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Amid book bans, DEI cuts and ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws, 7 states will mandate LGBTQ-inclusive curricula

By 37ci3 Mar26,2024



Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, signed legislation last week that would mandate the state’s public schools to teach LGBTQ history, as red and blue states continue to disagree over whether schools should expose children to gay and transgender identities.

new law Senate Bill 5462, mandates that state school districts adopt curricula that are “as culturally and experientially diverse as possible,” including the histories of LGBTQ people, people of color, and people with disabilities. Schools will be required to implement inclusive curricula by the 2025-26 school year.

“The governor was pleased to sign legislation aimed at ensuring that students of all races and identities feel safe and welcome at school,” Inslee spokesman Mike Faulk said in an email Monday.

Folk also cited NBC News A study published in the journal Sex Education It suggests that LGBTQ-inclusive curricula can reduce bullying rates and make children feel safer at school.

Kristie Bennett is a middle school teacher in Sammamish, Washington who is bisexual and leads her school’s gender-sexuality alliance organization. one interview with Portland, Oregon’s NBC affiliate KGW last weekBennett echoed Faulk’s sentiment.

“I’ve seen firsthand how important an inclusive curriculum can be and how life-changing it can be to help a student see themselves in the curriculum instead of some old white boy from the 1700s,” Bennett said.

Washington is the seventh state to pass legislation requiring public schools to include some degree of LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum. Motion Development Project, an LGBTQ think tank. The other six: California, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada and Illinois, are states where Democrats have won the last four presidential elections.

The law also comes as conservative lawmakers introduced it A record number of anti-LGBTQ eventsincluding legislation regulating how LGBTQ issues are taught in public schools.

Over the past few years, Republican officials have sought to limit how sexual orientation and gender identity are taught in school through what critics call “Don’t Say Gay” laws; bans on books with strange storylines or characters; and the elimination of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at public universities.

All but one Republican-led state has laws restricting the teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity in some public schools. According to MAP.

Gabriele Magni, associate professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and director of the school’s LGBTQ+ Policy Research Initiative, called the adoption of measures to teach LGBTQ history in public schools a “reaction” to anti-LGBTQ measures. introduced in red states.

“It’s like the analogy we saw with abortion. On the one hand, you see states banning abortion or making it even more unfeasible,” Magni said. “And then, on the other hand, you’ve seen states like California or New York strengthen their protections and offer a more welcoming environment for people coming out of state.”

LGBTQ advocates in Washington have similarly argued that their state’s new law is needed to counter the conservative view that queer identities are inappropriate for children.

“Telling kids that Thoreau is gay or Walt Whitman is gay is considered very controversial,” Ken Shulman, executive director of Lambert House, a Seattle-based LGBTQ advocacy group, told KGW. “Alan Turing, who invented the first computer, helped introduce the Enigma code, and won World War II, was gay.”



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