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History lessons

May 13, 2006

I was extremely disappointed to read your May 9 editorial on my Senate Bill 1437, which would extend curricular protections and inclusion to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

You fail to mention that the bill would amend two sections of current law that protect many other categories of students. To this we add gay and lesbian people. The law prohibits the adoption of official teaching materials that reflect adversely on people because of their race, sex, disability, nationality and religion. To this we add sexual orientation and gender.

The invisibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the history curriculum only exacerbates school climates in which homophobic bullying, harassment and violence are rampant. Studies show that a bias-free and inclusive curriculum fosters tolerance, resulting in greater feelings of student safety and less bullying. The idea behind SB 1437 is not a new or a radical one. SB 1437 simply would add our community into existing sections of the law.

STATE SEN. SHEILA KUEHL

(D-Santa Monica)

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I commend The Times for its frank and concise argument against rewriting history to augment the profile of previously overlooked minority groups.

Privileging such minorities only perpetuates divisions, emphasizing the separateness of various groups rather than their commonality.

We should recognize the influence of gay and transgender individuals in the past as we should in the present: on the merits of their contributions to society regardless of color, creed or any other differentiating characteristic.

WILLIAM GOODWIN

Los Angeles

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