California set to launch first LGBT Studies class

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts has plans for California’s first LGBT class and is set to launch this Autumn.

Lyndsey Schlax, a government, history and economics teacher at the school since 2008, has developed the curriculum for the class.

She said that it will consist of a semester on LGBT communities’ history and contributions. Schlax said that she will also be keeping an eye on the United States Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, and will be including it in the curriculum.

By mid June, it was reported that she already had 25 students enrolled on the course.

It is the first on-site class within the SFUSD to teach LGBT issues to their students. Schlax said: “We’re moving towards marriage equality, we’re moving toward same-sex couples being able to adopt in all states, we’re moving towards all sorts of workplace protections.”

Brian Kohn, principle at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts said: “For those students who take the course and don’t identify as LGBTQ, this course will build understanding and compassion that in every case serves us all.”

Although this class comes with many benefits, Schlax noted that it may not be as widely accepted elsewhere. She told of an incident this month where a teacher in North Carolina resigned after reading third grade students a story about a gay couple. This caused many complaints from parents.

“We’re lucky, my school is very lucky, we have that privilege of support for the LGBT community and students who clearly feel very safe identifying themselves as part of that community,” She said.

The class is only set to last for a semester but will count towards the San Francisco Unified School District’s rigorous graduation requirements. This makes students eligible for University of California or California State University.