Illustration by Louise Leong.

Although it was designed to foster intellect and produce educated, progressive citizens, the heteronormative American public education system has been most successful in matriculating heterocentrically-minded youth who lack an accurate perception of social relations and civil rights.

A gross affront has been committed against the U.S. public education system, but San Francisco School District officials are attempting to rectify some of this injustice.

In 2008, Bay Area schools approved the inclusion of same-sex representation in sex ed and social studies classes. But in November, this advance was met with opposition from parents and conservative religious leaders who claim that they have lost their right to decide what their children are taught.

Incidents of censorship and historical misrepresentation are rampant in public schools. Last May, the Texas Board of Education ruled in favor of new curricula. The curricula impresses upon students the idea that American capitalism is superior to other models and presents Republican political philosophies in a strictly positive light in addition to revising lessons about the civil rights to emphasize violent incidents.

Because of its size, Texas has a significant influence on the content included in textbooks nationwide.

Diluting history and adulterating reality in an attempt to maintain the status quo is an act that calls into question whose interests policy makers are really trying to serve. It is in the best interests of students to present and complete inclusive education.

Rates of suicide and depression are high among queer youth, who experience a higher than average incidence of bullying and ostracism. Educating youth about queer issues could literally save lives.

It shows great disdain and disregard to discount the participation of gay civil rights activists during the civil rights movement and in our society.

It is not only the privilege but the right of every student to be recognized and represented in national historical accounts. The efforts made and the progress yet to be made should not be canceled out by ignorance.

Schools must champion queer-inclusive curricula. California public schools are asking queer students and the children of queer parents to discount the validity of their lifestyles by omitting any mention of same-sex relationships or gay rights movements from classroom discussion.

It shows even greater disrespect for American students whose personal health and social skills depend on the accessibility of accurate, inclusive information.

Making information available about all of the intricacies of the civil rights movement and of American social relations does not mean sexualizing the kindergarten curriculum.

It means recognizing and normalizing non-heterosexual, non-nuclear families. The way conservatives often characterize gay people by sex acts is an act of desperation to otherize a group they cannot in any other way tangibly differentiate from themselves. No other demographic is identified by sex acts, because it’s just not relevant.

It is not the case that advocates for an inclusive curriculum are calling for funding be reallocated from traditional academics.

Words are free. Instead of spending time and energy rewriting history, educators should focus on inclusion and accuracy.

Little girls grow up taught to behave like princesses, expecting the prince and the princess to live happily ever after. Boys are taught to love football and hamburgers and butts and boobs. And not to love these things means, according to this message, to be less of a man.

But hundreds of thousands of little boys and girls grow up learning that there’s no place for them in the story books.

For every 10 stick-figure family portraits of nuclear families, there is one drawn that depicts instead of one mom and one dad, two mommies or two daddies.

Fear of explaining these stick figure images is what drives this debate.

Homosexuality will not disappear because of denial. Do not elect for bigotry. Do not support hate. And please do not propagate intolerance.