent of the population.
Just as LGBTQ+ folks exist throughout our society, they should be represented across all subject areas at every grade level as part of an inclusive curriculum. I want my kids to learn about astronaut Sally Ride in science class; the father of computer science, Alan Turing, in math class; award-winning authors such as James Baldwin and Alice Walker in English class; and the importance of the Stonewall Riots in history class. Ignoring the influence of LGBTQ+ identity on these lives and events is to not tell the whole story.
A complete education represents the diversity of the world, including LGBTQ+ people. An education that marginalizes any cultural group is inherently substandard and does not prepare our children for the 21st century. Moreover, it’s the height of privilege to ask that one cultural group be invisible because they make another group feel uncomfortable.