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LGBTQ history lesson plans will be used at PPS this fall

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- The people behind new PPS lesson plans that focus on accomplishments and contributions of people who are LGBTQ say their goal is to show that people of different sexual orientations have done great things.

"We're normalizing the fact that it's okay, I Deric Kimler, am a gay man, and I exist, more than normalizing it, understanding that it's real," said Deric Kimler, executive director of Central Illinois Friends.

Kimler is part of the committee that helped Peoria Public Schools find a way to implement LGBTQ history into lesson plans at every grade level.

"When we talk about LGBTQ history, we're not talking about people's body parts and how they use them, what we're talking about is the contributions they made that we benefit from today," he added.

Kimler says identifying people, like Friedrich Wilhelm Von Steuben, a founder of America's first army, as gay, is important for LGBTQ kids to understand their not alone.

"You are who you are, you exist, and you can make a big difference in our society," said Kimler.

Peoria Regional Superintendent Beth Crider says these lesson plans came after a bill was passed by the state legislature in 2019. That bill requires the teaching of LGBTQ contributions.

"History is not just the way we were taught, there are so many different groups that have had stories to tell that have been ignored or not shared in a public setting and everyone needs to see themselves represented or their family represented," said Crider.

The lesson plans were created by the Legacy Project in Chicago. Their plans can fit with any subject and be taught to students of all ages, from kindergarten to high school seniors.

Andy Weber

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