A Republican member of the Wisconsin State Assembly showcased her ignorance of American politics recently when she admitted she didn’t know if Harvey Milk was a real person.

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Wisconsin lawmakers are currently discussing a Republican-backed bill that would require parents to be notified about any planned teachings relating to gender identity or sexual orientation, and allow parents to have their child removed from the classroom if they don’t approve.

It’s a controversial bill, as it could prevent students from learning about LGBTQ figures in history, and treats the mere existence of LGBTQ people as taboo and something one can simply opt-out of — which isn’t true in the real world no matter how much homophobes continue to try to make that be the case.

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As one of the bill’s authors, Donna Rozar, fielded questions during a hearing related to the bill, it became clear that she might be a little too ignorant to be passing rules on what children should or should not learn in school.

Democratic representative Sondy Pope asked Rozar whether parents would need to be notified if, for instance, Harvey Milk was mentioned in a history book in the library that might be used by students.

“I’m not familiar with…is that a real person?” Rozar asked, almost laughing. “Are you just throwing that out?”

Pope stayed on topic, telling her that yes, in fact, Milk is a completely real person, and continuing to push her original question, but half the room erupted into surprise and dismay upon Rozar’s response.

Rozar also made her belief that teachers shouldn’t “normalize” the existence of LGBTQ people clear during the hearing.

“I believe that there are very subtle things that occur in public and charter schools that tend to normalize behaviors that are in conflict with some students’ families’ belief systems,” she said. “Students are exposed to things maybe at a very young age in an attempt to undermine a family value belief system that is detrimental to what parents and guardians are trying to teach their children.”

It’s bizarre that it’s 2021 and people are still trying to argue that public government-funded schools should be required to indulge harmful belief systems at the expense of LGBTQ students, but here we are. 

And that’s how we end up with uneducated people who become uneducated politicians who haven’t even heard of Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official who, as Pope pointed out, is famous enough that the White House actually dedicated a stamp to him.

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*First Published: September 21, 2021, 7:04 am