Main | Wednesday, September 19, 2012

FLORIDA: Broward County Schools First In Nation To Recognize LGBT History Month

After an "emotional" public hearing, Florida's Broward County School Board today voted unanimously to become the first in the nation to officially recognize LGBT History Month. South Florida Gay News has the story:
Emotions ran high as the vote came on Sept. 19 at 12:51 p.m., and was preceded by a dozen or so speakers from both public office and private civilians, like 18-year-old Leo Washington, a Hollywood Hills High School student, actor, football team captain, and club president. “I’m 18 and African-American,” he said, choking up. “All we want is to recognize them for who they are so we can recognize ourselves for who we are. That’s what I want for every student in every school.” Washington said he knows of at least 30 people in his school who are LGBT but afraid to come out as such, not even in their own homes. “There’s a lot of people out there that come to me and tell me they can’t come out,” he said. “It can be really bad.” One of the influential community leaders who pushed this measure and was recognized by the board as having done so was Michael Rajner, a local LGBT activist. “There’s some amazing staff at the district,” Rajner told SFGN. “We have a school board now, unlike previous years, that has amazing support to protect equal opportunity for all students.”
SFGN reporter Gideon Grudo notes that the board's decision does not set any specific curriculum for teachers but will allow them to craft mentions of LGBT history that "may have been overlooked up until now."

Broward County has 1.7M residents and its school system is the sixth-largest in the nation with over 260,000 students. The system includes Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Wilton Manors, and more than two dozen other municipalities.
RELATED: Last year the California legislature commanded all state public schools to include notable LGBT figures and moments in history lessons. While no school system there has yet to launch such lessons, the legislature's decree does not mention the lesser known LGBT History Month.

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