Recently, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a new law that requires public schools to teach LGBTQ history to middle and high school students. According to the law, “A board of education shall include instruction on the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, in an appropriate place in the curriculum…” Said instruction will begin in the 2020-21 school year.

Wow…where to begin with this one? First of all, middle school varies from district to district in New Jersey. In some districts, middle school starts in third grade; in others, it starts in fifth or sixth grade. In order to begin learning LGBTQ history, one must know what L,G,B,T, and Q are. Third- and fourth-grade teachers, try explaining to your students terms such as bisexual and transgender/transsexual. While some children in these grades may be ready for these concepts, many will not have the developmental maturity and/or life experiences to prepare them for these understandings. Furthermore, many parents want to choose how and when they educate their children on matters related to sexuality. Now, they will not have a choice—the school will do it for them.

While LGBTQ curriculum has not been thoroughly thought out or detailed by New Jersey lawmakers, who, in matters of education, tend to act first and think later, one can imagine that it will include an emphasis on all those who have contributed to American history, literature, the arts, politics that were LGBTQ.  That’s wonderful and all, but did their identity as L, G, B, T, or Q have anything to do with their contributions? It is admirable for New Jersey lawmakers to want to broaden the scope of those figures considered important to teach about in school, but to overemphasize any group, whether it is LGBTQ, or any racial/ethnic group, is to continue the separatism and discrimination that they claim to want to work against. The constant labeling and categorizing people by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or ability is to continue to perpetuate identity politics. We will move farther away from looking at people for who they are and what they have contributed to society and will, unfortunately, look only at their labels. By mandating these varied histories such as LGBTQ history, NJ lawmakers are making race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or ability more significant than they should be, which is actually producing the opposite of the desired effect.

How’s this for inclusivity? Teach about the contributions of all who have made America great. Not because of the category they fit into, but because of the importance of their works. Include people who have done and still do great things, not because of a contrived mandate, but because they have contributed to the rich fabric of America.  By looking at people for who they are and what they have done, not at their labels, categories, and groups, we have the best chance at including all those who have truly made their mark on history.

Candy Stallworth, an Empire State News staff writer, whipped her way through a doctoral education at the finest of American higher ed institutions, noting how unoriginal, inept, and annoying many of the schools’ professors were in their robotic attempts to maintain a politically correct narrative. BTW: she hates words like “narrative”, “optics”, and “gaffe.” Other than that, her turn-offs include non-masculine men, women who hate men, men who hate men, phonies, disloyal people, and overflowing garbage cans. She likes New England clam chowder better than Manhattan clam chowder, but prefers Manhattan to New England.