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Two school districts recognize LGBT Month
Gay pride is marked by parades, like this one in New York in June. LGBT month is meant to be more educational.
October 8th, 2012
03:52 PM ET

Two school districts recognize LGBT Month

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – American schools recognize African-American History Month and Women's History Month. This year, for the first time, two school districts are celebrating LGBT History Month, which started seven years ago and kicked off this year on October 1.

The Broward County school district in Florida signed a resolution in September in support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender Americans. Last week, the Los Angeles school district, the nation's second-largest, also signed on. The two districts have more than 1 million students.

"I want LGBT students to see their education as the diamond, their joy in their life rather than their trauma,” said Judy Chiasson, diversity coordinator for Los Angeles schools.

“Schools have an obligation to present the diversity of our communities," she said. "There are many different types of families; we want all of our families to be recognized in our schools.”

Last year, California passed the FAIR Education Act, which requires public schools to teach LGBT-inclusive history.

California law already required state public schools to teach about the contributions of Native Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and Asian-Americans, among other groups.

Democratic Sen. Mark Leno, who sponsored the legislation, said at the time that research shows that students who learn about LGBT people are more likely to report that their schools are inclusive and fair.

Preventing bullying and suicides in schools

However, the bill drew ire from religious and conservative groups, like the lobby Traditional Values Coalition.

Equality Forum, which sponsors LGBT month, is featuring a LGBT icon every day in October. Among them are author Truman Capote, designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and CNN anchor Don Lemon.

Watch Lemon talk about his sexuality

The icons whom Equality Forum highlights with online educational resources and videos are, said Executive Director Malcolm Lazin, the Martin Luther King Jr.s of the LGBT world.

"The LGBT community is the only minority community that is not taught in schools," Lazin said. "So no wonder homophobia exists."

He called the recognition in the two school districts a "giant step in public school embracing LGBT inclusion and respect.” LGBT month will help children learn about the the role of gays and lesbians, he said, and help "break the cocoon of invisibility" for Americans who for many years have remained under the mainstream radar.

But 14,000 school districts have yet to adopt LGBT month, which this year kicked off with a road dedication ceremony honoring lesbian activist Barbara Gittings in her hometown of Philadelphia. A red sign heralding Barbara Gittings Way was placed under the name of Locust Street between 12th and 13th in the city's "Gayborhood."

Gittings edited the first lesbian publication in America. She persuaded the Library of Congress to include gay and lesbian books in the nation's card catalogs and libraries. And, with Frank Kameny, she successfully challenged the American Psychiatric Association to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental illness.

Gittings, said Lazin, was a woman who came out in public to fight for gay rights at a time when many gay Americans did not even dare to come out in private.

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Filed under: Education • History • Sexual orientation • Where we live
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Flores

    these are exactly as i had in my head while we were snitoohg.i love the ones on the couch from the side and the top down. such a good balance of color and calmness. this baby was perfect and mom and dad made our job so easy. love how these turned out. we need more of these types of models and sessions. i'm in love. lesli

    November 17, 2012 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Nate

    To those that say that being gay is a choice or simply a lifestyle, your views are mistaken. The LGBT community never chose to be what they are, and it's more than a lifestyle. It's a life with style and a life with love between people who deserve to have the same rights as straight people. I'm an transgendered boy whose an older brother to a gay sister, and I see how much damage the phrases, "being gay is a choice" and "you picked this way simply because it's a lifestyle endorsed by the media", can do to a member of the LGBT community. We're a people a minority who deserve to be able to love and be recognized for who we are, not crushed or belittled simply because we are different.

    PS: Ladies and gentlemen, I ask that if you've got nothing nice to post, don't post it. My request may seem childish, and I know that many of you will ignore it, but still. CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion. When you start crushing or hating on people simply because of who they are or what people have done for them, then you leave that realm. When you do that, then your posts shouldn't be here.

    October 20, 2012 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Can't add or subtract but sensitive..need job

    if you have a kid in the Los Angeles Unified school District...next parent conferance you have..ask the teacher where Did their kids go to school. Funny how it's always private school or home school.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Emily

    Sadly the reputation of America is going that way. This is coming from someone who lives in Toronto and is visiting her Dutch in laws in Holland. I'm more respected as a transgender woman than I am as an American.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. choppertrash

    I wonder if renovations are underway to make these schools LGBT friendly? There will need to be several new categories of rest rooms in addition to the existing straight male and straight female; gay male, gay female, pre-op transgender males, pre-op transgender females... I hope I didn't leave anyone out, I would not like to be accused of damaging anyones self esteem or being insensitive...

    October 15, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jorge

    Once I heard a teenage girl whose parents had recently moved from overseas (very legally) to a city in the Deep South say that she would rather be gay than be with any of the slovenly, odoriferous, disrespectful, immature boys in her high school. She said that she had never seen boys like that in her life. Heads up, guys.

    October 10, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. tyler bernard

    zebula supports pole smokin month

    October 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joeymarine

    sick article

    October 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Twenty four? Lucky guy! :)

    October 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jalisca

    Wow, some people should not be allowed to own a computer or have an internet connection.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    As soon as somebody says let's have a straight month that'll be turned down because it's discriminatory

    October 9, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • ashamed1

      every month is straight month.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. GK

    In the minds of the Liberal Left, if you're white and straight, then you're what's wrong with America.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. PL

    These are times to celebrate! So many young people who have died because they didn't have a shoulder to cry on, they didn't have a word of understanding telling them they were beautiful as they were. As long as there are people who listen to their hearts and respect diversity, they will never be forgotten in each of our efforts to globalize Human Rights in general and diversity in particular.

    October 9, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
    • dan

      I wonder how many have died because they were told from an early age that they were different by their different parents and by the time they were old enough to make their own choice they were so messed up in the head that death seemed to be the better choice.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Zebula

        Um, what?

        October 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • tyler bernard

      what about the people that died from that non cureable virus?

      October 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Zebula

        You mean black history month?

        October 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • tyler bernard

        you got it...black history month, mexican history month, gay history, anything non-white and straight...

        October 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Zebula

    Wow, really? Such a violent reaction is usually symptomatic of a severe personal problem.

    October 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LezLove19

    Idk I think being gay is perfectly fine and is not "wicked" at all. I think me n my life partner are a normal couple who love each other just as much as any functional straight couple does. N we don't disease anyone, we just love. Keep you're wickedness and angry to yourself.

    October 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  16. tyler bernard

    i support your view

    October 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Konner Dent

    Dear Sir or Ma'am,

    I can tell that you must be a Christian such as myself. The current argument is that LGTB are born with genes that predispose them to their lifestyle. Instead of ranting about how awful the LGTB community is, may I suggest arguing your side in a logical fashion. Ranting, although it displays your passion, will not "convert" anyone or solve any problems.

    October 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Mod Ali

    Agreed.

    October 10, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  19. Equality4All

    Can every man and woman make a baby? WOuld straight people stop having babies if gays were allowed to marry or LGBT topics were discussed in school? If you had two brain cells to rub together would you be asking such stupid questions?

    October 10, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  20. Name*

    I agree Konner. This subject should be discussed in a logical fashion. I have nothing against the LGBT community. I also do not think it should be brought up in school. They took away our right to pray in school and this just seems wrong to me. This is my opinion. On the other hand, if a High School offered an elective class to students who feel the need to get educated on the LGBT community and all that they have achieved, then I see nothing wrong with it. I was taught at a very young age to love everyone and I will continue to live this way and teach my children that same love.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  21. heehaw

    Why should you have your own month?

    October 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Shishkanoosh

    You're joking right? You do realize people like you are the reason we can't move forward in this country. But hey, go back about 60 years when people said the same thing about African Americans in schools and note that outcome. History sure does come around full circle.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Emily

    Judgement + hate = abnormal. Where does love come into play? Oh wait, only for those within 'your' comfort zone.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  24. bigmart

    They seem pretty happy to me maybe its you who are miserable

    October 12, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  25. Emily

    I came from a wonderful, well educated, Midwest, middle class, family with good christian values. I worked and paid my taxes for 25 years and was terrified by by 'Christians' such as yourself for fear of being tarred and feathered for being 'born' this way. I lost everything to save myself and become who I really am. You have no idea what courage it takes to face this level of hate. I am a successful business woman and my husband works for one of the largest banks in Canada. How dare you assume we are all misanthropic deviants. Get a clue.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Megan

    "These people..." Nice job of generalizing people. This is the same as saying "All white American's live in mansions." You are ignorant and uneducated and I feel sorry for you. Read a book or talk to humans who are not like you and share different values and opinions. I was raised in a middle-class, white, Christian family. I attended Church every Sunday and was confirmed as a teenager. My parents loved me, my siblings, and each other. I am a lesbian. And a really damn happy lesbian with no abuse as a child, "functional" parenting, zero molestation, and a simple grammar class. Go get educated.

    October 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  27. appapo

    "How dare you assume we are all misanthropic deviants" Haven't you just explained why?

    October 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Get out the dictionary

    Uh...minority means anything that is less that 50% of the total. For example, you have 8 red marbles and 4 purple...purple marbles are the minority. In this case...straight people are about 97% of the population and and LGBT people are 3%, therefore they are the minority.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |